The team at Suzanne Boyd Productions is made up of veteran TV news anchors, reporters, producers, directors and videographers who spent years creating LIVE television. Now – they are bringing their talents to the digital space, producing live stream shows for businesses, charities and events.
Crazy for McCray's! Eric Roby and I are back together for a special LIVE show celebrating McCray's Backyard BBQ and its new restaurant in Mangonia Park. And it's a PARTY! Eric and Suzanne tell the history of this family that has been a fixture in Palm Beach County for 85 years, the bitter battle they went through to open this new restaurant and how Derrick Marcel Mccray is now bringing together his two loves: football and BBQ.
You won’t find this in any Warren Buffett book on how to become a billionaire, but from the Suzanne Boyd file – learning how to be successful at your career is as easy as studying one of the most mind-numbing reality shows.
“Big Brother” is the CBS guilty pleasure that puts strangers in a house without TV, internet or any connection to the outside world. They live there for up to 3 months, voting each other out and the last man (or woman) standing gets a $500,000 prize. All you have to do is watch the characters on the show to realize: what wins Big Brother also wins in real life and could land you that promotion you’ve been hoping for.
Make Yourself Valuable
In the Big Brother house, the person who cooks and cleans usually stays longer than the slob who expects everyone to clean up after him. Same at work. Learn how to do as much as you can. There’s nothing a boss wants to hear less than “that’s not my job!”. Be the first one there and the last one to leave. When your boss gives you an opportunity – jump at it.
This is one of the most important aspects of winning the Big Brother show. Those who create alliances – no matter how strange – go further in the game. That holds true at the office. Find out who can help you at work and create an alliance with them. I have my go-to photographers, assignment editors, producers and managers at CBS 12 – the people who have my back and vice versa. Even the receptionist – who holds the keys to the coffee and the front door – calls me her “sister from another mister” because we’re always looking out for each other.
Fake It Til You Make It
Your boss asks you to do something, but you’re not really sure how. Don’t say you’re clueless! Ask someone. Get it done. You think anyone in the Big Brother house really knows how to “play the game”? They don’t! They figure it out as they go along.
Play the “Social” Game
Be funny. Be nice. Lighten the mood when things get too serious. Listen to someone when they have a problem. Notice people when they aren’t being noticed. Compliment them. These are all social traits that work well when you’re competing on a reality TV show *and* when you’re competing for a promotion at work. Bottom line – bosses want to keep people around who are positive and make the office a happier place.
Don’t Cause Drama
Don’t let your personal issues spill into the workplace. It’s okay if you have a bad day once in a while, but leave the drama at home. Reality show producers love those who create drama because they make good TV, but they don’t make good employees and they rarely win the game or a promotion.
When You Leave, Go Graciously
This is HUGE! You’re probably thinking – I’m leaving, so who cares if I say nasty things? Well, on Big Brother – one housemate who gets kicked out wins $25,000 based on America’s vote. Those who are gracious almost always win that prize. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years – no matter the profession – you will see and deal with some of the same people over and over and over again. NEVER burn a bridge.
My inbox is daunting. I get hundreds of e-mails a day. Most of them are pitches for a story or a press release about a future event, but 90% of those press releases get an instant “delete” before I even open them because they are junk. In order to send a press release that will be read and even better, acted upon – you need to get inside the mind of a TV reporter/producer. (It’s a scarey place!)
Most of us are ADD. We have the attention span of a 2-year-old. Think shiny. Think one-word. Think attention-grabbing. But first – let’s talk about what you should NOT do.
1) Use the words “Media Release”, “Press Advisory” or anything of that nature in the subject line.
2) Use an email with “press release” in the address.
3) Use “press release” or “media advisory” ANYWHERE in the e-mail.
1) Write an attention-grabbing headline/subject line.
