A Kase of…. what should I blog about?

29 10 2010

Hey friends and readers… I need your help – I want to put a greater focus to my blog and I need your feedback.  What do YOU want to read?

I started this blog almost a year ago, and I’ve been admittedly inconsistent with my posts.  I wrote as the spirit moved me, and as I could discipline myself to sit down and just do it!  I’d like to have 3 blog posts a week, and I have a couple of ideas for areas of focus:

The Social Network meets Blair Witch?

Social Media –  It is certainly my passion of the past year and has affected my life in sooo many ways.  My entire scope of friends and contacts has changed, expanded, and grown exponentially.  There’s no question I am a twitter addict – “I am powerless over twitter and my hashtags have become unmanageable.”  Yes, I DO want to put that on a T-shirt (as a run-on hashtag, btw).

I’m not a fan of people calling themselves social media “gurus” as the medium is still so new and evolving.   If we are participating on a regular basis, we all have our experiences and opinions on elements we like or dislike.

Music – I have been a music fan since I was a a pre-teen.  I think I’ve wanted to marry a rock star since I was 16 (still waiting on that one, btw).

"Rock" Music, get it?

As some of you know, I was a radio DJ for years… I did college radio in Chicago at Northwestern’s WNUR (which lead to many a club DJ gig), then I had my first “professional” on-air position when I lived in Key West, and then finally for over 10 years I was in Cleveland at Classic Rock 98.5 WNCX.  At all of these gigs I have had some wild adventures, been to some amazing concerts and had some fun pix taken.  I have a wealth of stories to draw from, as well as passion to move forward with music programming and DJ-ing in new media – I think there will be many options to provide quality music programming via the web, especially as wi-fi comes to cars.

I also want to keep up on new releases, but I need to learn more about many of the new artists.  This would afford me the opportunity to have guest bloggers for concert and new releases reviews, and possible interviews as they become available.

So what do you think?  What should I cover in my blog?  Are there things you don’t want to read?  Would you be interested in being a guest blogger?

And a final note – these pictures were taken during one of my recent walks.  I used found objects for all of them; I can’t help but think that the “Social Media” pic is a little like The Social Network meets Blair Witch…  What would you have thought when you found that left on a sidewalk around Halloween??  A message written in acorns and twigs ?  hmmm….

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A Kase of… Biking in Key West. At night!

16 08 2010

I lived in Key West, Florida for almost three years.  I don’t tell people that as much as I used to because the response to that statement is almost always “Why did you leave??” thrown at me in disbelief.  Believe me, my Key West adventures could fill enough blogs for a year; in fact my blogging buddy Adam Gercak of Throwing Quarters thinks there’s a book in some of my adventure stories… we’ll see…

One of the best and worst things about Key West is the weather.  I can picture the shaking heads of my fellow current residents in the Cleveland, Ohio area as they think of the 5+ months we have of cold, gray weather on the “North Coast”.  However, this past week Cleveland (like many parts of the US) was sweltering under very Key West-like weather with temps in the 90s and very high humidity.  In Key West, we had five months of that weather. every. single. day.

Now before you think that’s a dream come true, I ask you to think about what the hot weather has been like over the past few days – meteorologists have used words like ‘oppressive’, ‘harsh’ or ‘brutal’ to describe the heat.  And that would be accurate.  In Key West, the sun would beat down on you all day, and many jobs were outside in the heat.  But, in the evening, as dusk approached and the tourists all gathered at Mallory Square to watch the sun set, I would hop on my bike and ride around the island.

This was one of my favorite things to do in Key West for many reasons.  The first was that for as harsh and brutal the daytime heat was, the night air had a gentle softness to it; a light breeze that brushed across your skin like silk.  You could smell the sweetness of the various tropical plants – the Bougainvillea, Hibiscus and Oleander, plus the flowers on the Royal Poinciana trees.  The scents would hang in the humid air and mingle with a freshness that can never be captured by any candle.

As I peddled down the narrow streets I often found I was not the only one enjoying the night air: many of the cats from the island would sit on stairways and fence posts and watch in silence as I rode past.  Some of these cats had found people to live with, others  just lived from the good will of people.  Yes, many of the cats were polydactyl cats and I would meow at them (I speak cat quite well), but most were just as happy as I was to be taking in the soothing night air.

