Every now and then I’ll participate in Throwback Thursday on Facebook. Throwback Thursday is a meme where you post an old photo. Today I wanted to do something more. I’m giving you links to over ten years worth of photos, thousands of them, on my Flickr photostream. But be warned, it might just make you hungry.
|2002:||July (39) August (70) December (19)|
|2003:||January (4) March (63) April (6) May (10) June (98) July (5) September (1) November (14) December (20)|
|2004:||January (18) February (31) March (6) April (4) May (101) June (7) July (19) August (107) September (211) October (391) November (178) December (60)|
|2005:||January (75) February (74) March (43) April (136) May (120) June (368) July (160) August (172) September (33) October (55) November (51) December (166)|
|2006:||January (152) February (192) March (178) April (132) May (340) June (330) July (286) August (164) September (91) October (238) November (79) December (290)|
|2007:||January (79) February (44) March (165) April (82) May (312) June (439) July (781) August (247) September (342) October (186) November (354) December (463)|
|2008:||January (248) February (102) March (99) April (611) May (520) June (1049) July (919) August (672) September (199) October (1481) November (523) December (896)|
|2009:||January (216) February (229) March (374) April (510) May (1255) June (592) July (1258) August (945) September (663) October (1592) November (240) December (588)|
|2010:||January (718) February (1600) March (915) April (222) May (296) June (332) July (691) August (774) September (590) October (858) November (557) December (922)|
|2011:||January (381) February (466) March (474) April (709) May (380) June (520) July (853) August (198) September (289) October (698) November (292) December (440)|
|2012:||January (235) February (383) March (474) April (263) May (560) June (235) July (176) August (277) September (299) October (223) November (131) December (248)|
|2013:||January (192) February (162) March (190) April (249) May (177) June (379) July (195) August (512) September (333) October (256) November (318) December (534)|
Brian has always been a bit of a nonbeliever in The Secret. He believes in it more now, but he used to make fun of me for being completely convinced that it works. But then, how else would you explain all the great things that happen to us?
While at the Customer Experience and Touch Point Mapping meeting last week, we were introduced to Chevreul’s Pendulum. I never could prove The Secret to Brian until this exercise. As soon as we did it, I thought to myself, “This is it. This is exactly how The Secret works!” I couldn’t wait to show Brian.
This is a photo of him giving it a try. If you’ve never tried this before, let me know. It’s amazing. If you are unfamiliar with The Secret, check out the video below. You probably think I’m nuts, but it really works. I promise!
There’s a customer experience revolution taking place at work and it’s very exciting. I spent a couple of days in Topeka with thirty some of the most brilliant people who are committed to enhancing customer experience across all touch points throughout our organization. Real changes are taking place. It’s a long time coming and I’m really honored to be part of history in the making.
Roy Barnes facilitated our two-day customer experience touch point mapping exercise. I remember hearing him talk about customer experience for the first time at the AGA EEI Conference in Fort Worth a couple of years ago. His talk was captivating. He basically put into words what I’ve felt we were missing. As I sat in the audience mesmerized by the ideas presented, I remember thinking “I wish this guy would talk to the people I work with.”
As luck would have it, Amy was tasked with organizing our group training that year and she hired Roy Barnes to present on customer experience. Fast forward to now and Roy has talked to dozens of people at my work and we’re now in the process of mapping our touch points and creating a consistent customer experience that lives up to our customer experience intent statement throughout our organization. I am beyond excited to be part of this endeavor.
It makes me think of when we met with the Starwood execs and showed them our call center almost two years ago. At the time they were still trying to decide between a handful of cities for their next call center location. It meant a lot for the Wichita community because it meant hundreds of jobs. Today they’re not just established in Wichita, they employ over four hundred people including my sister and brother-in-law. I am moved at the thought that I was part of that.
I hope to look back years from now and say, “I was part of that transformation.” I was there the day that we made that step to change the way we do business. The say we declared our intent.
Anyway, for those of you who aren’t sure what this customer experience mumbo jumbo is that I’m talking about, here’s a video that pretty much sums up why this is important. This video by NICE Systems sums up what’s going on in the customer experience realm right now. This is basically a small part of what we’re talking about.
Our objective is to map all of our customer touch points and put a strategy in place to ensure that we deliver an experience that lives up to our customer intent statement across the board, in every customer interaction and every touch point. It’s a tall order but we’re going to make it happen. And, I’m going to be part of this revolution.