Political groups have some of the best press releases out there. I ALWAYS get suckered into opening them up. Here’s an example of an attention grabbing subject line:
What works about this is that they used my name – so it seems like the e-mail is just for me and then they used an attention-grabbing headline. Make me care about the e-mail enough to open it.
2) Tell me a good story.
Okay – once I open the e-mail, I need to see a story pitch that I can put on TV. Don’t tell me about an “event”. Tell me about the story I’m going to get out of that event. So if you’re pitching a fundraiser, don’t tell me about the dinner and auction. I want to hear why I (and our viewers) should care about the fundraiser. Tell me who’s going to benefit from that money. Sending a kid to college? Tell me about the 16-year-old who is homeless but still manages to go to school everyday and get straight A’s. Funding breast cancer research? Show me the working mother with 3 kids who struggles through chemo but still puts a smile on her face every night when she puts her children to bed. Make sure these people are willing and able to go on TV and speak to reporters. Find the story – and then write your press release.
And trust me – everyone has a story. I was recently talking with JP Hervis, a former news reporter who founded his own PR firm, Insider Media Management. He said he got an art gallery as a client and found out the owner had a heartbreaking story of how she started painting. Normally, no local TV station would cover an art gallery opening, but local stations covered this one because of Hervis’ press release which focused on her story.
3) Keep it simple and short.
Get to the point quickly. Remember – we have very short attention spans. Please, no releases longer than one page. If you can’t say it in less than a page – you need someone to help you edit.
4) Make the reporter’s job easy.
Provide any statistics or numbers to back up your claims or story. Also – make sure you have everyone ready to go once you send out your release. If a reporter calls that day and wants to talk to someone – that person needs to be available or you may lose your shot.
5) Proofread your press release!
This is my biggest pet peeve. There’s nothing that hurts your credibility more than having misspellings or grammatical errors in your release.
Writing a press release is easy. Writing a press release that will get a reporter’s attention is not. But remember – focus your release on the one thing that is surprising to you and it will likely surprise a reporter too.
When I was growing up, I had a cork board on my wall at home where I would pin pictures I cut out of magazines. It was full of things I loved, things I wanted, inspiration, motivation. Pinterest is a virtual cork board.
Would you ever think of doing a veggie platter like this?
What about deviled eggs in the shape of baby chicks?
Did you know you can braid really short bangs with just two pieces of hair?
Or store cutting boards on a cabinet door using a magazine rack?
These are all things I found on Pinterest. It’s cheaper than a magazine (free). And the ideas are endless. It’s also a great marketing tool for businesses. For instance, my close friend designs housewares products for her family’s company, Architec Housewares in Delray Beach. She pins her products on Pinterest. Someone repins them until pretty soon people all over the country are seeing her cutting boards, cups and colanders.
The one downside to Pinterest is that I find myself shopping more often. You see something you like — you can easily order it. For instance, this green dress I spotted on Pinterest should be arriving in the mail for me any day now.
As well as this bathing suit.
I would have already ordered this leopard and striped skirt if I could find it. Some people pin without a source, so you have to do a little searching on your own. After some investigating, it appears the skirt is a Dolce and Gabbana from a few seasons ago. So it’s probably not available and definitely not in my price range. But it’s hot, isn’t it?
Some social media sites may not make it (think MySpace), but I’m pretty sure Pinterest will always have an audience, mostly female. It’s different from Facebook and Twitter. It’s stylish. It’s useful. I just hope my wallet can withstand it.
I’m not sure if Shiloh the Magic Pony is a he or a she, but I do know *it* is one good looking pony. Shiloh has a perfect tan, deep blue eyes and a silky blonde mane. We have a lot in common, too. We both love live music, especially the Dave Matthews Band. And we both like to tweet (me: @SuzanneBoyd; Shiloh: @ShilohthePony).
