Friday, October 24, 2008

Walmart Social Media

Josh Benoff posted a great blog entry about Walmart's latest Social Media efforts. Check it out. Rockfish Interactive (the company I work for, in case you didn't know) has had the privlege of partnering with Walmart to create the Checkout Blog and the Elevenmoms Community.

It has been fun to watch Walmart jump into the conversations, particularly from an agency perspective. Beginning Monday, I will get an all new perspective of everything going on in Walmart Marketing & Communications. I will be moving my desk inside the Home Office walls to help out the Digital Marketing team for the next 90 days. It will be a great experience to jump on the bandwagon and drink the Kool-Aid for a few months. More details to come...stay tuned! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Memory Lane

Tomorrow Nathan and I are headed back to O-State for Homecoming. This will be our first trip back to campus in about 2 years. I never thought I would be so nostalgic about my alma mater, but I am so excited to be going back. The Cowboys are undefeated and ranked #8 right now - it's been many years since we've had such a great season. (Of course, we still have Texas and OU waiting in the wings...)

So, in honor of my upcoming trip down memory lane I have posted a few of my favorite college memories:

This was our dorm window Homecoming 2005, I think. I was President of the dorm and we had a window decorating contest. Nathan did the OSU - I did the Poka Dots...

One of the houses Homecoming display from Homecoming 2005 - a photo does not do it justice.

My small group gals in front at Walkaround during Homecoming - aw, I miss these girls! (And of course, I ruined the picture by being ridiculous!)

I heart JT!

And finally, our beautiful library on campus...and my long hair. *sigh* Those were the days!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Nathan's first book!

We got a portfolio copy of Nathan's first book that he designed this week - and it is amazing! I am so proud of him.

The authors gave Nathan a ton of praise for this book. Each page has a unique scrapbook-style design. I am amazed at his creativity - it turned out so great. You can purchase your copy at here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

High Fructose Corn Syrup?

I've seen a couple of these commercials advertising that high fructose corn syrup is ok for you as long as you have it in moderation. Definitely an industry campaign to counter the constant borage of negative press around the ingredient.

Tonight on the Biggest Loser, trainer Bob began one of the many product placement messages that are mingled in the show. His opening line, "Avoid foods with high fructose corn syrup." Nathan and I couldn't help but laugh at the mixed messages we heard in a single 1 hour period. Perhaps running these ads during The Biggest Loser hour was not the best marketing choice. Personally, I'm going with trainer Bob on this one. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Savannah, Georgia

It has been a long while since my last post - how sad. Nathan and I just returned from an amazing weekend in Savannah, Georgia. We arrived Friday evening in time for a wonderful dinner at River House Seafood, located directly on the Savannah River. We were picked up after our dinner for a private carriage ride, where we learned all about Savannah history. We stayed at the Hamilton-Turner Inn on Lafeyette Square. The house was gorgeous - the first in Savannah to get electricity! Saturday we were greeted with an amazing breakfast of Georgia Peach French Toast and then set off to explore the shops. We were able to go by Paula Dean's Lady and Sons, although the line was much too long to waste our only full day standing around. But it was neat to see regardless. We spent the afternoon enjoying the weather out in Lafeyette square, Nathan enjoying a cigar and me catching up on my most recent book. Saturday night we went to our dear friends Jamie & Josh's wedding at another local mansion. It was great wedding with an open bar, which always makes things a little bit more enjoyable. :) Sadly we had to return on Sunday, but we are already planning our return!

So if you are looking for a great weekend getaway, we highly recommend visiting Savannah, GA. You can check out pictures of our stay here

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Life as an Adult

Two ways I know that I am exhausted
1) When I went to get into my car today after work, I noticed that the lock looked broken. Then my key wouldn't unlock the door and the bag of stuff to return to Dillards on my backseat was missing. Then I saw a package on the floor and my immediate thought was "Someone has broken into my car and left their pot!" I was on the phone with my sister at the time and walked her through all of my hysteria - until I saw the iPod on the console and realized that it wasn't my car.
2) My husband said hello to me and I replied, "Hi, Pootz," which is the nickname I call my dog. 

