Plans for Saturday…

17 Aug

I am putting in a full day on John’s new site. There’s still a lot of work to be done.

And then tomorrow night I have a date that I am looking forward to. It’s going to be a nice evening. I am having a hard time deciding on a dress.

As for the client that I walked away from because of her temper a few months ago …  Sometimes business relationships are like marriages and everybody has put work into them. In the case of this client, they are a family and it’s one that I care about because I have known them so long. We are making the move to “get back together”. The bottom line is is that with the team we have, we make the business better, it just seems to work. I think it’s very important that there not be such long periods in between vacations for me because I always have a heavy workload. It’s important to have destress time. I think it’s important for her to have real vacation time to destress. And if there’s something that would put her over the top, let one of us handle it. I think maybe it’s the team approach that we are moving forward with.

That’s the news for now.

Have a great Saturday.

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I knew I would be slammed when I got home from Paris…

15 Aug

I knew this would happen.

I’m buried in work between two clients and will probably end up working this weekend.

I’m doing work for the Worth Avenue store during the week and another client’s changes are scheduled for this weekend.

This was piling up before I went to Paris. I knew it would be waiting for me when I returned.

I’ll be glad when I finish the site scheduled for this weekend and then I can hopefully go back to working 5 days a week instead of the full week I have this week.

I absolutely have to take time to go to the gym tonight just for myself. I’ve already lost the two pounds I gained in Paris. I was 120 before I went and 122 after. Today I back to 120. But I need to get back to my routine so that I can destress. Working on the computer for as long as I do is hard on your shoulders and your muscles.

Got to go…time to work out.

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There are thousands of photos of Paris downloaded…

14 Aug

And obviously, I have not had time to edit them or necessarily choose the best ones. But I know that some people want to see at least a few so these are what I quickly pulled this evening. I have not even had time to look at all the photos yet.

Aerial View of Paris

Aerial View of The Louvre in Paris

Aerial of Louvre



Versailles Gardens


Locks in Paris

Ok, then here are a few of us…

This is when we went to dinner on the Seine River. It was a glass boat that travels up and down the river to see Paris during dinner.

Laura Kerbyson in Paris

Laura Kerbyson in Paris

My mother, Lin at dinner…


This is me at Versailles. Isn’t it funny how the second picture looks like someone cut me out and put me on a background. But this is how the photo actually looked off of the iphone. I used it obviously instead of the professional camera. These are selfies.

And last but certainly not least is the photo that spawned my mother’s other new nickname – “Indiana Lin”. It’s definitely a different look than “Ninja Lin.” I had convinced her to wear these dresses I found. She always wears this hat when traveling. I shot this one when we went on the ferris wheel next to the Louvre.

And no trip to Paris is complete without this…

Eiffel Tower in Paris

I’m sure I’ll have more to post as I look through them all over the next several weeks.

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Brief recap of Paris…

12 Aug

Our connecting flight has been delayed so I I’ll give you a brief recap of Paris. I can’t show you any photos until I’m home because I need the computer with the camera card slot to download the images.

The trip started off with my mother earning a new nickname. She was dressed all in black tight fitting clothing when we were sitting at the airport. I named her “Ninja Lin” because she kept disappearing on me right into the same color of the seats and carpets. Finally I told her that she needs the same rules as the Queen. “You must wear bright colors so I can find you.” Her nickname changed when we started touring the city. I’ll save that story for when I have a photo illustration available.

These were some of the highlights:

- We went to Versailles to the Palace. One of the best lunches we had was the salad at Versailles. It has fresh artichokes and a very unique dressing. I don’t know how these photos are going to turn out because we rented a golf cart in order to tour the gardens. My mother was driving like a 100 MPH. I’m trying to hang out of the cart and shoot with my professional camera. We’re traveling fast over cobble stoned roads so it was very bumpy. Let’s put it this way, it much hard to shoot these photos at Versailles than it is to hang out of a helicopter and do an aerial shoot. Before we got in the golf cart, I shot some of the greenery for backgrounds where I can photoshop a model into the picture.