Shiloh the Magic Pony is like the Flat Stanley of the music world — traveling around the country in women’s purses and men’s fanny packs to attend concerts, take pictures and then move on. I’ve been begging Shiloh’s owner to send the pony my way ever since I took a picture with him/her this summer at the Dave Matthews Band Caravan shows in Chicago. I think he (Shiloh’s elusive owner) was nervous about sending the pony to a non-music venue.
But finally this week — Shiloh arrived in West Palm Beach from Seattle in a small box. And ever since it got here — I have been showing the pony the time of his/her life. Shiloh has watched me write stories, learned about the weather from our meteorologist, John Matthews and was on set for a few newscasts. Shiloh has stayed at my house, hung with my children, been to Delray Beach – it even went to bikram yoga with me.
I get your skepticism. You say, “Why is a grown woman so excited over a tiny toy pony?” Many of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers who aren’t familiar with Shiloh the Magic Pony are wondering if I’ve gone off the deep end or they say I have too much time on my hands. Neither is the case.
Imagine being Shiloh: strangers allowing you access to their lives, their jobs, their fun. There’s no awkwardness, no threat, no feeling that you’re overstaying your welcome. Shiloh is very different from me — the pony can pack up and go whenever it wants, wherever it wants. No strings, no job, no children. That intrigues me.
But – as I said – we have a lot in common, too. I don’t take life too seriously. And neither does Shiloh. It’s been fun hanging with a plastic pony for a week. Maybe you should try it.
You know those people who love Disney so much — they have the family year-round passes? The ones who make the 2-1/2 trek to Orlando once a month in their SUV filled with children and blankets and Disney DVDs?
I am *not* one of those people.
In fact, the thought of going to Disney gives me such anxiety, I’ve only taken my daughter once – when she was 2. And that was a free trip from my husband’s company. So I was pretty much forced to go.
But being the good mom that I am, I offered to take my daughter to Disney for her 6th birthday. My son also has an August birthday, so I figured it was a two-fer.
So we packed up the SUV with the kids, their blankets and Disney DVDs and made the 2-1/2 hour trek to Orlando. And I’m not sure if it was my super-low expectations or the fact that we made all the right decisions, but it wasn’t bad. Yes. I said it. I actually kind of enjoyed myself.
Good decision #1: We picked the right dates.
We chose to go to Disney when most children were just starting school. Our kids didn’t start until later, so it worked out. And we did not have to deal with the typical summer crowds.
Good decision #2: We stayed at a Disney Resort.
We stayed at the Yacht Club, which has a pool like a water park with beach entry, a big pirate slide and lots of waterfalls. Yes, it is more expensive. But it’s worth it! The kids had more fun there than at the parks.
Good decision #3: We did *not* go to Magic Kingdom.
The buses headed to the Magic Kingdom from our hotel had quadruple the amount of people as those headed to the other Disney parks. We did Animal Kingdom one day and Typhoon Lagoon water park the next day. We didn’t wait more than 20 minutes on any ride.
Good decision #4: We had “entertaining” meals.
There is nothing about “breakfast with the characters” or a place called the “T-Rex Cafe” that interest me for dining. Except when I’m with a 2-year-old who lasts about 2 minutes at a restaurant. We ate among animatronic wooly mammoths, loud noises and a light show, but it was the best decision we made.
I actually got to eat my entire meal and drink my entire glass of wine without having to pick up salt shakers or knives or whatever else my toddler decided to throw on the floor.
It was three days of fun. Sanity intact. I haven’t bought a Disney year-round pass, but I may just be talked into packing up the SUV with the kids, the blankets and the Disney DVDs a little more often.
The sweat is dripping from my forehead right into my eyes. My shirt and pants are soaked and I feel like I might pass out or throw up or both. Focus on my breath. Focus on my breath. All I can focus on is how damn hot it is in this room. 105 degrees. But it feels much hotter. And it smells. Like body odor.
I can’t just walk out. That’s a big no-no. If you can’t stand the heat, the instructor here says, the last thing you want to do is get out of the kitchen. Stay in the kitchen. Lie down on your back. Hands by your side. Palms up. And breathe. For God’s sake, breathe.
