Last night some people were clubbing, partying, hanging out at the mall with friends, at the movies, or at home just chillin’ while there were a few working. At the Labor Party ideas were getting pitched.
I dropped my little sister Kira off at her house around nine o’clock or so, after we went home to let Molly out and feed her, then dinner at Panda Express, and after we finished painting our projects at Color Me Mine. I can’t post pictures of our projects because they are presents and we wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.
Anyway, I was already downtown so I decided to check on my dreamer husband who was participating in Startup Weekend. He’s a dreamer who is always coming up with ideas. He registered for the event kind of at the last minute at a friend’s recommendation and encouragement. Of course, I was super excited because I’d always wanted to attend myself but have always been so busy. This way I actually get to be in two places at once because I’m experiencing Startup Weekend through Brian. I know it’s not the same but, given how hectic my schedule is, this is as good as it’s going to get for me right now.
When I arrived they had already completed the pitches process and were just about to form teams. Brian’s idea wasn’t one of the top four concepts. He’s a dreamer who needs talented people to work on his idea. With the limited number of technically skilled participants, many people were gravitating towards the top ideas. I think he was bummed that he couldn’t work on his startup. He pretty much just hung out with me and filled me in. This was not acceptable. If I’m going to be vicariously living Startup Weekend through Brian, he needs to work on a project even if it’s not his own.
The facilitator and I finally convinced Brian to join a team. The team already had four or five members prior to Brian. I feel really bad for the team he joined too for the sequence of events that followed.
So he joins the team and they’re talking about their project, etc. I’m just kind of hanging out, observing the initial stages of team formation. Then Brian asked me to come to their table so I can listen in as the team commenced discussing their concept and planning everything they need to do.
As I’m sitting at the table, trying desperately to stay out of the way, I see the flip chart with the PLTW idea. As you know, I was super impressed with the Engineering Academy kids at West High that PLTW now holds a special place in my heart. I was like, “That’s an idea that I’d like to work on. Who’s working on that?”
The guy who pitched the idea eventually wanders off to our table so I turn my attention away from the team that Brian’s working with so I can learn more about the PLTW idea which I was really excited about. There is a female engineer who offered to work on the idea with the originator but there’s just the two of them. They didn’t have a team. I told them, “This is an idea that I would really like to work on but I’m busy this weekend. If you want to work on it in the weeks or months to come, then I definitely want to help and be part of it.”
Between the three of us, we had an idea that we were passionate about but had no team. I wasn’t even registered to participate in Startup Weekend. I was merely a spectator. LOL. This is when I discovered something important: one person can make a difference.
If they wanted to continue working on the PLTW idea outside of Startup Weekend, I told them I would help round up resources. Even though I have no technical skills to contribute — I’m not a graphic designer, programmer, engineer, or web developer — I was absolutely certain I could round up some people with the necessary skills. Not over the weekend, but we would get it done.
When I latch on to something that ignites my passion, I have a difficult time restraining myself because I have so much enthusiasm and energy. That can be both powerful and scary. Just ask Brian. Within a few minutes of sitting their table, I managed to jack everything up. Their team switched gears and they’re now working on the PLTW project instead of the food porn idea.
One of my reservations about participating in Startup Weekend is that I really have nothing to offer a startup. At least Brian is a dreamer and has lots of ideas. I have no startup ideas. I’m a joiner with no ideas of my own. The one thing I am is a collector of hobbies and experiences. I want to participate in everything life has to offer and I specially relish opportunities to support causes that I’m passionate about.
However, after last night, I realized that I can use my energy and enthusiasm to rally people around an idea. Maybe there is a place for people like me in Startup Weekend after all. Every team needs a joiner.
Did I ever show you guys some pictures of the super awesome mug that I painted at Color Me Mine a few weeks ago?
I was a little worried about how it would turn out because it didn’t look like much when I was painting it. It didn’t look quite right and I had to erase some mess ups which I didn’t successfully get to disappear. However, they’re not noticeable now.
Also, if you think the rim is weird, it’s because I meant for the outside to be red and the inside to be gray. However, I couldn’t get the rim straight enough. Each time I tried to make my line straighter, it would only get more crooked. I kept trying to fix it and painted red deeper and deeper into the inside of the mug. I finally had to just force myself to stop otherwise I would have painted the inside red as well. LOL.
The painting process strained my anal retentive OCD tendencies but I am thrilled with the finished product. I can’t wait to go back and make a mug for Brian. I’m thinking of making one for grandma also. I’m so hooked that everyone might just get a personal creation from me for Christmas.
My dad recently found a hole under the concrete slab that his AC rests on behind his house. He couldn’t figure out what had been digging that hole. It could be anything. Rather than speculating, he put a camera down the hole and captured video. It wasn’t in there and there burrow had no clues as to what kind of animal had been using the hole for shelter. The animal did not come back while dad’s camera was in the burrow.