Here are some photos from Gina Ann’s 80s themed birthday party. Click the left and right arrows to browse the photos.
She sure knows how to throw a party!
To celebrate our team’s 2013 results, we decided to have a team building day. Amy organized a fun day that started out with a few hours of volunteer work at the Kansas Food Bank and concluded with lunch and bowling at The Alley.
We worked on a couple of different tasks at the Kansas Food Bank. Our first task was to box up some food items. They set up an assembly line for us and we each had our stations. Each box started out empty and ended up filled with all sorts of stuff — pasta, cornbread mix, mashed potatoes, canned goods, jelly, pasta, oatmeal, etc.
This is an example of one of the completed boxes. Josh and Chad were at the end of the line taping each box shut. It worked out really well and we ran out of one of the items before long and had to stop after that.
We got a short break after that before starting our next activity — packaging and boxing up cereal — so we all ended up trotting over the the Donut Whole. Several of my coworkers hadn’t been there before.
After our break we returned to complete our next volunteer activity. This group photo was taken after we finished.
Our next stop was The Alley for lunch and bowling.
I bowled pretty decently but not well enough to beat Amy. She was the one to beat on Friday. Isaac was a good sport and didn’t pout about it.
Hashtag, we had a really fantastic day of team building.
When I joined Adventurous Babes Society last year, I had no idea it would actually lead to adventures and meeting cool women. Mostly I joined because I wanted to get one of the cool purple t-shirts (they are very high quality, by the way) and that’s the only way to get one. Actually, my friend Ethel told me about it and I’m impressionable and impulsive and will join anything that sounds like a good idea so I did.
It’s a lot like what happened with Zumba. I became a ZIN member to get discounts on Zumba gear. LOL.
Anyway, I’d been sitting on my membership for months now and hadn’t actually participated on an adventure until recently. Normally, I’m not able to attend events because I’m either at work or working out or teaching Zumba. The other day I happened to see that one of the other ABS members couldn’t make one of the adventures so she was giving up her ticket. It worked out perfect because I was on a brief break from working out because I fell ill (quite suddenly) on Wednesday. And as suddenly as it had come, it was gone. Literally, I had 100 degree fever one day and was back to 97.6 temp within 24 hours. I didn’t want to miss any work though, so I suspect that I just willed myself well. Mind over matter, so to speak.
I wasn’t taking any chances, though. My plan was to lay off working out Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday so I could be well enough to teach my Zumba classes on Saturday. The doctor, who just happened to be checking my ankle on Thursday afternoon, agreed it was a good plan.
I spent a lot of time waiting around in the examination room so that’s when I found out that there was a seat available at the Death by Chocolate preview adventure. Death by Chocolate is an annual fundraising event at the Exploration Place. As with most adventures, I wanted to do this one but I didn’t sign up because I would normally be at Zumba on Thursday night. As luck would have it, the stars aligned. I was off workouts and a seat happened to become available. I found myself at my very first ABS adventure, just like that. This was a great one to start off with too because it didn’t require any physical activity. LOL.
All we had to do was sample these delicious gluten free confections by Cravings Gluten Free Bakery and provide feedback in preparation for their participation in Death by Chocolate. Such hard work, I know!
Everything you see in the photo above was gluten free. That’s not the amazing part. The amazing part is that everything was delicious! I usually don’t have high expectations for gluten free foods, but you couldn’t tell these creations were gluten free at all. In fact, it was hard for me to pick a favorite because everything tasted great. When we went around to tell the group what we liked best, I picked one of the cake balls with pop rocks because all of the items equally tasted good to me and I’d never had pop rocks before. I was so amused by the sounds they made as I was eating them. Oh, and I picked the white cake balls instead of the dark ones because they made louder popping sounds as I was eating them. I didn’t want to tell everyone that I’d never had pop rocks before, though. I didn’t want them to think I was silly. Everyone has tried pop rocks before. Well, everyone except me it seemed. Until last night, of course.
Anyway, I had a wonderful time tasting some delicious gluten free goodies and meeting some truly amazing women. I can’t believe I waited so long to join an adventure. I’m thinking now that I really need to make time and squeeze more adventures into my busy schedule. My next one is the Let’s Dance adventure on March 9. I am so looking forward to attending!
In the meantime, Death by Chocolate is on March 8. Best of luck to the Cravings team. I hope you guys win!
