A Smarter Mom is Moving!

Howdy, Smarter Moms! To make a long story short, my blog posts from A Smarter Mom dot com are moving here.

Why I Moved A Smarter Mom

There have been many twists and turns in this saga. I was so happy with the progress I was making on the blog: I’d been published on Unveiled Wife (Yay Jen! She’s my hero, ya’ll!), added subscribers to my email list, and was even selling products on Amazon.

(By the way, if you landed here from Unveiled Wife, please sign up here for your free download, 15 Ways to Bless Your Husband.)

All that progress came to a screeching halt when the site was hacked via an errant plugin (and its unscrupulous new owner).

Soon after cleaning up the mess (but before restoring things), I ended up on a looong detour. Part of it led me through a self-education on trademarks and branding.

Research convinced me that “A Smarter Mom” might not be good to build a brand on. I’m in this for the long haul, so … (drum roll, please!)

The mommy blog will be showing up here for now. I’ll share mom life hacks, easy healthy meals, nutrition/health research, business tips, encouragement, and whatever else I can from my 23 years and 6 kids-worth of motherhood to help moms “in the trenches.”

For Bloggers: Fixing My Site Security

When my other site was hacked, I spent many long days of research to learn how to fix things AND put better security in place. That’s what happens when you don’t have the moolah to pay an expert (or when you just want to do it yourself and be sure you get it right!).

I learned that my former, very popular web host had a not-so-great reputation when it came to security. This was also my experience; for example, the tech support person who later helped me restore the site assigned me the username “admin” — a BIG no-no!

This led to even more research to find the best hosting company. I settled on SiteGround. SiteGround is faster (SSD drives are included in all shared and cloud plans), safer (they even block brute force attacks before they can get to your site; read more here), and much more responsive than my previous host. I’ve contacted them oodles of times (did I mention I’m a domain junkie?), and always had my issue solved in minutes.

SiteGround makes it easy-peasy to build a safe website, even for blogging newbies like me. They offer free site staging, so you can test website redesigns, new plugins or themes without breaking what’s working. And they practically force you to use strong passwords everywhere.

(Multiple blog posts, books, and the paid site security course I completed convinced me, having strong passwords is the #1 thing you must do to protect your site. Other things: minimize plugins; update themes and plugins often; password protect the wp-admin directory). Let me know on my Facebook page if you need help doing any of these things.

What’s Coming Next?

As an Abstract Random with a heavy dose of Squirrel, my current priorities are:

1. launch the motherhood book that led me out of dark days of disconnect and depression (a tribute to my mom, who is 91 years young);
2. host my “fighting frivolous trademarks” info here (to fulfill a promise);
3. create products for my Etsy shop and Amazon brands; and
4. set up my personal blog and business page on the web.

Follow my Facebook page where I share encouragement and life/business tips, or sign up here for all the latest (and my BEST stuff! wink, wink!).

Facebook: Put the Best Spin On It!

Here’s a Facebook Live video I did to remind you to put the best spin on your past.

In the book I’m writing (a tribute to my mom), I talked about how Mom did this. My parents divorced when I was turning 10, and we moved thousands of miles away. But Mom consistently told me, “Your dad will want to see your report cards, and he’ll want to know about your accomplishments.”

The crazy thing is, it didn’t really matter if it was true or not. By putting the best possible spin on my relationship with Dad, Mom helped me grow up believing I mattered to both of them.

I believe that, in his own way, Dad did care, and wanted to fulfill his responsibilities. But he had a lot of brokenness to deal with. Mom’s perspective helped shield me from much of that brokenness, and I’m so grateful!

Let’s do this for ourselves and our families: put the best spin on whatever difficulties you have faced. Whether from people, or financial loss, or illness… learn to “make a molehill out of a mountain.” It’ll do your heart good!

Facebook: What’s Your Goal?

VIDEO NOTES:

Like my business page at Morgan Reece HQ and request notifications (click on the “Following” tab and select “Notifications On”) to get more videos like this

Share this video and help hold me accountable to finish my mom’s book!

Hi this is Morgan Reece reminding you to Do What Matters.

I have three goals for this video today:

1. Remind you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made
2. Remind you to focus on what only you can do;
3. Remind you to set important goals and tell someone!

The Bible says that you are fearfully and wonderfully made: There’s so much negativity in the world, and we often bring it to ourselves. We judge ourselves, criticize ourselves. But God created each person in His image and declared you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”! There’s nobody like you. Your value doesn’t depend on whether you are young enough, tall enough, thin enough. When you are 50 you’re going to think the body you had at 40 was pretty great. When you’re 60 you’ll look back fondly on the body you had at 50! And even so, my goal is to be in better shape 10 years from now than I am right now… so I’m working on developing the habits that will get me there.

Focus on what only you can do: This includes your most important relationships, like your walk with God and relationships with your family. If you’re married, you are the only one that can legitimately enjoy intimacy with your spouse — don’t neglect that! And not just intimacy, but hugging on your kids and reminding them they are special and loved. In your business and at home, focus on what ONLY you can do. So often in business, especially if you’re self employed, it’s easy to find yourself on a hamster wheel, trying to do so many things. But the truth is, some of those things aren’t going to make a difference anyway. We try to do too much because we think we can do it all, and that’s just not true!