Dad removed the camera and filled the hole up. As soon as that happened the animal returned and there’s the hole again. It drove dad crazy not knowing what he was dealing with so he did what any resourceful Pinoy would do. He didn’t want to have to buy an outdoor camera so he rigged his Foscam for outdoor use. Not only that, he set up the monitoring features so he could watch from his PC and he also set up the camera to auto-record using motion detection. Here are some pictures of his outdoor camera contraption.
Pretty clever, right?
He mounted the rig to a stick staked to the ground and pointed the camera right at the hole. Sure enough he got the perpetrator on video. He posted the video on his Facebook wall but I’m not sure how to share it with you guys because of the privacy settings.
Turns out, a skunk has been making a home under that concrete slab. I suggested calling Animal Control but it seems like dad is having too much fun playing cat and mouse with the skunk. Now he wants to build some kind of one-way door so that when the skunk leaves the hole it can’t get back in. Seriously.
For those of you who someday find yourself in this predicament, there are a couple of options: (1) make a trap, or (2) call Animal Control. I’m a proponent of the latter myself because it’s less hassle. If you are like my dad though, then you think it’s fun to rig things. I’m guessing there will be people out there who will go for the first option. However, think about what you’re going to do after you capture it. How are you going to release it into the wild without getting sprayed? And where are you going to release it? I say go with the second option all the way.
If you are not yet in this predicament and want to avoid it, here are some suggestions.
- Don’t plant fruit-bearing trees. If it’s too late and you already have trees that produce nuts, berries, crabapples, or other fruits, remember rake your yard often so the goodies don’t tempt critters to come over and feast on your lawn.
- Protect your waste. Don’t leave your trash bin out except on trash day. If there’s no room in your garage and the trash bin has to be outside, make sure that it is securely fastened so the smell doesn’t attract skunks and other critters.
- Close off hiding places. Use rocks, fencing, plywood, etc. to close off any potential hiding places. If you have unkempt bushes and vegetation around your house, make sure these are trimmed so as not to appear so appealing to wild animals.
- Install yard lights. Nocturnal creatures such as skunks don’t like bright lights so this may be a suitable and attractive deterrent. Lights with motion detection will probably be most effective because it will trick the animal into thinking someone’s there.
- Use chemical warfare. Okay, not in the grand World War III scale. Skunks don’t like ammonia so soaking rags with ammonia and placing it in potential hiding places is an option. Scattering orange or lemon peels around your property, specifically under your deck or porch is a good option also.
- Install motion-activated sprinklers. If you have the resources and really want to keep critters out, this is another alternative. It’s a nice surprise for two-legged unwanted visitors also. LOL.
I hope you find these tips helpful. I’ll keep you posted on my dad’s adventures.
About a month ago I decided to embark on my first MLM business. Brian was completely against it because he grew up watching his mom try several of these ventures (Avon, Mary Kay, etc.) with limited or no success. He didn’t want to see me throw money at some new project only to watch me fail at it months later. Plus, he has this perception that all MLM businesses are pyramid schemes.
My friend Darcy at work kind of holds the same views. When I was telling her about it — and I can’t help but get excited because the products (jewelry, bags, scarves, etc.) are amazing — she just shook her head with disapproval. I got to the part where I was telling her how I have the opportunity to make even more money when other “stylists” (as we are called) sign up underneath me. She was like, “So it is like a pyramid scheme!” While there is a sort of pyramid structure that naturally happens when new stylists sign up under you and other stylists sign up under them, the term “pyramid scheme” just sounds so negative. It implies that there is little to no added value in the endeavor when in fact there is. I absolutely love Stella & Dot jewelry. The quality of the items are better than most name brand products and their customer service is out of this world. Seriously. I am always delighted to contact them.
I didn’t really expect much out of this new venture. I decided to become a stylist mostly because I love the jewelry and wanted to be able to purchase them at half off. It’s a lot like how I got started with Zumba really. A couple of years ago I became a ZIN (Zumba Instructor Network) member just to get discounts on Zumba gear and also to get Zumba music. I originally had no intention of actually teaching Zumba. An opportunity to teach Zumba for the city of Wichita came up and I took on the the challenge a few weeks after getting my Zumba license. It helped me cover my monthly ZIN costs. It didn’t cover the money I was spending on workout clothes, shoes, and other Zumba gear or other expenses (such as conventions and conferences) but in my mind I’m actually saving money because I would buy these things anyway. As a ZIN I’m actually getting them at a discounted rate. Fast forward to today… I teach Zumba for the Greater Wichita YMCA (I gave up my class at Evergreen Recreation Center for several reasons but the biggest reason is that it’s just too far of a drive; however, I can still sub for the city whenever someone needs me to fill in). I would never have realized that I had a talent for teaching Zumba classes and a passion for bringing people a joyful and enjoyable workout had it not been for my Zumba gear shopping problem. Sometimes things just end up working out the way they’re supposed to…
But I digress… Brian and Darcy’s perspective that I somehow got roped into some kind of pyramid scheme wasn’t very uplifting so I really had no expectations whatsoever with this whole Stella & Dot business. I was quite shocked at the success of my launch party. I earned hundreds of dollars of free jewelry just from the trunk show orders and I still have a few more orders trickling in from work.
