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You don’t see the graduality of progress.  You wake up one day and the change happened overnight.

It’s as almost as if your subconscious climaxes at the very end and you’re blind to the small changes until that one moment.

But it’s the gradual progress that leads to the conclusion of success.

Conquer The Voice That Screams Failure And Get To Success

My dearest, dearest, dearest readers.

I know you’ve heard it before.  You are probably hearing it right now.  Some voice inside your head that is telling you why you aren’t going to succeed in *some* aspect of your life.

At the same time, I know there is a voice in there that is telling you why you ARE going to succeed.  Usually it’s a tug of war between the two, and if the one is sabotaging you wins… well, we know where that goes.

Well I’m here to tell you all you need to do is ignore the voice that is telling you of failure and BE AWESOME.

The Voices Tell Me “NO”

Sounds easy, right?  BE AWESOME.

You’d be surprised how hard it is.  Because EVERYONE has something called  a little saboteur voice that is just always telling you why NOT to do something, or why NOT to be awesome, or so many other things.  My saboteur voice likes to tell me I’m fat.  My other happy voice tells me “cushion for the pushin’”! :)  My little saboteur tells me other things that I’ll leave out. ;)

The Voices Are WRONG. You Are The Key To Your Success.

You’ve got to do it.  You’ve got to imagine success and DRIVE INTO IT.

Drive into that success and who cares if you create a mess.

Who cares if you don’t get to 100% of your goal.  Because you DROVE SUCCESS by BEING AWESOME.  That’s the key.

And all those other little voices are wrong.

A Recent Success Story on Startup Fundraising

This evening, I was sending followups to investors.  My saboteur voice was saying so many things to me.  Dangit, I had to strangle that saboteur voice.  Here are a few excerpts from the voices.

“No one likes your business because they aren’t consumer facing investors.”

“You’re a female. You are too fun for them.” <—- What? Ridiculous.

“What if they reject me?”

“What if they don’t reply to my email?”

SCREW IT, SABOTEUR!

That’s what you have to say, even if it’s out loud (depends on how loud your saboteur voice is).  SCREW IT, SABOTEUR!

And that’s what I said.  Thankfully, the voice wasn’t too loud this evening as I was randomly drafting emails to investors for followups.  I was following up with folks I had long conversations with and others that I had met briefly.  I even followed up with investors and found investor emails obscurely online from names I had copied down that may or may not have been interested.

I followed up with one in particular that didn’t seem amazingly excited in Dishcrawl.  And he seemed super busy.  He also said he was new to investing.  One voice told me “Meh, he probably won’t invest”.  But my other voice told me “SCREW IT!” and I wrote that followup email with a smile (always smile when you’re corresponding online, it shows!)

Just a few minutes later, he emailed me back.

His email read:

Tracy,
 
Thanks for reaching out. Dishcrawl was interesting to me, but I really do not have time to do a lot of due diligence.  I like the concept, you and X’s involvement.  I just need the deal docs when final.  When the round is near closing, please contact me and I will most likely invest based on the final terms.   For something like Dishcrawl, I would probably do somewhere between 10-25K.
 
Good Luck,

X

Boom.  Success.  Because I conquered that saboteur voice and said “SCREW IT”!

Go Dominate

Now I want you guys to grab your balls (women too) and go DOMINATE.

Go BE SUCCESSFUL.

DO what you need to do to make your lives more amazing.

DO what you need to do to move forward in your careers.

And schedule a coaching session with a professional coach sometime.  Here is the link to mine, who taught me about that little saboteur voice. :)

 

xo,

Tracy @ladyleet

Get To Success By Looking Like An Idiot.

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I’m Guilty, and So Are You

I know you’ve done it before.  I’m guilty of it myself.  NOT wanting to look like an idiot and NOT taking that chance to speak up.

But, every time I’ve done that, I have lost the opportunity to get to success.

We are only successful if we TRY to be successful, not by default.

To be successful, you need to KNOW you are successful, and let that confidence roll with every choice you make.