The shops at Versailles had higher quality merchandise than most of what we saw in Paris. I bought a very pretty and elegant bottle of perfume at the shop. I also bought tea from Versailles and I plan to have my friends over for tea.

- We went to the Louvre and I saw the Mona Lisa. We drank wine in the gardens at the Louvre.

- My favorite thing came after the Louvre. We got on the ferris wheel that overlooks all of Paris. You get to go around 3 times. It provides an incredible view of Paris.

- We walked from the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower. We walked miles and miles on this trip. As we were walking we were passed by a young man who just walked and bounced like he was so happy. He was carrying bread and breaking it off and eating it. That day we ended up going to Cafe du Mars for dinner. It’s next to the Eiffel towner. And low and behold, we saw the happy young man again. He was our waiter. He had a very, very charming personality and liked to flirt with each and everyone of the ladies having dinner in the outdoor cafe. He always inquired where everyone was from. At the end of the dinner, he got down on one knee and kissed my hand. I told my mother, “A man like that would make a cougar out of us in no time. Do you think he would fit in the suitcase?” LOL. Women loved to be charmed and this waiter knew it. It was funny.

- We went to the Arc de Triomphe and we shopped on the Champs Elysees and in nearby neighborhoods. I bought a beautiful gown in one of my colors. My mother ended up buying a matching gown. I picked up a couple of evening bags – one in gold and one in silver. I picked up a watch in one of the local shops in the neighborhood where we were staying. I bought some french soap, shampoo and conditioner.

- We drove by Notre Dame. Sadly the sight is heartbreaking right now as the roof is clearly gone from the back. Due to the fire, the church is closed right now.

- We fell in love with a cafe right out side of our hotel and we enjoyed some nice dinners and wines from the cafe. We met a lovely Australian couple who was traveling with her father and we enjoyed some wine and conversation.

- Our highlight dinner was to dress up in evening gowns and board a glass boat with a formal dining room. We dinned and drank a bottle of wine as the boat cruises up and down the Seine river.

- We hiked from our hotel to the Sacre Coeur Basilica, which overlooks all of Paris. I went in and said prayers and lit a candle with intentions.

- We saw many, many other museums from an auto tour and icons like The American Church. We saw the capitol building

- It will take me over a month to diet off everything that I ate. Some of the highlights were beef borginoin, french onion soup, pastries, breads, chocolate mousse, creme brulee, salmon, strawberry cake and a long assortment of wines and champagnes. I need nothing but water for a month.

- We laughed when the driver picked us up from the airport. They had put the pickup name under my last name. As we were driving to the hotel, he told us that if we didn’t like cuisine of Paris, Paris had a Hard Rock Cafe. We laughed and I said, I think that will have to been on our stop list. So now I have a Hard Rock Cafe Paris t-shirt. I’ll wear it to the gym, which I will now have to frequent more often this month.

It was a nice trip and we managed to see much of Paris. I am looking forward to getting some sleep when we finally get back to Palm Beach county.

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Madam is returning from my tour…

12 Aug

I am waiting in Paris to catch the flight home. After I get back and get rested, I’ll have time to go through the photos. It was a nice trip.

I have stories and photos that I’ll be posting later this week.

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Au revoir…

04 Aug

Au revoir mes amis. Je pars pour un voyage à Paris. Je posterai à mon retour. Je porterai un toast à votre santé avec une coupe de champagne.

Merci beaucoup.
Goodbye my friends. I am off for a trip to Paris. I will post again when I return. I will toast to your health with a glass of champagne. Thank you very much.
Lin and I are drinking are warm up bottle of Champagne to toast the trip tonight.
We went to the gym and worked out last night. I can tell you, I am not dieting this week....
And yes, I am taking my professional camera and I plan to shoot.
We went spent the day at the pool today and swam and lounged and had lunch by the pool. I read part of my novel. It was very nice.
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Yes I saw – Epic Universe Plan…

02 Aug

I saw that Universal has plans to build a new park on 750 aces of land in Orlando.