I’m supposed to be thinking: “This is changing my life. This is making me present. This is what I need to calm my mind.”
I’m actually thinking: “Who’s picking up my child from camp? Don’t forget milk at the store. I wish I didn’t finish off that bottle of wine last night.”
But then again, I am new at this. I look at the women in the bikini bottoms with ripped abs and perfect form and think, “I gotta get there.”
But really, Bikram yoga teaches you that you don’t have to get anywhere other than where you are. It’s about *your* practice. It’s about realizing that no matter what’s happening around you, or how hot it is – you can control how you react to it. Breathe.
Today, I left Bikram yoga in a near coma. My mind shut down. I was completely in the moment. I even had to sit in my car for several minutes afterward because I was so relaxed – I couldn’t drive. I’ve never felt anything like it.
Bikram yoga is not pretty when you’re in the throes of it, and you may look like hell afterward – but what it does for your mind and your body is pretty amazing.
I had a whole laundry list of things I needed at Target when I went last week with my 19-month-old son. And if you’ve ever shopped with a toddler boy, you know, you better make it fast.
One of the things on the list: razor cartridges. They’re expensive. So when I saw the red Target sign “As Advertised” in front of my Gillette Venus razor cartridges, I knew I had to load up. But then I looked at the price. $14.99 for a 4-pack. $14.99? That didn’t sound like much of a deal. That’s $5 per razor replacement.
I’m not running around the store with coupons and I certainly didn’t have time to research razor cartridges before I left the house, but I’ve bought enough of them in my lifetime to know that’s no real savings. So I decided to lift the little “As Advertised” sign to see the regular retail price and I was shocked. Well, not shocked, but certainly disappointed. It said (drum roll please)….. $14.99. Yep. It was the exact same price under that “As Advertised” sign.
I guess if it was on sale, the sign would have read “sale price”. But that’s how they get you. I was about to stock up on several packs of razors I thought were on sale. Good thing I looked. I really wanted to boycott razor buying at that point, but my legs needed a shave badly. And I can’t boycott Target because I’m addicted.
But I can be a more savvy shopper. Sometimes I’m in such a hurry I don’t question the BOGO (buy one get one free) deals. But I’m sure there have been times when I’ve paid double the retail price on one to make up for the free item I’m getting. Not anymore. Unless, of course, it’s a beauty emergency.
There aren’t many things that upset me more than seeing a child suffering. Last night, I met two special and very brave children who have been through more in the past few years than most people have to go through in a lifetime. Brianna Curry and Joe Joe Matuella and their mothers, Dawn and Suzanne were special guests at the American Cancer Society’s Orchid City Ball last night at Trump International. The entire room was in tears as Suzanne told the emotional story of her son’s battle with leukemia. He’s fought it twice so far and won. Joe Joe is 12. Brianna is only 8 years old and is fighting brain cancer.
At the end, auctioneer Neil Saffer led the crowd in a “ROCK call” – asking guests for donations to help send kids like Joe Joe and Brianna to a special ROCK (Reaching Out to Cancer Kids) camp. The children spend a week in Eustis, Florida riding horses, playing games, swimming, woodworking and just basically forgetting about their disease for a short time.
It was a generous audience. But St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara put everything into perspective when he stood up and asked guests to imagine what it would be like to have a child with cancer, then asked them to raise their hands and donate if their child did not have the disease. Nearly everyone raised their placard.
Here’s how it went down. Returning from a trip to Tar-jhay with my 19-month-old. He’s hungry, he’s tired and I’m trying to get home as quickly as possible. I turn around to console him and…. WHAM! Curb. It was a big frickin’ curb, too. You should see the gaping holes in my front *AND* rear passenger-side tires. I think the rims might be damaged, as well.
So I called my husband and said I had good and bad news. The good news, you ask? We have insurance. TGIF.