I think I need sleep. The first week on the job has been good but extremely tiring. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Favor the Personal

I was astounded as I stood in line at a local department store, waiting somewhat impatiently for the clerk to help me. I stood in line, the sole person vying for her attention, for about 15 minutes while the clerk continued to take several phone calls in favor of helping me. So what's so astounding about that - it happens all the time! Here's what it is - we have come to favor the impersonal over personal. The clerk was favoring the people who wanted to connect via technology rather than helping the person who took the extra step to come into the store. As I observed this, I realized that it's not just in retail environments that technology seems to interrupt personalized face-to-face interactions. How often have you been having an in-person conversation with someone, only to be "put on hold" for a phone call or text? Or perhaps it's you who does it to others? Why is it that when our phones ring we have an emotional reaction that tells us we are so important that we must see what someone needs from us in that very moment, completely disregarding the people around us? With all the emailing, texting, phoning, IMing, etc, it seems to me that we should take advantage of every opportunity to connect with people face-to-face and develop relationships with co-workers, customers, friends, and family. The best business people, the best friends, the best spouses will be those who learn to favor the personal over the impersonal and remain present in all in-person conversations. 

The moral of the story: Turn your phone on silent, put the phone calls on hold when a customer comes into your store, favor the personal. 

Friday, April 25, 2008

More on the Generations Buzz

Last week I had my final customer program with The Soderquist Center. I coordinated the Spring Milestone at Greystone Estate. It was a neat group of participants that spurred on rich conversation. I had the opportunity to talk with them about my generation. It seems Gen Y is causing quite a commotion as we enter the workforce. I thought I would share a few of my insights here.

Where I've been:
  • I was born in 1984 to loving, Christian parents who are still married today.
  • Until I got married, they were the most important people in my life. They gave me a solid foundation of faith, family, & finances.
  • I did not have to work for my first car, but I did have a 1984 clunker...
  • I got my first email address in the 6th grade. I don't remember life without the Internet.
  • I am 23 and debt-free and do not own a credit card. Not all of us grew up with the "entitlement epidemic." My parents biggest pet peeve was the "ribbon for just participating."
  • I attended Oklahoma State University, got married, went to John Brown University for my MBA through a fellowship at The Soderquist Center and have landed here.
Where I'm going:
  • I don't know. It's that simple. I don't have a 5-year plan. I don't believe in planning your personal life that far out. Don't mis-understand me. I do believe in preparing for 5 years out, but not planning.
  • I am less concerned with what I will be do as I am about who I will be.
What's important to me in a job:
  • Relationships. They are the foundation to any great team. I have to like the people I work with, report to, and interact with on a daily basis.
  • Flexibility. Who said 8-5 are the only productive hours in the day? In a world of endless connectivity, why does an office have to be the only place where work gets done? Simple answer, its not.
  • Growth. I want to be developed and grow in skills and knowledge. I don't mind putting in the extra hours, as long as I'm developing. I want to know where I'm headed.
  • Meaning. I want to know that what I am doing is important. I need to be able to see how my role fits into the bigger picture & success of the company - don't we all?
  • Feedback. This goes back to growth. I can't grow if I don't know what to work on. It's a simple question of "how am I doing?"
Yes, Gen Y is unique - just as every new generation who enters the workforce. We are faced with the same questions and challenges as a new wave of thought & expectations enter corporate America. Instead of constantly grumbling about our differences, though, why not embrace the positive? Why not take advantage of the experience and wisdom of the Baby Boomers while coupling it with the tenacity and creativity of my generation? Seems like win-win to me!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Food for the Soul

Colossians 2:13-15

13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Life Update

The Internet. It's something I use daily, hourly, minutely (is that a word?). Yet I've never quite taken the time to really try to wrap my head around how it actually works. It's kind of like those deep, theological questions that you just can't bring yourself to think about because it just makes your head hurt. Or de ja vu. That one definitely makes my head hurt. After years of using but not quite understanding the World Wide Web, I have found myself immersed in it. I recently accepted a position with a local web development company named Rockfish Interactive. I will be an Interactive Producer for them starting on May 12th, which is a fancy and impressive way of saying Project Manager. So I am spending my free time reading up on Wikipedia about a variety of terms I've heard for years but never quite understood. The very Internet that allows me to publish this blog is a very complex conglomerate of a lot of things I do not understand. There is so much more to it than this pretty interface that I see. It's amazing to think about the minds that saw this, that knew what it could mean for global communications. Fascinating. 