They borrowed a page out of book in terms of planning a section that ties into the video game industry. That was in my Verve plan and the park I planned and contemplated for the northern part of Florida. Now I understand the web stats from Orlando.

Honestly though, I thought the concept art for Epic Universe was lame. I am sure the park, in reality will be much better.

But you would think a team assigned to concept art could best one person don’t you?

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My trip to Paris…

01 Aug

I leave the first of next week.

Am I worried about telling people I’ll be gone. No. I live in a country club that is it’s own city. For 2000 residents we pay for our own private police force. They are not security. They are police officers because we are our own city . They put a watch on my home while I’m gone. I’ve already talked to them. They know me. I think my home is actually safer when I’m not here.

This was the only community in South Florida where I could find that had it’s own police, fire, and hospital. We have our own water system as well. It’s a very unique golf community.

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Why the new gym philosophy works…

30 Jul

It works because I know after my workout, I get to go to the spa section. Then I get to take a nice long, hot shower and use all the spa products and cute little shower shoes, that I packed in the gym bag. I always make sure to include a cute little dress. If I want it, there’s new makeup and things for doing my hair.

Because you see, if I waited until I got home to do all these things, I would associate feeling relaxed and good with home. This way I am associating that feeling with the gym. So in my mind, I want to go to gym and work out because I always leave their feeling relaxed and clean. It’s pure psychology but it works. It’s important to pack that bag full of goodies and cute work out clothes.

I make sure at the end of every session I use the massage chairs and hydro beds.

Now I look forward to going to the gym. It seems less like work.

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This is a very, very serious post…

28 Jul

I don’t usually use this blog to go into what I know and understand from my years of expertise in the technology and computer science fields.

But I feel like there’s a bigger picture that needs to be understood so I will comment on it now.

I like many other people, received an email that Netflix had done a program called “The Great Hack” and it’s the story about Cambridge Analytica and how they skewed election results around the world.

I understand that people who are not deep experts in this field are just beginning to understand a problem. But that problem is much larger than elections and it’s much larger than Facebook.

The misuse of technology or the incompetence of developers affects not just elections. It affects things like aircraft safety and whether or not someone can get a job.

With the businesses that I own and the experience that I gained, I have worked across a multitude of industries. I’m going to cite some examples. In the job board arena, I spent over a year to write a search engine with another developer because job boards are so fundamentally flawed. I dissected, pulled apart, analyzed, tested and reconstructed many of the players in the industry only to discover that some job boards had no real logic. For example, in one case if a person had the word “hospital” on the resume they submitted, the jobs they would then be matched with and sent were for physicians or nurses. If that person was a marketing person, a security personnel, or an accountant, etc. these were not relevant matches and they gave up and moved on to something else.

I found job boards who were just in this industry to collect the resume, because there is a whole market of buying and selling resumes. The more scarce a professional is in their profession, the higher the dollar amount the resume is worth. They are traded like commodities. They have their own market. So the job board didn’t really need to work for the owners to make money.

I found job boards where the candidates applied to positions but in fact, those applications went no where.

I found a job board which sent resumes to employers that were not relevant because the algorithms were written so poorly. And on, and on and on the discoveries went. Now you have some job boards playing gatekeeper claiming to find employers ONLY the qualified candidates, etc. etc.

We’re talking about employment. One of the single biggest factors in an economy. And to be honest, our methods of finding jobs and finding qualified employees is often screwed up.

I took two of us over a year to write something called the “SMART System.” And it actually worked. It parsed a resume correctly and matched it appropriately with jobs and employers. It was a major feat. Unfortunately, the contract to do this was funded by someone who didn’t have a technology background and when I had to take two days off work for an out of state emergency, that contract was canceled because they thought that just anybody could do what we had done. When you have developers who make something special, you are a fool to think that just anybody can be hired to continue what was started. And the project was a disaster after the point where I left the project.