I was so worried that no one would show up for my launch party trunk show. I had attended several parties of all kinds in the past for various friends but I’d never had the desire to host a party of my own because I was always worried that no one would show up. I didn’t want to be the loser who had two friends at her party. I wasn’t even concerned about making any sales. I just needed bodies.
I had a few cancellations the day of the party so I was a bit nervous. Brian, the supportive husband that he is, offered to cater my event. I asked him not to make so much food because I was worried that I wouldn’t have any guests to feed. My friend Misty who was initially calling to cancel because she hurt her ankle the day before could sense my concern over the phone. She actually came over despite her injury. Not only that, she actually placed an order. God bless her!
Brian is convinced that the reason my launch party did so well is because of his food. I guess since people knew he was making food they decided it was worth the trip. LOL.
Seriously though, I have the most amazing friends. The launch party wouldn’t have been a success without them. And, I can’t believe I got all of those orders. They added up really quickly and got me awesome hostess rewards such as 50% OFF four times in addition to over $250 of free jewelry. My sponsor/upline Amanda was impressed.
I actually credit Amanda for the success of my party also. Because of a fiasco with USPS, who delivered my package to the wrong address, I hardly had any samples to display. Thankfully Amanda brought all of her beautiful jewelry.
Check out her display compared to mine below.
I’m so glad Amanda talked me into hosting a launch party. Between Brian’s delicious catering, Amanda’s wonderful trunk show display/presentation, and my awesome friends my Stella & Dot business is off to a great start!
BTW, shipping is so fast that everyone who ordered during the launch party (except for Kate because the earrings she picked were so popular that they’re on backorder) received their items on Thursday.
By Friday Faith and I were sporting our Stella & Dot jewelry.
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.
Brian got these 70s era Star Wars blueprints from his dad several years ago. We finally pulled them out of storage recently because we wanted to use them to decorate the office. We had this crazy idea to get all of our favorites framed so we could hang them in the office. We had no idea that custom framing would cost so much.
Well, we kind of knew because we had some prints framed at Hobby Lobby several years ago, but I guess we’d forgotten. LOL.
We went to Michael’s this time because I found a 60% coupon for custom framing. Except, even with the coupon it was super expensive. As in, each frame was going to cost over $160 even after the discount. As many as we needed done, it was going to cost almost a grand for what we were trying to do.
We actually paid for the first two prints and everything. The nice lady at Michael’s said it would take a couple of weeks, which meant the prints would be ready while we were in Orlando. Anyway, as we were on our way out, I noticed that they were having a buy one get one sale on most of their frames. This got me thinking, why are we going to spend a grand framing these blueprints when we can do it ourselves for a fraction of the cost? So it’s not masterpiece glass? So what? The prints are just going to hang in the office anyway. Not like they’re gong to be on display in the living room.
So after buyer’s remorse kicked in, we went back to the custom framing area, apologized to the lady for being so flaky, and asked for a refund. We used $80 of the $320 to get four large frames and two smaller ones. We got a deal on those too because I had a 20% off everything (including sale items) coupon also. I’m Asian and I’m frugal. I’m all about coupons. LOL.
Here are some pictures of Brian hanging the freshly framed blueprints.
We did it the cheap way, but the prints look just fine.
These are the four big ones on the East wall.
The R2-D2 blueprint is framed by itself because of its orientation and, well, it’s R2-D2.
R2-D2 deserves to be in his own special frame. LOL.
The other blueprint that we framed separately is the mobquet landspeeder.
We didn’t originally plan to frame this one but we had an extra frame because of the BOGO offer. LOL. Anyway, I liked this one the best out of all the other blueprints that were left. So what do you guys think?
Personally, I think our office decor fits our nerdy personalities perfectly. I’m really happy with how the blueprints turned out. I’m even happier that we came to our senses and didn’t spend more than $80 on the whole project.
I did a presentation to a bunch of strangers (by strangers I mean people who are outside of our organization) for the first time via webinar. I hadn’t done that before. Thankfully my topic was something I was very familiar with — our quality assurance program at work (my area of responsibility).
Apparently I did a good job because I got this message from one of the First Quartile folks later that day. My work stresses me out sometimes, but it also makes me feel good. Compliments are always nice.