I'm looking forward to joining the team. I've been working with them on the Soderquist website for the past few months and know that I am in for a wild and rewarding ride. Before landing at Rockfish, though, it was a long journey of soul-searching. I interviewed for a variety of positions around NWA - most of which were not culture or lifestyle fits for me. I had my last interview at one company last week that solidified my choice to go to work for Rockfish. During my interview, one of the interviewers brought up a "hot button" - Generational stereotypes. She mentioned that my generation didn't seem to want to work, feel like we are entitled to much more than we're ready for, and won't commit to any company. She then asked me my view of those things. Wow - there is nothing like being blatantly stereotyped to your face. You know what they say when you assume things... I rebuffed her comments by pointing out that some of those issues are age related - not generational - and that there is a greater case for personality differences and individualized management than for generation-wide shifts. I am a Gen Y'er, but I am committed to working hard, don't feel like I've earned anything yet, and will show the same amount of commitment to my employer as they show me. I want to gain experience in a variety of things so I can do the best possible job at whatever I am doing. I was quite offended by her comments to me. Needless to say, I did not take that job. 

In other, brief, news:
  • I officially graduate May 10. My final day at The Soderquist Center will be April 30. It's hard to believe I have been in NWA for 2 whole years!
  • Nathan & I are landscaping our side yard - we are super excited and promise to post pictures of the final results when it's more than just a pile of rocks. 
  • Nathan & I are quickly approaching the 2-year mark. Marriage is best thing this side of heaven.

So that's a brief overview of what's up in my life now, for all my "avid" readers. :) Just keeping up with my blog title - Meanderings!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Lessons from Jackson

The other day my husband and I returned home to find that our precious one-year-old Shih tzu had ravaged a pair of Nathan's underwear. Nathan discovered the evidence as Jackson and I were curling up in bed. He picked up what was left of the garment & asked Jackson calmly, "Jackson, what did you do?" Our sweet pup, realizing that his fault had been found out, immediately turned over onto his back in surrender as if saying, "I know I did wrong - I'm sorry!" Nathan held the evidence closer to drive home the point. Jackson crawled closer to me for protection, fearing that the worst might come - a loud, resounding "No!" He looked back at Nathan, still holding proof of his disobedience. Still hunched close to the ground, Jackson climbed into my lap, begging to be held and forgiven. We have a great dog. How could I not scoop him up and give him some love? He was so meek. 

So often I find myself in the same situation as Jackson, knowing that I did wrong and desperately wanting to climb into my God's lap for comfort and forgiveness. Just as Jackson couldn't hide his disobedience from us, I cannot hide mine from an omniscient God. Time and time again I forego the better things that God has for me to chew on some dirty ol' underwear in the hamper. If I'd only looked past it, I would have seen that God has greater blessings for me! How thankful I am that God continually scoops me up and gives me some love when I just surrender to him. 

I'm not your average employee

When your are eating out on your employer's dollar, do you spend more or less? I would say the average employee is more likely to spend more knowing that they do not have to pay the bill themselves. I am the opposite. I am very mindful when The Soderquist Center is purchasing my meal or anything really. Partially because I work for non-profit where "every little bit counts" but partially because it's not my money to spend. I stopped to ponder whether or not I would spend differently if I worked for a for-profit organization. But high expenses just get passed along to the customer/client. That doesn't sit real well with me either. I am more likely to eat a big steak dinner on my own dollar than that of someone else (except maybe my parents - some habits die hard). 

But as I was discussing this with a co-worker, a thought hit me. I will spend my money frivolously because I know that I am the one it impacts. But that's a lie. The money and possessions that I have are not mine but God's. Now, I do not want to give the wrong impression. Nathan & I are by no means squanderers of our money - but there's always room for improvement. If I would manage my money with as much care and thought that I manage my employers, how much more could God do with it?! Ultimately, it does not just impact me - it impacts the person on the street who desperately needed the $20 that I just spent on a ridiculously portioned meal or the mission trip that I cannot take because I can't seem to give up the latest "must have." God has a bigger purpose for my finances than just my personal pleasure. Granted, I do believe it is biblical to enjoy the fruits of our labor - but I believe true joy comes from giving. Nathan and I daydream about the day that we can go to a restaurant and leave a $100 tip for a deserving waiter. Or meeting the needs of a neighbor by providing the funds that they cannot find. As Dave always says, "Live like no one else so you can live like no one else."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What's next?