I spent some time working on a aviation project. Some of the readers of this blog know that I like to fly but I don’t formally seek a pilots license because I couldn’t pass the medical due to a 20 year plus neck injury. So the rules say that I can fly if I have another pilot on board. The small aircraft I’ve flown on are manual. The project required my background in computer science and was to work with building software for training purposes on jets with glass instrumentation. As soon as I started reading manuals to planes I could begin to understand why we have crashes because technology has been over implemented or misused or not properly developed. For someone with experience in all these areas, I could see where this is going to cost lives.

My point in all this is this – this isn’t just an election issue. This isn’t just a Facebook issue. There’s a bigger picture that affects many, many more industries.

There are times when I feel like my generation is the first generation to get screwed because it doesn’t matter how hard you work in getting your education or how hard you work in business. When the real estate market collapsed, we lost the theme park. It wouldn’t have mattered what we did nothing was going to change that because there were factors outside of our control and corruption that brought the real estate market and then the stock market down.

When I look at being a developer and putting in a large scale capital project, I think to myself, “You can do everything right, but if something corrupt has been going on in another area, unknown to me, it could ruin everything.” And that’s the truth of the matter.

As someone with 30 years in marketing, computer science and design – I have never and do not use Facebook. Because I understood from the very beginning that this had the potential for such misuse. There are only two people in this country with my name – myself and a lady 10 years older than me that lives on the West Coast. I think she uses Facebook.

I’ve had to use Facebook for my clients, because that’s the way the world is today. I routinely do social platforms for my clients.

I think I heard that Timothy Berners Lee was upset over what Facebook turned the Internet into. I can absolutely tell you that it’s not just a Facebook problem, however that might be the most visible example that people can latch onto.

Before the Internet, we had publications with journalists who were trained in journalism schools. They learned ethics and they learned accuracy. Some publications were regarded as more credible than others.  The Internet opened up their jobs for anyone who could write and click a button. There were no professional standards. And it all but killed the journalism industry for the most part. We are living with the repercussions of that now.

I am one of the people who wants a full scale investigation into a number of the large tech companies. Because what I see as a developer representing many industries is very troublesome. I think I have a very, very good idea over which companies are ethical and accurate and which ones are not when it comes to their technologies.

Usually in the industry people are not a server system admin, a developer, a designer, a marketer and an entrepreneur. It’s because of all those roles that I think I see a much more complete picture than most people.

Obviously, we’ve talked before on this blog about that this very, very old site needs to be replaced. But what I struggle with is: how many areas do I let people see under the name of Laura Kerbyson. Let’s talk about the real work for a minute. I set up servers. I build e-commerce sites, I work with SSL, I build web sites. I design the graphics, I’m a photographer, I write copy and press, I design products, I do SEO, I do Google Ad Words and other social media marketing, I advise businesses on their plans and operations, I do real estate design work, and I’ve planned and designed some large scale capital projects because I can do all of that and make the necessary business connections. And before all that for nine years I was a design and computer science professor. But if you put that all under one name and one web site, is it going to create confusion? Most people might only know you in a role or two but not all. How do you explain to people that this is who and what you are and I’ve been like this my whole life. Some people inherit money. I inherited a nice IQ and some talent and I didn’t waste it. I put it to use.

Sometimes I get a kick of reading on the Internet that I’m “Laura Kerbyson – Fashion Photographer.” That’s true but I’m also a lot of other things. It’s a lot easier to post photos of my photography and not photos deploying a server, etc. (no one would want to look at that).  But in business sometimes I am more approachable if I present less. I remember when Google said, “She works at Carolina Web Development.” I don’t just work at Carolina Web Development and Florida Web Development (which are full service advertising agencies), I own it. I built them.

There are many times in life when it pays for me to “fly under the radar.”

I’m bringing all this up now because there are times in life when I need to give an opinion that’s important and for just a moment, I need for people to understand the whole background and why there may not be a lot of people who can say what I can say.

