Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Road Show talks to Sugar & Spice

The Road Show is a weekly television magazine news format that runs for 30 minutes. Within those 30 minutes they gave me about 9 minutes. This is the excerpt on Sugar & Spice.

Can you tell I was a little bit nervous? I have been on TV before, but that was at my own shop and it was much shorter, and unfortunately the link to the video itself is no longer there.

Anyway, if you understand Spanish you can view the interview below.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fundacion Leer Reading Marathon 2008

I have written about Fundacion Leer before. Last year they ran their Reading Marathon 2007 and now they have started their subscriptions for 2008. Things are looking great for them in Argentina, while things are not so great for Reading is Fundamental in the United States. Click -here- to find out what is happening to them.

The event will take place on the 3rd of October. What exactly is this event? This is a nation wide effort that culminates on the 3rd of October in reading groups throughout the country. The idea is to dedicate a few hours of the day to reading. The groups are made up of children, teachers, parents and volunteers. Whole comunities come together to read to children, listen to stories and poems, and to help foster a love for books and reading in children.

Last year, Fundacion Leer reached 2.3 million kids and 159,447 adults in Argentina. This year they want to reach even more.

I have been involved with Fundacion Leer since I arrived in 1999. At first I donated my time and now my company supports them financially through donations. This I have done because I have been moved by what I have seen.

Now I invite you to see for yourselves a little about what Fundacion Leer does. I have never been able to actually witness these events and not be moved.

The first video takes place in the province of Misiones

The second video was put together by EMpower, another company that supports Fundación Leer. When the end credits roll you can stop viewing even though the counter will indicate that there is more, it just starts over.

Fundacion Leer´s blog Post on this year´s event
Fundacion Leer´s award winning web-site

I hope you you feel strongly enough to want to do something, as I did when I watched these kids receive their very first books for the first time. Please get involved. Making kids hungry for reading will only help empower them. Education is only a cost if it is not given out, it is an investment towards the future.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Secret Life of a Soccer Mom

One of the things that I also miss from home is being up to date on what is going on in Television. It´s not a big deal really, but sometimes I miss out on these little gems that get people all riled up. Who would have thought that a reality show about soccer moms would get people all excited?

I have not seen the show. I have only read a Newsweek article on it. I have also looked up the show´s website. On that website they even have a discussion forum where people are writing in and venting. There is also a little video on the show.

The idea of the show is that they pick a Stay At Home Mother that has been out of the workforce for some time and land her a job. Meanwhile, the show sends a "SWAT team of three ponytailed model types clad in black to cook and clean while she's scoping out the job". At the end of the week, she either gets a job offer or is canned and she has to decide what to do.

There seems to be two very opposite camps shouting out their views on this topic. The SAHMs (Stay at home moms) are insulted that the show is expressing a point that your life is not complete unless you go back to work. The working mothers are insulted at the idea that you can only be a great mother if you stay at home.

While both those view points are extreme and wrong, I don´t know if the show itself is actually expressing either of them until I see it and judge it for myself. Knowing some of the past shows that I have seen on TLC I would be surprised if they only show one side of the argument.

This is also interesting to see from the outside. I mean, from living in Argentina. We, as a couple, got to try both experiences. We started out our business from home when our first daughter was born so we got to see a lot of her. We loved that experience. As the business grew, and we were blessed by a second child, we could not be around the second one as much as with the first one.

The culture here is very family oriented. You see your family all the time, not just during the holidays. Also, here, children are welcomed just about everywhere. If you are pregnant you don´t get to wait in line for anything and you also get preferential parking spaces assigned to pregnant mothers. People will give up their seats on the subway and buses for you. This is a very child friendly country. Leaving your child in the care of others here usually means leaving them with the grandparents or other relatives.

Still, it would be interesting to hear from local Argentines what they think of this subject.

Would it be wrong for a mother to leave her children at home, in the care of others, to get back to work?

Do you think that you can only provide the best possible upbringing if you stay at home and decide to work on your family as opposed to a career?

Of course, these arguments apply mostly to families who are in a position of choice. If you have to work, because otherwise you will not be able to provide for your family, then these arguments are pretty much useless, daydreaming exercises for the wealthier-than-you.

However, if you have the possibility of choosing to stay at home or going to work, then you´ve got some thinking to do, or some television to watch, and see what some moms decide to do with their lives, and their family´s life, after a week of trying out a job.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Trivento and Sugar & Spice celebran El Día de la Mujer

Trivento Winery has sent out a gift of their Cabernet Sauvignon with our Cantucci Nocciola to a select group of women in Buenos Aires to celebrate Women's Day. If you click on the image above you can get a bigger view, and therefore be able to read it.

This winery has only been around for 10 years and in that time they have grown to be the second largest exporter of wine in Argentina sending their bottles to over 100 different countries around the globe. That is a great achievement.

Sugar & Spice is no where near achieving any numbers like that just yet. However, we have come far in 5 years. As of just this past month we have national distribution. It is possible to enjoy a Sugar & Spice cookie in Salta, Bariloche, Rosario, Cordoba, Puerto Madryn, and Ushuaia as well as many other cities in between.

A woman is at the head of this company and is at the head of my household. Today, I salute her and all women. Just think how different the world was for women just 50 years back. You´ve come a long way baby, but I know there is still room for improvement.

Women everywhere, I wish you all a great day today!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Row row row your boat...3 (2008)

Thursday 28th of February started out hectic for me, but not nearly as hectic as it ended up being. The kids at the factory ended up saving our neck.

In the first video you can see a car that was floating towards our store. Luckily, the bars that I had installed on the curb stopped its progress. The kids thought that the store window was going to break against the onslaught of waves from the passing buses that went by, but the glass held.

This street gets flooded every year. We knew that and that is why we installed these metal flood doors in front of the store and inside behind the garage door. We also gave the building some height. In the past, the flood doors would keep the water at bay, but this time it was higher.

One of the kids filmed these on his phone. I was out running an errand when the storm hit and I was trying to make it back to the factory, but it was impossible. I was hoping to at least cut off the access to the street to make sure that the buses would not try to go through.

The water ended up going higher than what is shown in either of these videos. The water line itself did not end up going over the flood doors, but the waves did.

In the end, there was no damage done from the water. We did loose a batch of brownies though due to the lack of electricity that hit while they were in the oven.

These kids kept the water from reaching our elevator shaft through quick thinking on their end. I am actually very proud of them.

The mayor of the city has promised that he will make the necessary improvements to the city so that these floods do not happen again. This is a mayor with a goal set on the President´s chair in the future, so he might actually do something about this. In any case, I will wait and see.

Some more positive things I took from this event came from Edenor. They came out and made improvements to the substation that houses the transformer serving our block. Apparently they physically moved the transformer so that it would be out of reach of the water or at least it would not be as exposed to flooding as it has in the past. I wrote about the last flood in post 1 and 2 titled "Row Row Row Your Boat". They even informed us as to when they were going to cut electricity, and when they had to enter our factory they even took their muddy boots off. They kept the downtime to a minimum and came around to do a final check before they left for the day. Now that is class and great customer service.