Nathan & I went to Kansas City this week for a Renew Retreat that I was coordinating for The Soderquist Center. While we enjoyed our time with each of the couples, it was somewhat bittersweet. This retreat marked my second to last project to coordinate for the Center. It's hard to believe that my time there is almost complete. But I'll save my reminiscent post for another day... Today my thoughts are more on what lies ahead rather than behind. I have my resume in a variety of companies' hands. There are a few jobs that sound like great fits, but nothing solid yet. I have had many interviews, many conversations, a few rejections - those are the hardest. The job-search process is cause for deep soul-searching and faith-testing. I look forward to the future post stating that I have been offered a job and will no longer have to worry about whether the 2 years I spent getting my MBA was worth it! Until then, I remain hopeful & trusting that the right fit for me is out there.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

To Florida and Back

I really am a Southern girl. I enjoy a relaxed pace with time to enjoy life and possibly a glass of tea. This past weekend I visited my sister in Lakeland, Florida, located between Tampa and Orlando. Let me tell you, I am not cut out for the busy life of a big city! 

It was so great to see her and her husband and finally be able to visualize the world that they live in. It seemed so bizarre to me that people actually live where palm trees grow naturally - I thought they only grew at resorts! The traffic there was unreal to me - the way cars swerved in and out, the fact that red lights were merely a suggestion to stop, and the shocking evidence of a fallen world that exists in a traffic jam. The pace at which my sister and her husband live their life left me exhausted - I am envious of the energy that they have to keep going 24/7! I love experiencing other people's worlds, though, because it always leaves me reflective and in a mode of self exploration. I really do love my life and feel utterly blessed to be where I am. Now please do not misunderstand me - I am not saying that Florida was so horrible that I just couldn't stop thinking about how wonderful my life back home was. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip; I think I just had time to stop and reflect upon things that I had taken for granted. 

I truly believe that I have the best marriage in the world. After nearly two years of marriage, I can still honestly say that Nathan is my favorite person. We get a long great, rarely fight, have open communication, and truly love each other for who we are. He is a great man. I love Northwest Arkansas. It has a pace that suits me but is rich with business and activity. I think it is so neat to live where the largest company in the world is. I am exposed to aspects of business that you don't get anywhere else! I have great friends. It took me a little while to adapt to my new life in NWA when we moved here, but I have grown to love so many people here and feel blessed to have such rich relationships that I know will only continue to deepen.

This post goes nicely with the title of my Blog - Meanderings. Just a quick moment of reflection and personal revelation that God has blessed me richly and for that, I praise Him. Life is good.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Passport to Financial Freedom

So my husband drives a scooter. He has a Vespa GT 250. It's a great money & gas saver and he really loves to ride it. However, cold weather and rainy days prove to be problematic with such a mode of transportation. He has been more than patient and amiable this winter season, but I hated to hear stories about how he rode out to a client meeting in 20 degree weather and had to defrost his hands before he could focus on the meeting. Thus began our search for a second vehicle for Nathan. We began our search a couple months ago by looking at brand new Honda CR-V's. This would have been for me, of course, and we would have had to finance this vehicle 100%. We decided that maybe we should wait until I have a job to purchase a $25,000 car. However, after a month or so, we again realized that this one-car, one-Vespa situation was not going to work for our family.

Enter Dave Ramsey.

We have been going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University with our Community Group this semester. It has really shaken our whole view of money. We are learning how to 
manage our money instead of our money managing us. We have been very blessed - the only debt we have is our home mortgage. Why would we willingly choose to change that? So, with a new perspective on debt, we decided we probably shouldn't take-on $25,000 of debt if we didn't have to. We began looking at cars in the $10,000 and below range. This would allow us to only take on about $5000 if debt instead. That seemed like a great compromise. But once again, the voice of Dave rang out in our ears saying, "Don't be stupid!" There seems to be a common theme amongst men. Once they get interested in something, it seems to consume them. My wonderful husband is no different. Suddenly saving money became almost like a game to him. We started at $10,000 then moved to $8,000 then moved to what we could pay cash for then landed at a $4,000 1997 Honda Passport with 180,000 miles on less than ideal condition.

