What goes up, must come down

Resolutions sounded like such a good idea on the 31st of December. Especially on your second martini. Super achievable. You’ll be 10 pounds lighter with the job of your dreams by February, tops… and then, say, 3 January pops up and suddenly: eh. Maybe those 10 pounds are necessary, and come on, you work to live, not live to work, right? Right? Eh.

Don’t misunderstand me: I actually love my job, and no comment on the 10 pounds, but the sentiment is the same for everyone who makes resolutions come the New Year. The momentum is rolling on the 1st of January, and sometimes it’s just a matter of time, and others it’s an early setback like an illness or a bad job market, but no matter what, unless you’re freakishly positive and motivated, setbacks are bound to happen. But setbacks can be overcome with simple words of encouragement, an app that reminds you to keep to your goals, or even motivational lapel pins.

Doing anything difficult, whether it’s physical, mental, or a combination, requires focus S834and motivation, and small reminders can really help refocus your mind when you’re struggling. Good luck charms, motivational lapel pins, even just a post-it note with a positive affirmation, can do the trick.

For me, my setback came in the form of a major car repair on the first day back to work, 2 January. Not exactly motivational. But with some good friends, a bit of sympathy, and some positive thinking, I’m back on track. I may even go grab a pin from our warehouse, to remind me to “Never Quit”!

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Onto the Next!

Well, we made it! Another year behind us, and another one lining up. We at PinMart had a great year professionally and personally, and we have all of our clients, colleagues and fans of Facebook and this blog to thank for that. This year has seen lapel pins that celebrate anniversaries, and pins that honor tearful passings. We’ve been a part of high school R5401graduations, Nursing grads, and even scuba diving certification. 2013 was the year I got to work with skateboarders, trapeze Jesus (don’t ask), and politicians. Camo and cloisonne, Olympians and little leaguers. It has been a diverse and interesting year.

2014 stands to be just as interesting, productive, and record breaking. We’ve expanded as a company this year with great new people, and products like paracord bracelets, tons of new pins, and beautiful challenge coins. 2014 promises to bring with it even more new people and products, and we hope that everyone will follow us along on our journey. We’ve had a blast helping you celebrate, commemorate, promote and grow in your own lives.

So here’s to a spectacular 2014, from the PinMart family to yours.

Cheers!

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Resolve to Eradicate Cervical Cancer this January

Well the holidays are (mostly) over. New Years is on the horizon, and with it the creeping inkling to take stock of one’s life, and to make a list of resolutions. I’m of the mindset that regardless of where you end up at the end of the year, no matter how many resolutions are kept or broken, if you tried, if you made that list, that’s a good start. So it pays to make a new one every year, even if the same old resolutions and aspirations go on it. Taking stock is half the battle.

Health is undoubtedly high on everyone’s list. Be that to lose a few pounds, gain some strength for a race, for a sport, or just for your kids’ sake. What should also be on your list of resolutions is to get those yearly physicals. January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month, and because testing for abnormal cells through pap smears has become more accessible to women, this form of cancer is on the decline. It’s very rare in my industry of researching diseases and their corresponding awareness organizations that I can say that a disease is on the decline. And in this case, the decline is in direct correlation to the awareness!

Information is key, through fundraisers, through printed material, through swag like 421awareness ribbons and t-shirts. Many activities and events that see a lot of female participation team up with local cervical cancer awareness chapters to make sure that information is available to women about the benefits to yearly pap tests and how easy it is to prevent precancerous cells from becoming cancerous.

So this January, when you’re signing up for that 5K, or considering joining a charity, make sure that your health is also a resolution, a priority. Wear teal awareness ribbons, teal shirts, bracelets or lanyards to promote women’s health, and to support those who are battling cervical cancer. Wear teal to keep the numbers of women stricken with this form of cancer on the decline.

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Things to Know about Blood Awareness Month

If you have never donated blood before or you’ve haven’t done so in a while, now is the time to consider it. January is National Blood Awareness Month, and people all over the country are encouraged to roll up their sleeves and have blood drawn to help others in need.  And don’t worry. It won’t hurt that much. Here are some things to know about donating blood and the importance of Blood Awareness Month.

You’ll Help Save Lives

Did you know that a single pint of donated blood can save up to three lives? Hospitals need blood for a number of different live-saving surgeries and procedures, and the wintertime is often the time of the year when hospitals reach critical levels in their blood supply. Reasons for this include increased amount of holiday vacations, poor weather and greater instances of illness.  1 in 3 people in their lifetime will need blood, so the life you save may just be your own. Speaking of that…

You’ll Get Your Critical Numbers Checked Out

In order to give blood, you do need to have a certain level of health. If you don’t have health insurance or you are just curious, a doctor will give you a mini-physical beforehand. 778You will get your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature and hemoglobin checked out to make sure you are a good candidate for blood donation. If there is something wrong with you, you’ll have the knowledge to take action. Many people who suffer from high blood pressure, for example, don’t have an idea of their exact numbers.