Stop in this blog post, stand up, and scream at the top of your lungs with your hands up in the air, “I AM SUCCESSFUL!”  OWN IT.

There are always two options when you choose to be in a moment: SUCCESS (looking like an idiot) AND FAILURE

Let’s take the example of my last Founder’s Institute conference.  About a year ago, I was interested in going to get in front of VCs.  The goal: fundraising.

I walked in to that conference, determined to meet as many VCs as I could, but in the first half, I instead failed and found every reason NOT to talk to anyone that might have allowed me to serendipitously meet my goal.  I felt like I didn’t belong and only talked to vendors because I was scared.

It was stupid.  And I failed.  Failed because I didn’t want to look like an idiot that was out of place.  I felt like I was out of place, therefore I was.

The alternative path would have been for me to go up to random people, meet them, and talk and show genuine interest in whatever they were doing, and forget if I looked like an idiot or accidentally interrupted a situation.  I should have said screw it and just be the awesome I know I am.  With that attitude, I would have met a lot of amazing people.  I’ll betcha it would have gotten me closer to my objective, too.

That same conference, there was a VC panel.  I was determined to talk to the VCs on that panel, dangit.  I went up to each and every single one of them after the panel, introduced myself and got their info after.

I sent follow ups to each and every single one of them.  And guess what?  I didn’t look like an idiot.  If I had thought I was out of place and entered the situation as I had entered the last and opted NOT to look like an idiot or be afraid of rejection, I would have ultimately failed regardless.

Now did that get me to my ultimate goal of fundraising that year?  No, but priorities change and we decided not to raise.  Regardless, my actions after the VC panel got me closer to many things, including personal confidence for taking a chance on myself.  And next time I’m in that situation, it gets a little more natural.

EVERY TIME YOU CHOOSE TO LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT, YOU ARE MOVING YOURSELF CLOSER TO SUCCESS

Three girlfriends in white T-shorts jump together

I’m sure you can think about a situation in which you’ve made the choice to be quiet and not speak up.

Stop that.  Resolve to burn the ships and take the path that you feel is going to make you look like an idiot.  Because that’s probably the one that’s going to make you successful.

Go forward now, and grow where the wind takes you, and let those places be amazing moments of success.

Women in San Jose, stand up and join the #FEMPIRE

Let the #FEMPIRE mold the future of San Jose

I love meeting inspiring women.  I love it more when those inspiring meetings mold the future of a city.

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About 40 women leaders of San Jose joined us for the first #FEMPIRE hour last Wednesday at Mezcal.

The level of collaboration, networking, and whisper of things to come made this event special and marks the beginning of something special in San Jose.

“We are the ‘power of the purses.’” – Shyama Sachi

Below are a few highlights of women pushing the envelope forward, but my words will not do the energy of the night justice.

Jenna Tenorio and the ladies of the San Jose Downtown Association will begin a HER CITY campaign late summer and offer us women a new way to discover Downtown SJ.  We’re talking VIP treatment and fun times out with the ladies and a great way to connect with other inspiring women.  I can’t wait!

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Sheila, Founder of Clever Girls Collective helps 5200+ bloggers internationally turn their passion into money by helping brands connect with bloggers.  She’s the secret weapon of your social media strategy.

Mary Matlack of Content Magazine supports the San Jose community by featuring local talent and wonders around our city.  She and her team make San Jose look sexy.

Kim Walesh, Director of Economic Development for the City of San Jose inspires women by being a female in a position of influence in a largely male dominated society and directing many of the amazing initiatives you see around San Jose.  Go #FEMPIRE!

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Joanne Tan of the Fairmont San Jose hosts Zumbathon’s, tea parties, swanky dinners, and is in the know about all things fun in the Fairmont.  Social Media Day for the SJ community to be announced.