Last week was pretty much “presentation week” for me because the day before the First Quartile Community Insights Conference webinar I had to present at our Customer Care Quarterly Management Meeting also. Presentations are not my strength so I was pretty stressed about it, as you can imagine. So stressed that Brian and I found ourselves at the Nifty Nut House over our lunch break later that week.
While there I decided to get some treats for my team.
They all got little bags of chocolate rocks because they’re rock stars. Yeah, I’m nerdy like that. Have you ever had the chocolate rocks at Nifty Nut House? They’re yummy!
I saw this video on YouTube and Brian saw some how-tos on Pinterest for how to turn wine bottles into oil lamps so we decided to start collecting all of our used wine bottles. We have at least a dozen of them now.
One of the cooler used bottles in our collection was our bottle of Midnight Moon moonshine. Thanks to Jay for bringing it over to one of our parties.
We couldn’t find the exact materials that we need but we improvised. We purchase two copper reducers and inserted the smaller into the larger one to create a neck for the wick. Brian used teflon tape to ensure that there is a snug fit between our bottle and the neck that holds the wick. We bought a big jug of citronella tiki torch fuel for our oil. And, voila! We have our moonshine oil lamp.
Brian is going to get some more materials today so that we can convert our empty Grand Marnier bottle into another oil lamp. I think it will look really cool.
What do you think?
The Christmas tree at the Manhattan Hilton Garden Inn gave a serious case of tree envy. It looked like it was easily over twenty feet and there wasn’t an unadorned inch.
The tree that I’d been working on at home looked completely naked by comparison. I was tempted to go to Michael’s this morning to pick up some more ornaments. LOL.
Speaking of Christmas decorations, Brian and I were inspired by this wine-themed Christmas tree that we saw at Von Maur today. We’re totally doing one next year!
We had a productive day yesterday. Then again, days are likely to go better when you start out with mimosas. Too bad we can’t do this everyday. LOL.
We like to use Korbel Sweet Rosé in our mimosas for three reasons: it’s sweet, it gives the mimosas a pretty pinkish tint, and, best of all, it’s cheap.
For breakfast we had rice, sausage patties, eggs, mimosas, and Saturday morning cartoons — a winning combination. And, by the way, it was the season premiere of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
I went to teach my Zumba class that morning, which only consisted of two other people besides me yesterday because there was so much going on. There were several fund raising events like Race for the Cure and Dancing for Sonya, just to name a couple. Lucky for me, Jenni was one of the two people who came so she drove me home. Since Brian didn’t have to come back and pick me up, he managed to get a head start on the garage clean up.
Although, I can never leave this guy unsupervised. He managed to break the high-pressure washer that dad loaned us. When he told me what happened, I urged him to call dad immediately and tell him what happened. My thought was that surely, this has happened to dad and he knows how to make it work again. But, in the back of my mind, I’m also thinking, “They’re never going to loan us anything ever again.” LOL.
I was like, “Great. Now we’re going to have to buy him a new high-pressure washer for Christmas.” So much for getting off cheaply this holiday season.
Anyway, Brian told me that dad said he had a feeling it might have been broken when he loaned it to us because it was leaking some oil. I was like, “Nice. And he didn’t bother to warn us about it maybe going tits up on us? What a jerk!” Bwa ha ha ha ha! Just kidding, dad! You know I love you.
The garage looks so much better now that almost everything has been sorted and organized. I say “almost” because Brian still has a couple of large plastic storage containers of stuff that he needs to go through. We had one plastic tub full when we moved from the old house to the townhouse and it never got sorted or looked at. We had to move the same plastic tub, in the same condition, from the townhouse to the new house and now we have another full plastic container in the same situation. I told him, I’m going to nag him every few months until we go through the stuff and sort what we need to keep from what we need to toss. I’ll be darned if I’m moving those storage containers again the next time we move. Blech.
On a brighter note, I’m really glad that we finally got around to organizing the garage because now we can park the truck inside too. We should have done this a long time ago because, as you can see, the Flip and Ching mobile suffered extensive hail damage due to our negligence and laziness. Okay, we’re not really negligent or lazy, we are just really busy people. Either way, sorry Crichton!
The garage is looking pretty good, though. I’m happy with how it turned out. Even though, Brian is yet to get some Versatrack to hang the bikes and the tools and free up some more garage floor space for us (for my future Zumba studio – he he).
We did so well yesterday that Brian even had time for a brief nap before we went to Old Town Square for Zumba. Of course, he was rewarded with yummy Caffe Moderne after. He is such a fantastic husband! Oh, and a really good looking one (according to Nick, who didn’t realize that Brian is almost 40 — he really thought Brian’s only in his late twenties). I am one lucky woman!