Make Sure to Tell Others

You did the right thing. Now tell others about it. One of the easiest things to do is to spread the message through social media. I guarantee you’ll get a few likes and shares for your efforts. Another thing to do is to be your own billboard. Buy an awareness lapel pin that you can take with you wherever you go. When people ask you what it’s for, you can tell them that you donated and explain the importance of it. It’s a considerably low-cost way to get the word out that there is a need for blood all year round.

No matter the time of year, the demand for blood is there, but this time of the year is a crucial time of year as supply is very low. If you have the time and health, please consider it and spread the word once you do through a pin, social media or simple word of mouth.

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Officer Smiley

I was taking an order today for a police officer who was starting a program of “years of service” pins for his fellow officers. He started speaking about the purpose behind this move, as many customers tend to do, and mentioned that where he works in New York, police officers are not always looked upon as heroes or the good guys, but as threats. And while that was an unfortunate truth for him, what he pointed out next seemed to genuinely sadden him.

He explained that because many of the adults in his precinct were wary of police officers for one reason or another, it led to many of the children in the area to have the same sense of distrust when they saw a policeman, or even worse, outright fear. For the reason, he was not only looking to boost the morale of his fellow officers with years of service pins, but he ended up purchasing hundreds of smiley face lapel pins as well.

His idea is to hand these out to officers and when they’re walking the streets and see a S42child, to make sure to say hello, hand them a pin, and try to give them a different impression of officers, to let them know that if they ever need help, police officers are their friends, and are there to help. He admitted it was a little bit corny, but I pointed out that doctors will do the same thing with suckers after they give children shots. To remind them in a simple way that they’re on the same team, friends, and can be trusted. He hadn’t thought of that before.

So if you live out on the east coast, in New York, and you see any kids with smiley face lapel pins on, go and thank a police officer. And tell them I said hello!

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Year End Service Stars

Another year is almost behind us. It’s in these final weeks of the year that we all take stock of what we’ve done, what we’ve seen, who we’ve shared it with. We look over pictures, write out holiday cards, give and receive awards and rewards for another successful year. One of my favorite aspects of December is going shopping, or traveling, anywhere really, where I get to see people in all different service positions wearing their collection of service lapel pins. You see them at department stores, on planes, at your local coffee shop. The recognition is different in every industry, but the sentiment is the same: your hard work has not gone unnoticed.

Many large businesses have these programs in place for their employees, ways to keep S836incentive high and also morale. They’re small and don’t break a company budget, but their function is gratitude, and that’s no small matter. Years of service, most sales, best customer feedback, most improved, these categories zero in on each person’s strengths and ensure that they know not only that they made a difference in 2013, but also exactly what their particular strengths were.

I try to always make mention when I see someone wearing these service lapel pins when I’m out and about. Take the time to read them and lend my agreement to their achievements. These individuals wear their awards with pride, and as someone who helps supply those throughout the country and world, I feel a sense of pride when I see them worn. It’s the circle of life, folks. (I dare you to not start humming songs from the Lion King now, I dare you.)

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Calorie-Free Gingerbread? You Bet.

We’re crazy here at PinMart. I mean for a specific reason, not that we aren’t a little goofy in general. We’re crazy because we collectively agreed to participate in an office “Biggest Loser” type contest right during the holidays, to see who can get to their goal weight in the designated time. I’ll douse the anticipation by telling you that I’ve actually GAINED weight from when we started, despite my best efforts. I blame the turkey and stuffing from last weekend’s Thanksgiving festivities. Regardless, some folks around here are actually losing weight, getting healthier, and that’s what matters.

It got me to thinking about the way we think about holidays, and how much food is tied into them. Not that there’s anything wrong with Christmas cookies and candy canes, but when you’re in the throes of a weight loss challenge, they do tend to become something of The Enemy. For that, I think there’s something a little extra about having candy can and gingerbread cookie lapel pins. These guys are great for home and office, and are CALORIE FREE. That’s no small token.

Moderation is key to anything, whether that’s with food, working too hard, or any other 1210activity. Mixing in alternatives, diversifying, these are great tricks to maintaining balance. If I’m having a great day, perhaps I can avoid ruining it with a celebratory sweet treat by pinning on a sweet pin instead. That way I’m still festive, without further blowing my weight loss goals.

