Thursday, May 27, 2010

Goal Complete: Help My Sister Financially

It's not like we have GOBS of money, but it was on my list of things to do and we were able to do it. My sister needed some moolah for summer school classes so she can get more smarted and we helped her out.

SO proud of my sister who works hard, is responsible, is working full time, going to school full-time and still makes time for family and friends.

The day she graduates Keith and I will be able to say we were a part of it- without actually doing any of the work!

Love you Seeeeeester!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Review: Boston's Pizza

I've had Boston's twice since being up here and had always wanted to try it when I saw it in Dallas. Luckily, this place is about 50 feet from the hotel...or is it lucky?

When Keith was up here awhile back we went to dinner here the first night. It was late (for us), about 9pm and I was on my health kick so I got whole grain crust and veggies. We did splurge on mozzarella sticks as an appetizer. I give the pizza a B- since it was whole-grain crust and all.

The second time I had it was when the hotel ordered it to cater dinner one night. I had 2 slices of regular pizza and I give it a C-...not good. I don't know if it's because it may have been sitting awhile or what, but it was a downer 'cause I think everyone expects good things when they think pizza, right?. It was just plain cheese, thin crust.

With that being the second time I don't think I would go back or have it again. This past weekend I tried a new place out in Pewaukee called "Mama Mia's" and this place was even better than "The Glass Door"! Incredible!

It's a no go for me to Boston's!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Goal Complete: Speak at a Design Conference

It was a success…depending on what the meaning of success is.

My success is that 1) I didn't throw up. 2) Only 5 people left (out of about 40 or 45) and 3) Someone asked me a really great question at the end and told me they got a lot out of the session. That made the whole thing worth it. 4) I didn't throw up!

This was my first time speaking at WebVisions, and as an attendee 2 years ago I have to say I was very honored that they asked me to speak back in January. I got there super early to get set up just in case of technical difficulty (which we had). It never fails with the technical difficulty. Then I had a good half hour to spare and visited with the tech guy and walked around. The team there was on top of it, with volunteers and organizers of the event. 10 minutes before both doors close, 5 minutes before 1 door closes, and at 1:15 I started. I had mingled just a bit before then. The room is always so quiet, and it's very intimidating being on the "giving" end. I've been to countless conferences and always look on at the speaker expecting so much and not really putting myself in their shows.

Boy it's amazing how doing this one time really changes your outlook and helps you to empathize with what they are doing up there.

I feel like I started the session fairly strong. I didn't have an automatic slide button, so I was forced to stand behind the podium as I needed to switch slides which I didn't care for. I like to walk around and get out around the people. I was able to ask them where they came from, where they worked and got closer to them then. There was some good interaction I suppose. The tech guy had to remind me that they can't hear each other and to repeat what they say and ask (oops).

I remember looking at the clock at about 1:40 thinking I've kind of hit a wall with the crowd. I think it distracted me when someone got up to leave. People do that, it's not uncommon, but by the end about 5 people had left!! *Sigh. I was either too boring or it wasn't what they were looking for. Mental note: tell a really compelling story in the middle of the speech-I should have told more personalized stories around the work and what to do. Then at about 10 'til 2 (with 25 minutes left to go) I was starting to run out of content, but made it stretch long enough until 2:00. There was a good Q&A portion-about 3-4 questions and then a handful of people stayed with more, that's always much more comfortable and I really enjoy it. The was one lady who stayed for the next session and I was packing up she asked me how in the world I do it with 3 kids? I told her to ask me that again in 6 months after I've been in a new state with no family around. Haha!

WebVisions gave a gift and I spent awhile talking to the director. He was asking me if I would come back and I said definitely. I told him a few people in my session were designing for the international market and asked if they had considered that as a topic-made a suggestion about it for next year. He said that would be great. So come this September I will definitely be putting that proposal in, and am hoping to wrangle up a few people from LE to come with me and speak as a group so I don't have to do it alone!

In hindsight, there are so many things I would have changed. I realized I didn't even use my big closer I was planning on going through which was one of the best parts-I just completely forgot it! My stories! Less technical difficulty in the middle switching between the presentation and imagery. Better set up with a slide remote. More energy!! Lessons learned! Am hoping to get some feedback from the audience as well and hoping if anyone did hear me speak they would be open to hearing me again-that would be the ultimate compliment!

*Sigh of relief! Done!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mother's Day Weekend

What did we do? It was 2 weeks ago and my memory is already escaping me.

I was in Dallas for a wonderful 4 days for a long Mother's Day weekend. Took a very, very early flight and made it in at about 8:30 that Friday morning. My grandfather picked me up and we made our way to the house. I was overwhelmed with emotion seeing Nickolas run out to me, and seeing my grandmother holding Erik. Erik looked so long and Nick was talking a mile a minute. It was as if 3 weeks created new children they were so different already.

My Aunt stayed most of the day still and we ran around and picked up lunch, played with the kids and I had to go to the dentist. They ended up doing a partial root canal and that was not fun. I spent the evening wanting the enjoy every second but wasn't feeling too hot from that. Keith and I took the boys to McDonalds.

Saturday my dad came over and spent about 3 hours with us and playing with the guys. I love having him over and we caught up and it was nice visiting and seeing each other. After nap time we took the boys out to the mall to play.

Sunday was a wonderful Mother's Day. I got to sleep in a little and Keith made me breakfast in bed. We went over to my grandparents house to visit with everyone and then to dinner just the 5 of us.

Monday my Aunt came over and we took the boys to Gattitown and to the mall to play. Lots more running around and enjoying the gorgeous weather. I picked up Keith from work and we all headed out to the airport. I think the highlight of Monday was Erik falling asleep on my during nap time and just getting to hold him and snuggle. Nick took a great nap too and was laying next to us. It was difficult to turn around and leave, and Kolbe caught me off-guard by getting upset and wanting to go. We've built up the "new house" and "new state" so much that he wants to leave now! Weeks must feel like a lifetime to him.

Thank you to my guys for a wonderful Mother's Day! I'm so glad I spent it with family.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Review: HuHot Mongolian Grill

A few weeks back when Keith came up to visit for the weekend we decided to go to HuHot for dinner on Saturday night.

Let me preface this by saying my opinion may be jaded. I'm the kind of person that gets the same thing at favorite restaurants 'cause "it's my fav" and that sets the bar for all other places.

So MY FAV Mongolian place is Genghis...everyone knows that.

Laura, my friend, told me that HuHot (supposedly common up north) is BETTER than Genghis. Well...she was WRONG! (Sorry, but Laura knows this I already told her she now owes me a meal).

Like I said, I'm not the best critic as I was looking for a replacement for Genghis with the crab meat, peanut sauce and brown rice. At this place the supposed peanut sauce had coconut in it and you could only get noodles when they cooked it. I was scared to put too much sauce in 'cause I don't like coconut but I really wanted the peanut flavor and it just came out really dry. Two thumbs down.

The dessert however was de-lish...puffy pastries with honey, sugar, chocolate and ice cream. That puts the overall review at two thumbs down with maybe a pinky finger up for the chocolate.

I still love ya Laura!