The other fun part of biking through Key West at night was the rather voyeuristic opportunity to see  inside the lighted rooms of many of the old homes that had been built in the 1800s.  I didn’t want to see the people; I enjoyed seeing the homes!  I am fascinated by architecture and the  romantic nature of these beautiful old homes:  The Gingerbread houses, the Eyebrow houses and the beautiful Victorian mansions made of plank after plank of southern yellow pine, which held up through years of extreme temperatures and more than a few hurricanes.

The whole experience was very soothing and relaxing, and I found myself embracing the wonder in the small, simple treasures of the island.  That was part of why I had moved to Key West from Chicago – to ‘decompress’ from my city life.   The other thing to remember is that this was the early-to-mid 1990s, before we were tethered to a smart phone or a lap top.  Forget Twitter or Facebook- the internet hadn’t happened yet.  Most of us didn’t have cell phones.  Long distance calls went out over your landline and cost money.

Last week I went biking around my suburban neighborhood of Westlake, OH.  I needed to get away from my laptop, and the the modern technology I embrace  so heartily.   I went biking at night, in the dark, and the air was once again so gentle after the harshness of the day’s heat.   I was flooded with my Key West memories and I found myself longing for the serenity I used to feel on those nocturnal rides through the Southernmost Point in the United States.  In my opinion, the McMansions of the nearby development do not hold a candle to the beautiful homes in Key West, but I was still very relaxed from the experience.  I started to notice details of the neighborhood which evaded me when I drove through in a car.  I began to appreciate the little things I had been rushing past for months.

This time of year is always hard for me – I feel like so many people have already shifted in to Back-to-School mode, or are thinking about their fantasy football team when I want to continue to embrace every moment of summer, no matter how hot.  So please take a moment to feel the air before the summer leaves us all too quickly.  Take a night to turn off your A/C and open the windows.  Hear the cicadas in the trees, the smell of the hydrangeas, and maybe the meow of the occasional stray cat.

Summer comes and goes so quickly, and soon enough it will be cold, rainy and blustery; just a precursor to months of snow, boots and thick coats.  If you have a bike, get on it – go for a ride at night (yes, have lights on your bike and be smart about it, ok?) or for an adventure in your neighborhood during the day.

Coming up on Wednesday, I’ll fill you in on the details of my 10 mile Sunday bike ride which included unexpected stops at cemetery and a public baptism in Lake Erie.  If I had been driving in my car, I would have missed it all!  Slow down, explore and enjoy!





A Kase of Spring New Beginnings AND Perks!

4 04 2010

What a difference a year makes…. it was year ago on April 3, 2009 that I was let go from my old sales job with Arhaus Furniture.  I was yet another causality of the recession.  A year ago I was crushed; I think I was still in the under-the-covers-hiding-from-the-world state.  As I recall I crawled into bed for about three days to cry it out and lick my wounds.  Then I emerged, looked around and began to get my bearings.

It has been an adventure of a year, and there have been sooo many things which have happened, both good and bad, but today I am feeling the gratitude of the experience.  As I have blogged about before,  it was because of this time off that I was able to discover and fall in love with social media.  I simply cannot imagine my life now without twitter, and with my new WORK BlackBerry, I guess I am falling into that ‘crackberry’ category!  Plus I am so grateful for my NEW  job with MedCity News as Senior Sales Executive – I am using many of the social media skills I have gained over the past year!

Probably the most amazing thing about social media is the real people I have met through it.  I feel like there was an ENTIRE world going on around me in Cleveland that I never even saw or was plugged into until I started doing social media – and I was looking for these peeps!  I had spent years in Chicago and was very used to an urban environment with buzz and energy and I finally found like-minded people in Cleveland thanks to social media.  Now my weeks are not only full with the new job, but also networking and other fun after-work activities , plus, the occasional perk!

My most recent perk came in the form of a free massage courtesy of Savvy Avenue and Spa Bellamara in Beachwood.  Stacy from Savvy Avenue (@SavAveCleveland ) asked if I would check out the full body massage and review it in advance of one of their next offers.  Savvy Avenue provides discounted offers to local businesses (consumer bonus) while also providing charity donations to local organizations (good karma bonus) all while promoting local businesses!  (BTW,  Savvy Avenue has their HQ in Chicago, so once again, it’s the Cleveland- Chicago -Kasey connection….) So anyway, heck yeah, I’d love to review a spa massage!