And heck, if I end up pinning on enough lapel pins in exchange for snacks, I may do myself twice as much good by having to hoist around all the extra weight… something to think about…

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What Makes for a Good Stocking Stuffer?

When it comes down to it, there are very few surprises left in Christmas.  Most people have Wish Lists where they can keep itemized records of everything they want. Many would prefer to not be surprised with a gift that they didn’t include on the list. With the resources out there afforded by the internet and social media, there isn’t anything out there that they want that they don’t have on their wish list.  Now, this is just one of the areas where Christmas surprises have been negated through technology and social media. Luckily, there are ways to bring the Christmas magic back to the holiday. One way is through stocking stuffers.

Stocking stuffers are generally less than $25 and are small gifts that tend to show more personality and humor. Their name is derivative of the fact that they are generally placed 1522into stockings hung over a mantel place or anywhere there are hooks. So what makes for a good stocking stuffer? First off, it shouldn’t be too expensive. You don’t want to break the bank over the item – that’s what the gifts under the tree are for. It should also be special in some way – not just some commercial item that is on everyone’s wish list. Finally, it should be something that the recipient wasn’t expecting. For all of these reasons, we recommend a pin. Why pins? Let’s examine the reasons below:

Pins are customizable: Let’s say you’re purchasing gifts for a large number of people and have no idea where to get started. If you have to purchase for more than 100 people – let’s say for coworkers – PinMart can customize pins that fit your message or personality. These custom pins will be a memorable gift not found anywhere else.

Pins are inexpensive: Have $25 to spend on all of your stocking stuffers? You can buy one or two things, or you can purchase a handful of pins. You can count the amount of dollars a pin from PinMart will cost with one hand.

Pins will last past one Christmas: Most Christmas gifts do not appreciate. In fact, the interest level and satisfaction they provide the recipient will often depreciate very quickly. Pins, on the hand, are timeless. They don’t fit into a particular style or fad. They’re something that can be worn at every age to showcase the thought and ingenuity you had to give them such a unique and fun gift.

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One of the only times quitting is the goal

Typically, for many Americans, there are two times of the year when it’s most likely you’ll try to either give up a bad habit, or pick up a good one: Lent and the New Year. But every year, on the third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society encourages smokers to give up the habit of smoking and replace it with a positive habit, like an exercise regimine, or a new hobby. It’s tough, being right around the holidays, but most smokers will tell you that there’s never an easy time to quit, and many supporters will tell you that the best time to quit is when you’re surrounded by friends and family, like around the holidays.

And just encouraging people to stop smoking is not enough, clearly. So The Great American6901 Smokeout has created fun characters and cool graphics that quitters can use on their facebook and twitter pages, can purchase on items like lanyards and lapel pins, and forums they can connect to other quitters on. It’s a great way to turn what sometimes feels like a frustrating and lonely process into something that ties people together, and maybe even builds new friendships based on getting healthy.

At the end of the day, The Great American Smokeout will be a success for those who put in the effort and the dedication, and no amount of cute emoticons or lapel pins will make or break that. But having a fun community, enticing extras and some mementos of the journey towards being smoke free certainly doesn’t hurt.

All I need to know now is who and what are you quitting for, and by quitting, what will you gain?

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You Do What Again?

Sometimes I have to do some explaining when I tell people what I do for a living. Custom lapel pins are so much a part of our daily lives that many people actually need to be reminded of where they see them every day. And once they’ve made that connection, I sometimes see their gaze glaze over in that telltale way: she sells boring, monotone, corporate recognition pieces that no one outside the organization cares about at all. It’s those people and those look that get me the most excited. It’s an invitation to share with them some of my more unique lapel pin requests from over the years.

There are the cool but still practical pieces, like selling custom lapel pins to various major TV shows and movie sets, or certification pins for deep sea divers and the rewards for the office that S749proclaim “My boss thinks I’m kind of a big deal”. We’ve made replica goldfish cracker pins, llamas, gold miners, manatees and two peas in a pod. I’ve spoken to high ranking members of both major political parties, lobbying groups of every shape and variety, sororities to motorcycle clubs.

That much normally changes their minds about custom lapel pins, dispels the glaze in their eyes, but if even my mention of miniature mossy-oak colored t-shirt lapel pins doesn’t get the desired response, I bring up the truly unique pieces, the “Trapeze Jesus” lapel pin we’re currently crafting for a college campus club, the T.A.R.D.I.S replica we created for ComicCon over the summer, or the full rhinestone corset lapel pins we had made for a bachelorette party. That’s when the requests for pictures normally get made, and from there, my reputation is typically restored. I go from corporate back to creative pretty fast, thank goodness!

 

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