For more information about the Adventurous Babes Society and to join, simply visit their web site. Use Ching Brubaker as a referral and I get a free baseball cap after three new members! You don’t know what you’re missing out on!
I had so much fun at Paint the Towne with my coworkers last month that I wanted to share the experience with Brian. April suggested we do the couples painting event on Valentines Day. I wasn’t sure that people would go for it, but I managed to round up six other couples (besides us and the Phelpi) who were game.
I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised. After celebrating over a decade of Valentines I was open to doing something different. I guess others were as well.
Our group consisted of (from left) the Smiths (Chad and Laura), the Holts (Stacy and Cari), the Rheas (Leo and Tammie), the Phelpi (Cory and April), the Wirtzes (Aaron and Reby), the Richardsons (Brandon and Amy), the Farmers (Brian and Sherii), and of course us (Flip and Ching).
Here are some more photos from Friday night.
Our painting is supposed to match, but Brian wouldn’t cooperate. LOL.
Other couples fared better I think.
We took breaks to snack while we waited for paint to dry.
We also took time to admire each other’s handiwork.
These two were so lovey dovey all night.
They were the most harmonious couple of all.
This is Sherii painting on her husband’s canvas while he wasn’t looking.
People really got into painting.
Brian did too. I’m so glad I got to share this experience with him.
Here’s a picture of our group as we were just getting started.
We saw the Rheas and the Farmers again the following night at the 20th Annual Wichita Heart Ball, a gala benefitting the American Heart Association.
Before I share more pictures of people, here are some pictures of the food that we got to enjoy last night.
The tables were set in the most elegant way and all of the food looked and tasted great. I enjoyed everything, even the asparagus.
Here’s a photo of us in front of the red carpet and a selfie during dinner.
Here’s post-dinner photo of our group: (from left) the Heitkotters, the Shermans, the Rheas, the Farmers, and us. The dinner was great but the company was fantastic. I couldn’t think of a better group of people to hang with at the gala.
As if the decadent desserts weren’t enough, they had chocolate fountains at the event also for our post-dinner snacking enjoyment.
Here’s a photo of Sherii, Tammie, and me as we enjoyed our drinks and the live music. There wasn’t really much room to dance. Mostly I just wanted the silent auction to close to see how much damage we’d done to our bank account. LOL.
Here’s a couple of official event photos.
A selfie of Brian because he just couldn’t help himself.
Our neighbors Raj and Shilpa were co-chairs of the event.
Here’s my favorite photo of me from last night.
Here’s my favorite photo of Brian from last night.
Doesn’t he look absolutely amazing in his tuxedo? And to think that he resisted the idea at first. When I initially told him that we got tickets to the Heart Ball, I conveniently left off optional and told him that the event was strictly black tie. He wanted to wear his black suit with a black tie — I guess to satisfy the “black tie” requirement. LOL. I insisted that he wear a tuxedo not just so he’d fit in at the part but also because I haven’t seen him in a tuxedo since our wedding and I’d been dying to see him in one.
He reluctantly went to the store with me but immediately warmed up to idea after trying on a tux. All it took was seeing how sophisticated and handsome he looked in one. He saw his dashing selection in the mirror and there was no turning back. The guy who didn’t want to wear tuxedo now wants to wear his tux everywhere. I’ve created a monster. He’s actually thinking of wearing his tux to National Sales Meeting in a couple of months. That’s going to throw some people for a loop for sure. All of his coworkers will be wondering why he’s so dressed up. They’ll be like, “What’s up with Brubaker? Is he getting an award or something?” LOL.
Anyway, now that we’ve got our weekend recap out of the way, you’re probably wondering what Brian got me for Valentines Day. I’m not really the roses, chocolates, or jewelry kind of girl. You’re talking about someone who got six personal training sessions for Brian on my 35th birthday. For Valentines Day I wanted to see my husband in a tuxedo and that’s exactly what I got. Actually, he far exceeded my expectations. Last night I felt like I was with the sexiest man at the ball. I felt so special — like the luckiest girl in the world. Not only is my husband caring, smart, funny, and thoughtful, he’s good looking to boot. He is the whole package. And, he looks amazing in a tuxedo. Now to work on his British accent.
I’ve gotten behind on blogging of late because of our hectic schedule.
Here are some pictures from the YMCA Bowl-a-thon, a fundraising event benefitting the YMCA Annual Campaign.