Spa Bellamara is located in the Hamptons Apartments right across from Beachwood Place.  It’s in the retail center there (kind of a round building with a restaurant, the pool and member workout facilities).  The staff at Spa Bellamara have taken a lot of time and energy to transform the space to look a lot like a European hotel, from the “tin ceiling” look to the trompe l’oeil on the wall – quite the surprise – not what I expected to find in that space!

After filling out the state-required health questionnaire, I was taken back into the dimmed massage room by Lana, my masseuse.  There was relaxation music going complete with nature sounds and soft instrumentation.  After I disrobed and got under the sheet (I kept my panties on, my choice) Lana came back into the room and began the hour-long massage.  I got the Deluxe Therapeutic Massage, which was a more intense version of a traditional European or Swedish massage. It was an all-over body massage which started with me laying on my stomach so she could focus a lot of time on my back.  Lana was amazingly strong as she worked hard on getting out some of the knots in my back, neck and shoulders.

I know as I relaxed, I entered into a semi-dreamlike state; I’m sure I’m not the first person to have dozed off during a massage!  I was surprised how quickly the hour flew by – I could have lingered longer.  After I dressed, the staff offered me bottled water, saying I should re-hydrate and cookies, because, hey, who doesn’t want cookies?

If you want a firm, traditional Swedish massage in classic European setting, Spa Bellamara is your place!  A couple of tips:  They have limited scheduled regular hours they are open, but are VERY accommodating to off-hour services; just be sure to schedule in advance.  They also provide facials and other skin care services.  If going for a massage, if you can come in casual loose-fitting clothes, you will be more comfortable afterwards; also, take your makeup off before the massage as there is sometime spent on your face.

As for what happened after I was all relaxed post-massage, see my blog post from 4-1-2010…. it’s a laugh!





Why Hire Kasey for your PR Job….

19 02 2010

So one of my new great friends/contacts I’ve made though twitter, Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich), is involved with an innovative social media promotion TODAY for HAPPO (Help A PR Pro Out) Day!  In order to be considered for any of these open positions, they want to know on our blogs why they should hire us.  Not from our resume, not from our LinkedIn page, but from our blog.  Cool!  Here it goes….

Here is what I bring to the table:  I believe I can offer the best of both worlds:  an understanding and working knowledge of current social media, balanced with the work experience that can only come with time.  What does that mean?  I’m not a 20-something, but I can speak their language and then some.  Most importantly, I can be an interpreter of social media to ALL persons, from the newbie to the “expert”.  And I never want to stop learning.

My background is varied – years as a talent in radio doing tons of promotions, to years in sales, from the technical (biochemicals) to the whimsical and fun (I was a tour guide on the Conch Train & Trolley in Key West).  In ALL areas, at all times, it has always been about marketing and selling at one level or another…

For me, it’s always been about grabbing peoples’ attention, finding out what they want and need, and then delivering them a product or experience that meets or exceeds their expectations.  I love making people happy; I thrive on relating to people.

In radio, it was about selling the music, the station and me; developing brand loyalty and engaging the listeners and letting them know they matter.  If the audience is there, then putting the right products together for the audience isn’t about selling, it’s a service to listener & advertiser alike.

In B2B sales it wasn’t just about offering the lowest price, it was about setting up relationships of trust.  Really understanding the clients’ needs and very specific requirements.  Watching the details.  Following through.  Being available.  There is no price which can be put on peace of mind.  I like to provide peace of mind; then I (and my company) become invaluable.

And even in what might seem to be strictly entertainment (being a tour guide), there were lots of areas of sales and PR.  Not only did you want to have people take the tour (the obvious sale) but then if you did an exceptional job of engaging them, there was often a nice tip at the end!  More than that, you were the ambassador for a small but thriving community which relies almost entirely on tourism.   It’s to everyone’s benefit for people to be  happy they chose to spend their money in Key West; to make the most of their time there so that not only will they want to come back, they’ll encourage their friends as well.

All of these varied jobs I was able to do without the benefit of social media.  When I think of how much more I could have done if social media was around then; I would have rocked it!

I have embraced social media wholeheartedly.  I went from a place of thinking it was silly and stupid, to where I am now – I can’t imagine my life without it.  What better person to communicate the value of a product to your client than someone who is a “converted sale”.  And social media wasn’t sold to me… it was introduced to me, and I played with it.  It engaged me; I engaged it.  It began working for me, now I’d like to work on its behalf.