Passport to Financial Freedom

Nostalgia overcame Nathan when he laid eyes on his new ride. You see, this was the car of his dreams when he was 16. Now I must back up and paint a picture of the place we found this car - QC Auto Sales. (It just screams "class" already, doesn't it?) We had found the car on and called QC to set up a time to come look at it. It was being kept at their overflow lot in the ghetto of Fayetteville. We reached the lot before the salesman did and took a quick peek at the Passport. When the salesman finally arrived, he was an Iranian man with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth - did I mention that he was smoking in a car that they were trying to sell? Well, we take the car for a test drive. Nathan is sold - this is the car he wants! But dealing with used car salesman is very similar to playing poker. With our poker faces on, we tell him we'll think about it and drive off. We had just watched a Dave lesson on how to negotiate. So, we begin to plan our attack. The next day, Nathan goes to the bank and withdraws 37 one-hundred dollar bills. (Dave had taught us the power of cash.) He walks into QC Auto Sales with a big wad of cash and says, "I want the car and here is $3,700." (Looking back, we probably could have offered a lot less - but hey, we're new at this! $300 is still $300!)

Shady Dealings

If you haven't quite realized the type of used car lot that QC is yet, the rest of my story will give you a clearer picture. Nathan sat down with the salesman to fill out the paperwork, including the Bill of Sale. As they were filling it out, the salesman looked around then said in a hushed tone, "You know, since you are paying cash, I could write $2,500 on this and your sales tax would be less." Somehow the text about how it's a felony to mis-represent the sales price didn't seem to catch this guy's attention. Needless to say, Nathan told him to write the correct price, recognizing that this guy's true motives were not to save us money but to pocked the $1700 difference. After an uncomfortable hour or so, Nathan walked out with the title to his new Passport, telling them that I would be bringing him by later that afternoon to pick up the keys & the vehicle. The icing on the cake came when we returned to get the car. Nathan had called the salesman to let him know we were on our way. He told Nathan that he was not at their office but working at his restaurant that he would be opening soon - Asian Fusion. (because there's not enough Asian restaurants in Northwest Arkansas...) Once again we returned to the ghetto of Fayetteville, where we located Asian Fusion. As the salesman tossed Nathan the keys from the roof of the ridiculously painted building, I couldn't help but think you really do get what you pay for.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


The only thing we can be sure of is things are going to change. Change seems to be a constant thing in my life right now. Nathan took a new job & is now working from home. Our homelife has changed. The Center is undergoing a major time of transition that has had significant impact on my job. My role has changed. I have to find a new job by May when my degree will be complete. My job and life will change.

During this time of uncertainty and newness, I am learning a lot about how to lead change and manage the emotions involved. I did not expect to be so emotional when faced with all of these changes. However, change in general brings a sense of loss and of fear - loss of what we know to be comfortable and fear that we might fail. Simply acknowledging these emotions can do wonders for moving past them! They will still be there but suddenly they'll be manageable. I know that as a leader I will at one point be faced with the challenge of leading others through a change that I see as critical for success. I have learned the importance of communicating clearly, quickly, and consistently. More importantly, I have learned that emotion will accompany any transition. And it's the leader's responsibility to help the group through those emotions and lead them to a place of understanding, acceptance, and eventually excitement.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lesson Learned

I have discovered why people get a flu shot. I suppose I got what was coming to me. I bragged earlier this winter season that I had never gotten a shot nor had I ever had the flu. And for the past week, I have not moved from my couch, completely and utterly wiped out! Influenza is some nasty business. From this day forward, I will always get a flu shot. Such a simple way to avoid a week of misery!

I hope to begin a habit of blogging more regularly in order to improve my writing skills. We'll see if I can keep to that resolution. Thus far my other new years resolutions have not been as fruitful as I would have hoped! I guess that makes me normal.