This is our team photo. From left: Stephanie, Sasha, Kristen, Ching, and Arin. The cute kid is Arin’s little boy Briley.
I bowled terribly that night but had a great time anyway. Thank you so much to everyone who donated money and supported the event. Your generous contribution makes a huge difference for our community.
All of the things you see in the video above would not be possible without your support. Thank you!
The A319 is my favorite commercial plane. I realized this after flying on four different models of commercial planes on my recent trip to Los Angeles.
Flying economy is a lot more bearable when you have your own individual TV screen.
I took advantage of mine and watched an Elton John concert.
My most favorite part of the A319 is the power outlets in the back of the seats. You don’t have to reach under your seat to find an outlet now. And, it’s a real power outlet. Not one of those 12V adapter outlets.
Or, better yet, there are a couple of USB ports on the bottom of the TV screen. So you can just plug your phone directly to it using your USB cord. You don’t even need to dig out your power cable.
This is awesome because if you’re using your mobile device during the flight (which you can do now) it’s going to run out of juice. Well, now that you can plug it in during the flight, that’s no longer an issue. So read your ebooks, listen your music, watch you videos, and play away.
The only down side is that not all commercial planes come equipped with these features. So far I’ve only come across them on the A319. This plane didn’t have them.
I told Brian that I wished that in the future I could book my flights based on the model of airplane I’ll be flying in. I’d pick an A319 every time.
This dinner was 20+ years in the making so it was only fitting that we went to a fancy schmancy restaurant. Oh, yes. Only the finest for my dear Jane.
Here are some pictures of our food.
The spreads are tasty, but the bread got cold too quickly.
This is a picture of Jane’s filet.
Jane’s baked potato.
My chicken, which was surprisingly very good. But for the price, it better have been. LOL. I think I could feed 4 people at Applebee’s for the price of that piece of chicken.
This is the most delicious sautéed spinach I have ever tasted. I don’t know what Jane thought of her dinner, but I was very, very happy with the food that I ordered. My food was so good that the price didn’t even bother me and you all know how much of a cheapskate I am. LOL.
The dessert was great too. In the middle of our meal, our server asked if we wanted dessert because they had one particular dessert that takes 20 minutes to make. When she gave us our options, that was the exact one that we wanted. I told her the 20 minutes didn’t bother us because we’ve waited 20+ years to see each other. Twenty measly minutes is nothing.
The last time I saw Jane was March 1993. That’s when my family moved from Las Piñas (a city located in the island of Luzon in the Philippines) to Colorado. Jane moved to the US in 2000 but we never had the opportunity to see each other until now. It’s funny because our mutual friend Sheryll only lived in the US for three years or so and yet I saw her four times. Jane has been in the US for 14 years and this is the first time we’d gotten together.
I initially planned to take her to dinner at Yard House because their food is familiar to me. There’s one at Legends that I’ve dined at a few times and I really like it. The prices are pretty reasonable. I planned to buy dinner so that was a factor.
My friends who attended the Zumba Conference with me wanted to go to dinner before the theme party on Saturday night. We initially thought we would go to Fleming’s but then nixed the idea after seeing the prices. Everything is a la carte so the cost of dinner would add up really quickly. After considering our other options, we ended up at Yard House where I had originally planned to take my friend Jane. Anyway, it worked out for the best because, out of all our restaurant options at LA Live and Nokia Plaza, Yard House seemed to have the best vegetarian selections. One of the women I traveled to the conference with is a vegetarian.
That meant no Yard House on Sunday night. Jane wanted steak so that really only left one place: Fleming’s. Oh, irony! LOL. I was trying to be cheap on Saturday night and managed to avoid Fleming’s only to end up there the next night when I was actually footing the bill. The universe is funny that way.
Of course, the food was really good and I hadn’t seen Jane in over 20 years so it was totally worth it. Don’t ask how much it was, though. It actually cost more per person than our dinner at Duck City. At least there we got appetizers and soups (the best soup ever) and I think Lance even had a glass of wine. I don’t think Brian and I have even come close. Well, maybe once. LOL.
I hope Jane knows how truly special she is to me. She managed to get her cheapskate friend to buy a really expensive dinner and spring for an extra night at the JW Marriott at LA (also not cheap) just to make dinner happen. And, what a delightful dinner it was. I had a great time catching up. Hopefully, it won’t take another 20 years for us to get together again.