If you’d like a fun, energetic, enthusiastic social media PR pro, I’m your gal.  I’m natural networker, and I hope this is just the beginning of our conversation.  @KaseyCrabtree





Three great women moving forward in 2010

14 01 2010

As I mentioned in my last blog, I was inspired by three woman who recently made decisions to follow their true selves and walk through fear as they do it.  Now I have the opportunity to thank them and give them the credit they are due:

Jennifer Ferber – Jenn is someone I have really come to know by taking her Spin classes at Ride+Workout in Lakewood, OH.  www.RideandWorkout.com For those of you who follow me on twitter and Facebook, I will often mention I take her Sunday 4pm class.  Not only does she play a great mix of music (all played LOUD, with the lights dimmed), she talks about the class being an active meditation:  You’ve taken the time to get there, now focus on your intent.  You need to get beautiful from the inside out… if the ‘outsides’ are pretty but the ‘insides’ are nasty, no one’s going to want to be around you anyway!

The other great thing about Jenn is that she started spinning only a little over 2 years ago, as she was going through a very nasty divorce.  She said that the support of the spin class and the process of taking that time for herself got her through some really bad times.  It was a natural progression for her then to start teaching classes and I have seen her grow as an instructor.  She also met her now-fiancé, Scott (a GOOD guy) in spin class and they are going to start teaching a tandem spin class Fridays at 6pm to demonstrate how the energy you get from a good spin partner can really help propel you to keep going, and how the energy can just flow between the two of you.

Not only is Jenn taking on this new class in 2010, but she has made a big decision for change in her fulltime job.  She recently decided to leave a “safe” position with a company where she had worked for quite a while to take the risk with a new company in Business Development.  She stands to earn more in the long run, but more importantly, she realized it was time for her to challenge herself, and she believes in her ability to accomplish her goals.  If you’d like to reach Jenn (she’s not on twitter – bummer) but you can email her at  SpinGirl1968@yahoo.com.

Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich on twitter) Gini is a truly driven business person. I came to know Gini strictly through twitter (we have since connected twice in person).  I had put out a general question on twitter about Vistage, (the company for which my father has been a Chair of groups of CEOs to improve their business and personal lives), my old college roomie Diane (@ChicagoDiane) said that I had to speak with Gini; that Gini was a Vistage member (and CEO of Arment Dietrich PR).  I inquired with Gini (who is in Chicago) if she might know of anyone possible members for a Cleveland group where my dad was based.  She didn’t, but we began following each other on twitter.

I think our relationship is a healthy example of how to connect on twitter – I don’t really remember how it all evolved, but it seemed to grow very naturally.  That, and Gini would often tweet things that would make me laugh!  But then she did something really brave, she posted a blog about mistakes she had made; it was brutally honest and open.  She was honest about the things she didn’t know, she admitted to crying, she discussed her self-doubt, until she began to see it was ok to fail http://www.spinsucks.com/leadership/mistakes-made-in-growing-a-business .  I was amazed at her candor.  More importantly, I was amazed at how she addressed the failure and turned it around.  The quote that inspired her blog post was from Confucius: “It’s not in that we fail, but in how we pick ourselves up when we do.”  Wow.  That’s one worth posting over my desk.

More recently, Gini has made the decision in going into 2010, that her “PR” firm is no longer going to be a PR firm – it is going to focus strictly on social media and communication.  Gini explains it better here:  http://www.spinsucks.com/spin/arment-dietrich-is-no-longer-a-pr-firm .  Bottom line, Gini is doing what she feels is right to build her business AND for her to be satisfied in her roll as well.  You should follow Gini on twitter @ginidietrich- she recently reached her goal of over 10,000 followers!  Oh yeah, and she spins (the exercise) too!

Heather Acton (@HeatherActon78)  – Heather is a new twitter friend.  I’m not even sure why I had started following her –  she may have been suggested by one of my Chicago connections (Heather is also a Chicago gal), or maybe someone had retweeted something from her I had liked.  We had not connected much on twitter, then late one night just a couple of weeks ago I was scanning my Tweetdeck, contemplating many of the great questions of life (something like ‘what do I do next?’ ‘why me?’,  or ‘I feel lost…’) and though I did not tweet any of those questions, I came across this tweet: VIDEO: Heather Jumps Ship! http://tmogul.com/tweet/bYPjL 12:44 AM Jan 5th.  So I watched this video Heather had just posted.  She discussed her decision to leave her engineering job at Proctor & Gamble so that she could focus on her kids and grow her own home business.