Paige Bayer of SV Local Market is a local food entrepreneur.  Her site allows farmers and you to connect so you can get fresh produce, bread, meat, etc from who you want.  Deliveries weekly, and the freshest local product you’ll find.  Paige is also an active leader in building the food and mommy community in San Jose.

Gretchen Baisa of NextSpace is a community curator in Downtown San Jose.  NextSpace allows small businesses and startups save money and create serendipity with co-working.  She is also the co-curator Scrappy Startup, a local startup community, and knower of all things San Jose.  Come co-work with the #FEMPIRE for a day!

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Want to checkout more images of #FEMPIRE hour?  Here is the facebook album. :)

To the women that made #FEMPIRE hour happen

A thank you again to my co-hosts and partners in crime for #FEMPIRE hour.  Check them out below. :)

Jenna Tenorio and the San Jose Downtown Association

Twitter: @sj_downtown

Facebook: sjdowntown

Site: San Jose Downtown Assocation

Sheila Dowd, Clever Girls Collective

Twitter: @xiaolinmama

Facebook: clevergirlscollective

Site: Clever Girls Collective


Mary Matlack, Content Magazine

Twitter: @fromagemarie

Facebook: contentmag

Site: Content Magazine

If you’re a female in San Jose ready to make a difference and join the #FEMPIRE, email me for an invite to the next #FEMPIRE hour. (tracy (at) dishcrawl (dot) com)

And you can find me cheering the #FEMPIRE on Twitter (@ladyleet) and Facebook.  Join us in the #FEMPIRE revolution.  It’s been a long time coming. :)

xo for now,

Tracy

Summer Pitchin. Are you ready?

Summer is upon us.  Founders, is it your time to shine?  Join us Wed June 6th, 7pm.

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Pitching is work, effort and a constant “work in progress”.  Pitchcrawl lets you practice and get practical feedback from investors.

Think of Pitchcrawl as speed dating for investors and founders- 3 minute elevator pitches 1on1.

Investors, get to know entrepreneurs on a personal basis, advise, and find opportunities.

Just like pitching is not just about getting money, Pitchcrawl is not just about pitching- it’s also about relationships being built.

Founders, RSVP at pitchcrawl.com, investors, please email hi@dishcrawl.com to be approved.

#FEMPIRE hour in Downtown SJ

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It’s the year of the female, and it’s time to get together so we can be better, stronger, and more amazing.

I’m co-hosting #FEMPIRE hour with:

The women of the SJ Downtown Association

Sheila Dowd, Founder, Clever Girls Collective

Mary Matlack, Content Magazine

If you’re being invited, take it as a compliment.  You are one of the #FEMPIRE women driving things forward.  If you’d like to be invited, email me. :)

FEMPIRE hour is on Wednesday May 9, at 630pm-8pm at Mezcal.  Our meeting comes in happy hour form.

Address: 25 West San Fernando Street San Jose, CA 95113.

PLEASE RSVP to tracy@dishcrawl.com.

Pitchcrawl 3.0- San Jose

Pitchcrawl 3.0 in Downtown San Jose March 20th

Ah, a lovely new year.  2012 is shaping up nicely.  And so is the awesome serendipity in the air.

If you’ve been to Pitchcrawl before or have heard of it, you know it’s a ton of fun and full of interesting and relevant people.

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Here at Dishcrawl, our philosophy is to perfect the serendipitous nature of any event, so we’ve made some more changes to optimize for awesome.

Below is a breakdown of what you can expect for the next Pitchcrawl.  Hope you join us on March 20th and let us know how you like it. :)

Wins of Pitchcrawl 1.0 and 2.0

  • Intersection of interesting and relevant folks who wanted to meet each other
  • Entrepreneurs practiced pitches and began building relationships with investors
  • Investors were able to mentor a wide range of folks in the early stages of their startup

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Pitchcrawl 3.0 Improvements

Sure, Pitchcrawl has added value to the startup community, but we want to make this event more amazing.  So we’ve come up with some interesting ways to improve your experience!

Checkout the twists we’ll be adding on March 20th.