I mangled it in my video, but here’s the actual quote:

Dr. Paul Rosenfeld, psychiatrist: “The sure sign of the incurable egotist is that he never allows for the actual amount of time any given activity will take.“

If you’re a mom, realize that your children should be growing into ever-increasing roles of responsibility to care for your home. You were never meant to be everyone else’s slave. Do what ONLY you can do, and start getting help with the rest!

Doing what only you can do also includes setting goals for your health and your impact in the world. God gave you life for a purpose!

Set important goals and tell someone: This is the third reason for my video today. Three years ago, I wrote a book in tribute for my mom. I published it on Amazon (so I could give it to her for her birthday), but really, it’s not finished. So today I decided, “You know what? I’m just going to tell the world, Hey, I need to finish this book, and I’m asking you to hold me accountable. Not because I’m going to make a million dollars from a book. I don’t think it’s going to make me a bunch of money. But I believe with all my heart, my mom’s book will change lives, because it’s changing mine.

Let me explain: I wrote this book to honor my mom. But here’s what happened: the more I worked on the book, the more I saw it was changing my mindset, my perspective, and changing me as a mom. It’s helping me be less negative about my mothering skills, and enjoy my family. If God gave you a family, it’s not because He’s punishing you (with all the responsibility), or trying to show you what a loser you are as a mom.

The Bible says as for God, his way is perfect. That means, when He thought about your kids, He thought, “I know the exact perfect mom for them!” And He picked you. Top choice! Maybe you’re like me, thinking “I’m such a loser mom.” No you’re not! If you’re a mom, dad, sister, brother… We all mess up. That’s why Jesus died. Because we can’t do it ourselves. We’re all just doing the best we can, and growing at it all the time.

And then He gives us these goals and dreams.

Wrapping it up:

I’m not going to fill my personal feed with videos, because that wouldn’t be nice to my friends. So I started a business page, and I’ll be posting videos like this over there in the future.

Go to my business page, like it, request notifications, and then comment on the post at the top that says “What’s your goal?”

Let’s finish these things!
You’re going to feel so good when you FINISH that thing you started. (Whether it’s hugging your kids every day, or sending a note to Grandma, or making 5 cold calls in your business. Pick a goal and DO IT!)

Like my business page at Morgan Reece HQ and request notifications to get more videos like this
Share this video and help hold me accountable to finish my mom’s book!

USPTO Audits

USPTO apparently audits registrations! The screenshot is hard to read, so here’s what it says:

The USPTO is performing random audits of US trademark registrations to assess and promote the accuracy and integrity of the trademark register. See 37 C.F.R. §§2.161(h), 7.37(h). This registration has been randomly selected for audit to determine whether the mark is in use with all of the goods identified in the registration.

To comply with the audit, you must submit proof of use of the registered mark for two additional goods per class. Id. If proof of use for the goods identified is not available, the identified goods and any other goods not currently in use should be deleted from the registration.

Therefore, the owner must submit the following:
(1) Proof of current use of the registered mark in commerce for the following goods:
“Canvas shoes” and “children’s headwear” in International Class 25; and
(2) The following statement, verified with an affidavit or signed declaration under 37 C.F.R. §2.20: “The owner was using the mark in commerce on or in connection with the goods identified in the registration for which use of the mark in commerce is claimed, as evidenced by the submitted proof of use, during the relevant period for filing the affidavit of use.” 37 C.F.R. §§2.161(h), 7.37(h).

Acceptable proof of use for goods includes photographs that show the mark on the actual goods or packaging, or photographs of displays associated with the actual goods at their point of sale. A tag or label that is not shown affixed to the goods is not acceptable proof of use. Similarly, a package that does not show or identify the goods therein is not acceptable proof of use.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the screenshot:

Screenshot of USPTO Post Registration Audit
USPTO’s Post Registration Office Action requests proof of use in their audit.

In this case, the owner failed to provide proof, and the trademark is now canceled.

Takeaways (when filing for a trademark):

  • only list the goods you are selling (or in 1B cases, intend to sell);
  • get some products listed in each class (category) quickly; and,
  • get dated proof of your earliest sales so you’ll have it if you are audited.

PS I avoided the serial number in the screenshot on purpose. Trade secrets, ya know!

Failure to Function Example

Love it! Here’s a great example of a term’s failure to function without widespread use on goods.

This is a big deal, because in the Merch By Amazon fight against frivolous trademarks, USPTO has typically denied Letters of Protest that did not include evidence of many competing products. But widespread use in the marketplace is not always required.

Regarding #MAGICNUMBER108, the USPTO Examining Attorney explained,

Slogans or terms that merely convey an informational message are not registrable.  In re Eagle Crest, Inc., 96 USPQ2d at 1229 (citing In re Boston Beer Co., 198 F.3d 1370, 53 USPQ2d 1056 (Fed. Cir. 1999)).  The more commonly a term or slogan is used in everyday speech, the less likely the public will use it to identify only one source and the less likely the term or slogan will be recognized by purchasers as a trademark or service mark.  See In re Hulting, 107 USPQ2d at 1177 (quoting In re Eagle Crest, Inc., 96 USPQ2d at 1229); TMEP §1202.04.

USPTO