I immediately tweeted back to Heather, giving her my support and telling her of how I had just read Gini’s blog only hours before about her decision to change direction and how I had also just made a big decision to leave WNCX (albeit only part time) to be truer to my ‘personal brand’.  We began frantically DM-ing each other back & forth about how it can be scary but also so invigorating to make big changes and take a risk.

Heather has had her last day at P & G, and is now building her home business of web site development, marketing, and online business development  for individuals, organizations, and businesses.  Check out her website and blog at www.HeatherActon.com.  I definitely plan on connecting with Heather in person on my next trip to Chicago.

So who do you know who is facing fear and taking on new challenges this year?  Are you supporting them? You should!  This is the new economy and how we can grow both personally and professionally.  Let me know of an outstanding individual in your life an I’ll try to feature them in an upcoming blog post.   Remember to keep moving… crawl, walk.. run!





the number “3”. And why I left WNCX!

8 01 2010

Yep!  you read that correctly.  Big changes for me as we head into 2010.  I’ve felt them brewing, I felt the right time was coming, and the energy feels good… right here, right now… and some of it has to do with the number “3“…

I’m not a big “numerology” person, but I have often been drawn to certain numbers more than others, the same way someone might be with colors.  Some people like green, others prefer blue… most people are drawn to the colors that complement them the best.  My favorite color is purple; and it was long before I attended Northwestern University.  The fact that I get to wear purple with all things NU is a bonus – the color looks really good on me!

Similarly, I have always been drawn to the number “3“.  I consider my lucky number to be 39, with is 3 and 3x3.  Or in the numerology world, you would take 39 as 3+9= 12; then take 1+2=3 and I’m back to 3 again.  I first learned about numerology when I was about 11 or 12 on summer vacation, reading about it from a book (remember those – that’s a whole OTHER blog post).  Just thought it was cool.  So for the year 2010, that year becomes a “3” as well 2+0+1+0=3.

I got this from the web:  “The number 3 suggests that the direction of growth in your lifetime will be toward a more creative and inspirational nature. This path also leads to establishing yourself as an inspiration person spreading optimism and cheerfulness wherever you reside or travel.”  Ok, COOL!

Therefore… NOW was the time for me to make some big changes and growth.  My website (where you are reading this) is going to evolve into a 3 point platform:  an on-line portfolio of the work I can do for companies using social media; Voiceover demo/info and, lastly, my “content”.  For now, my content is going to be my blog.  In ALL of these 3 platforms I want to take the 3 step approach of crawl, walk, run.  These are self-propelled elements, so I have to be realistic with abilities and what is in my control.  It is all about building momentum, therefore the I need to be patient and trust the process of crawl, walk, run.

I plan to also have my blog progress in steps as well (hmm… 3 steps, kinda) printed word, then add in podcasts (both audio & video) and then eventually, I would love to create an on-line radio station.  With the recent announcements of wi-fi to be standard in new cars within 2 to 3 years, I truly believe it is the future of  radio (we may not call it radio then, but for now… you understand).

And…. that brings me to the recent decision I made to resign from WNCX.  It had been a good, long run.  14 years.  That is a LONG time in the radio world.  But my heart wasn’t in it anymore.  I first fell in love with radio because the DJs were my musical mentors – they turned me on to new artists, new genres of music and were also the friendly and familiar voice in the dark.  Sadly, this has changed over the years, and terrestrial radio is now heading into its greatest challenge to stay profitable and relevant.  The nature of a “Classic Rock” station dictates that there are not new artists going to be played, so I realized that would not be the platform to allow me to be a musical mentor to others.

So I’ve taken the risk and stepped off into the unknown with the belief and faith that I can help create or be a part of something that is truer to my personal vision of “radio”, and truer to my personal “brand”.  Yes, it’s scary, but if I don’t make the change, change isn’t going to happen on its own.

I’ve been sitting on this news for almost 2 weeks now, and I wasn’t sure how and when I was going to present it.  But then I come across 3 women in the past week who also have also chosen to make big changes in their lives this year: Jennifer, Gini and Heather.  Their stories are all very inspirational, and I will give them proper attention in my next blog!  Their willingness to take the plunge and be open about it inspired me to do the same, and share it with you.

Ok, that was a lot.  Hope you understood the number “3” thing;  for my wonderfully loyal WNCX listeners, I hope you will follow me to my next adventure (more info next week!) and for my new friends and everybody else – here’s my final reference to the number “3“… my goal is to have this blog out 3 times a week.  So I guess I will see you on Monday!!!