Questions and Solutions

QUESTION 1:  How do you balance between coordinating so everyone talks to everyone (focus of 1.0) versus letting serendipity and hustlin happen by itself (focus of 2.0).

SOLUTION 1:  Kitchen timers.  All investors will be given a kitchen timer to improve the weird “I’m a founder waiting in line while this other founder won’t stop talking.. #awkward”

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QUESTION 2:  How do you get familiar with all the folks in the room and identify the people you want to talk to?

SOLUTION 2:  Investors and founders will give 30 second intro pitches about themselves to the group as a whole before we begin.

Startup Founder Suggestions

We’ve collected feedback from the investors that joined for the Pitchcrawl, and here are a few notes if you want to stand out from the crowd.

1. Come prepared with a 60 second elevator pitch.

2. Do not ramble.  Practice, folks.

3. Do not come with a powerpoint.  Or force anyone to watch a powerpoint.  It’s like being trapped on a bad date.  You’ll be memorable, but memorable because it was horrifying.

Resources for elevator pitches done right.

Sign up today

We are limiting this Pitchcrawl to a select few, so please sign up quickly at pitchcrawl.com if you plan on attending and begin practicing your pitches today.

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Oh, and remember to practice being genuine and authentic.  We don’t like the douche-approach.  Neither does anyone else. ;)

See you soon,

Tracy @ladyleet

Founder, Dishcrawl

Business in China and Passion as an Asian Female Entrepreneur

There is something comforting I’m feeling about doing business in China.  It’s exciting, but it also allows me to explore a dimension of my existence in a way I never have before.

I feel more connected to my roots, as is being pulled there because it was meant to be.  I just didn’t realize it was meant to be so quick.

I love the culture, the dynamics of business so far.  Perhaps it’s my late-20′s urge to connect to my heritage, but something is so beautiful about being able to mesh the two worlds of US and China together.

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The culture, the exploration of understanding the nuances between the different cultures.

It’s almost as if I’m dancing with the worlds.  Learning and success is inevitable.

jadin

PS, believe you can even when you can’t and you will always win the war.

xxoo

Tracy @ladyleet

The Art of Awesome and Effective Twitter Use for Business

Hey there!  I wrote this for our Dishcrawl Ambassadors and wanted to share the love with the rest of the world.

So, let’s get down to business.  Twitter.  To get started with Twitter, go ahead and go here.  It’s a blog post I wrote awhile ago, but will give you a general idea of how to setup a Twitter account, why you want to setup a Twitter account, and the nuancies of Twitter-speak.

Done?  Great.  Now for the good stuff.

Objectify Yourself

Everyone’s gotta have an objective!

Here is ours: Find people to engage with to create a presence in the market.  People I want to engage with are local foodies, papers, bloggers, restaurants, and the like.

Build Your Brand in 3 Simple Steps

The 3 steps in making sure you set yourself up properly are:

1. Find people

2. Manage people

3. Engage people.

Step 1: Find People

First thing you want to do on Twitter is find a good group of people to start listening to.

The best and most effective way to do this is to login to Twitter and use the search functionality.

Hunting Properly: Search

Let’s say I’m looking for foodies.  Check out the search column below.  I entered “foodie” in the search box.

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As you can see above, a bunch of people talking about foodie comes up.  To drill deeper, click on the tweet, and a window will pop up on the side (as shown above).

Adding Easily: Follow

You can then click the the “name” of that Twitter person.  What should pop up is the profile (as shown below).  Now, you can figure out why this person is relevant, and click on the follow button. :)

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Toki Underground is relevant because they are a ramen house!  I’d follow them.

Stalking Effectively: Add to List

The other missing piece of the equation- we know that not everyone is always talking about food, even if they are foodies and your audience.  So how on earth do you keep re-engaging the people you know are relevant?

Gasp! You can add them to a list to keep track!  Click on the little people icon and click on “add to list” (shown below).

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Now you’re going to create a list.  I’d name it something relevant, like “Raleigh foodies” if you’re looking for foodies in Raleigh, NC.

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Now, continue on searching interesting people.  If I’m trying to be specific about a location like Raleigh, NC, I would also search things like, “North Carolina foodie” “NC food” “NC foodie” “NC restaurant” “Checked in Raleigh” “Raleigh food” Raleigh foodie” etc.

Make sure to come up with a strong list of creative search terms and keep them handy for later.  Get creative.

For the first week, follow at least 50 people a day this way.

Remember: Search, Follow, Add to List.

Tweet these people too, of course, and follow guidelines in Step 3 below. :)

Step 2: Manage People

You should have about 350 people you are following now, and a lot of interesting people following you!

Now, to manage Twitter, I say install Tweetdeck on your Chrome browser.  It’s a plugin, and the best thing ever.

With Tweetdeck, now you can add lists from your Twitter account.  Additionally, you should set up at least 8 search columns with key search terms to see what people are talking about.  Setup an column for Dishcrawl and your specific Dishcrawl (DishcrawlPHL for example) so you can also see what people are talking to you!  Check out below. :)

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Step 3: Engage People

Ah, the beauty of engaging your local community.

I love it!  This is one of my favourite things to do.  It’s so cool to watch y’all grow.  Joann @DishcrawlDC, for example, was stoked (as was I) when Thrillist (a publication) started following her!  Small wins like this make the day so much better. :)

For your first 2 weeks of Twitter, you should be tweeting at least 30 times every day.  Seriously.  It’s like showing up to a new playground.  You don’t want to play alone, you want people to get familiar with you!  Build your persona.

Now what to tweet.  Look through your new Twitter streams.

Find interesting things people are talking about.  You should already know these people are relevant because you followed them for a reason. :)

Now talk to them.  You can RT them, @ them, or tell them about Dishcrawl.  Remember- 30 tweets a day.  Then, you can do something like 10 tweets a day once you’ve established yourself.  But keep up with it.  Don’t lose your shine. :)

The people you are tweeting have something in common with you- they are in your city and they love food as much as you.

The conversation tone should be genuine, as if you’re talking to someone at a cocktail party.

You should not have the used car salesman vibe like the dude below.

Random Nuances of Twitter

You can always do a general tweet, of course.

Example of a general tweet: “Come join us in Raleigh on Jan 25th for our first Dishcrawl! http://dishcrawl.com/raleigh.”

What is an @? An @ is a way to ping someone.  So if I say “Hey @Thrillist, you should come to our first DC Dishcrawl! http://dishcrawl.com/dc.” With the @, Thrillist knows I’m directly talking to them and it will show up in their “mentions”.  The tweet will show up to all your followers, UNLIKE if you start a tweet with an @ (example: “@Thrillist, you should come to our first DC Dishcrawl! http://dishcrawl.com/dc.’) which specifically pings only the people following you AND Thrillist.  Not the best way to get your word out, but good if you want to mute your voice a little or just say thank you to someone.

RT (in quotations): I use this method exclusively.  I don’t really like the RT new functionality.  RT stands for retweet, btw. :)  Retweeting someone is simply echoing their thoughts and spreading it to your followers.  It’s appreciated, and engaging. :)  An example of how I RT is this: ” Great post. ” @Thrillist Best Burgers in the Bay Area www.link.com”.  See how I commented in the front, and then put the original tweet in quotations?

RT new: This is simple.  You just press a button and Twitter retweets the tweet to your followers.  Not my style.

Well, I hope you guys enjoyed this little Twitter lesson.  I hope I included everything in full. :)  If you have questions, you can always email me at tracy (at) dishcrawl (dot) com. :)

Oh, and one last note before I sign off, when people follow you, check out who they are and follow them back! :)

Best of luck and success,

Tracy @ladyleet

Pitchcrawl- Success, Failure, and Iteration

The Art of Investor Dating and Fail Points

Looking for investors is very similar to dating.  You run around in circles in hopes of finding the “one”.

Just like dating, it’s in your best interest to use your personal network to be introduced to the right people.  But, if you want to get more proactive about it, events are the way to go.

That’s why an event like Pitchcrawl is an awesome idea.  Just like a dating event, everyone is there for the same reason, meaning you have a higher chance of meeting “the one”.  And it’s less douchey than picking random people up at random times.

Events like Pitchcrawl have been inspired from Dave McClure’s Startup2Startup.  My desire for hosting Pitchcrawl came from that and a week of wasted time.

My week of wasted time: I decided I wanted to jumpstart my network and see what would come of going to events to find investor relationships.  Guess what?  There is a lack of investor/founder specific events.

I attended 4 “startup” events in 1 week, paid about $200 total for admissions, and met 3 investors.

Lame!  Cost of investor acquisition way too high and I don’t have enough time to wonder aimlessly.  I have a business to run.

If this was frustrating to me, I know it was frustrating my lot of founder friends.

So came the birth of Pitchcrawl.

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Our startup Dishcrawl loves bringing people together over food, so creating experience for our extended startup family was natural.

The 3 Objectives of Pitchcrawl #1.

Objective 1. Event with only founders and investors present.  No random people.

We marketed Pitchcrawl as a founder/investor only event.

Objective 2. Encourage mingling and ensure founders are able to talk to as many investors as possible. (I always enourage fairness).

We came up with a 3 minute timer on pitching rounds so each entrepreneur could meet at least 4-5 investors.

Since we did the Pitchcrawl in the form of a Dishcrawl, we spend 45 minute at each venue, then walked to another location.  The very nature of this breaks up the flow and create new dynamics, which leads to more interesting relationships.

Objective 3. Add some stickiness to the event.

Food is the foundation of any strong relationship.  We made sure each stop had some noms to enjoy.

Successes and Failures of Pitchcrawl #1.

The energy was strong, vibrant, and very alpha that night.

95% of the folks attended were investors or founders.  There were a couple randoms that creeped in, but the ratio was satisfactory.

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3 minute timers failed- massively.  By the 2nd stop, we said screw it and individually announced so investors could get the opportunity to talk to another startup if necessary.

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People would eat easy handheld things, but eating anything involved was of no interest.

I was pleased to hear that most startups there were able to talk to everyone they wanted.  If we had just accomplished that that night, I was happy.

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The energy of Downtown San Jose’s vibrant startup scene was captured that night.  Bright individuals connecting with each other in hopes of sparking the next technology revolution.

The vibrance of the night was captured by Content Magazine, San Jose Business Journal, San Jose Mercury News, San Jose Metblogs, and CJ Brasiel.

Pitchcrawl Iterations and the Birth of Pitchcrawl V2

We have decided to nix the 3 minute timers next time.  I’m a fan of fairness, but as a founder you better know how to hustle and make things happen yourself.

We’ll still do the Pitchcrawl in traditional Dishcrawl format (originally created to prevent having to sit next to the same person for the duration of a dinner) to make sure we keep the vibe dynamic, but the rest is up to you.

Focus- Pitchcrawl SF on Jan 10 will be focused around consumer software products, greentech and the like need not apply.

Passed appetizers and water for the food.  Less involved so you can focus on those awesome relationships.

Smaller groups- 40/50 people a time versus the mass of 85 people.

Screen the founders to ensure they are not randoms.

Make the vibe chiller and more fluid.  No structure.

Upping the genuinity- the goal of Pitchcrawl V2 is not to give 3 minute pitches, but be able to meet and build relationships with a variety of investors and founders.

Pitchcrawl SF January 10th

Join us for a Pitchcrawl through some startup hubs in SoMa on Jan 10th!

Founders, get your serendipity juices flowing.

Investors, come to mentor and give feedback to a burgeoning founder community.

Tickets can be purchased at pitchcrawl.com and questions can be emailed to hi (at) dishcrawl (dot) com.

See you soon,

Tracy @ladyleet