I try to keep things simple when I explain them. This is as simple as I can make this. We don’t just have a problem with Facebook and Cambridge Analytical and elections around the world. We have a problem with the ways that tech has been used in a multitude of industries. Our laws, legislation and regulations are not up to date with what’s going on in the world. In part it’s because people who would be in charge of doing these things don’t understand the technology and are probably not aware of all the issues.

But for someone like me, I can see when an e-commerce platform is rigged and the damage this is doing to American business. I can see when changes to search algorithms cost real businesses money. I can see when the misuse of technology is killing people.

And if I can see it then someone else needs to start seeing it too. The picture is much bigger than what you imagine.

And that’s my point in today’s post.

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Check it out…

28 Jul

I love this.

I bought my mother a new set of golf clubs for Christmas. The driver is what we affectionately called “the cereal bowl driver” – meaning the head of the club is the size of a cereal bowl. I told her if she couldn’t hit the ball with that she should give it up. LOL

My mother works at everything until she conquers all. This past week she shot a 45. She’s 71 years old. She’s killing me here. I don’t get to golf nearly as much as she does.

So Nick stopped by tonight and evened the playing field. He brought me the largest Calloway Big Bertha that they make a a cute little hat in my favorite colors.

Oh yeah. Now we’re talking. Thank you so much….

I’ve got two words for Mother Dear. “Bring it.”


And you know of course, she’s going to win.

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Last night…

26 Jul

I spent a whopping 15 minutes at networking. It wasn’t my clientele. So I came home and finished the big block of creative for the new company.

It’s funny. I took some creative risks but I am sure that he never imagined I would go this direction.

So it was enough to finish for the first preview of the site. I sent it off with a note that I’m not checking the email until Saturday morning. We have a client meeting on Saturday and we’ll see if it’s – love it or hate it.

But this tends to be the type of thing and client I do best. When someone hands me a product and has no creative pitch and says, “Let’s see what you come up with.”

Creative is a big strong suit for me. I can definitely make it memorable.

Now we wait. So today I am back on Worth working new social media for that store.

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My schedule has been crazy this week…

25 Jul

I’ve been working on building a new site for a client today. I’m taking a break this evening to go to Networking in Boca.

I got home from the gym last night at 11:10 p.m.

Crazy schedule…

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What’s the number one question I am asked?

23 Jul

Question: Where you from?

They always mean “originally”.

Answer: Ohio

I live in Palm Beach County, FL and have for many years. I’ve lived all over because in my younger days, my work took me to many, many places. And then I started businesses in more than one state. I elaborate more in a future blog post.

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Funny Ad Campaign…

23 Jul

I’ve been working on a new web site for a new company. I planned a large slider for the front that ended up being a full commercial.

I had a very funny creative concept that hit me so I ran with it. I like it. It’s kind of like a super bowl commercial except for a web site.

I like it a lot. I built out the full animated slider.

I’m looking forward to finishing and showing this site to the client in a few weeks. When I’m finished I’ll be able to show it to you.

Humor can be very effective at getting people to remember the product or company.

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Time for a break soon…

21 Jul

I’ve been working on product images all day.

Time for a tea, cookie, and then gym break soon.

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I could see how people would make that mistake…

21 Jul

I had lunch with someone who had seen a 25 year old photo on the Internet with me next two a couple of girls so they asked me about “my kids.”

The photo was Emma and Meghan. I was married 25 years ago. I was their stepmother. I was the second wife. He’s had three. We’ve been divorced a long time. I haven’t seen the girls in years and years. We had one daughter, who’s now an adult and lives far from me.

That mistake gets made because I never changed my name back after I was divorced years ago. So I have the same last name as my former step daughters. My maiden name was Fleming. However, I think I ended up being one of the most famous people with the last name of Kerbyson on the Internet.

The other little girls in the pictures were the neighbors little girls. That was 25 years ago.

I have no pets and no kids in my house. So people usually ask me about my clients at the advertising agency. I see them far more than any one else except for my friends in South Florida.

It was a delightful lunch. I had lunch with someone who’s from Paris. I received some great pointers for my upcoming trip to Paris. This was much appreciated. Merci beaucoup.

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I had a very nice evening last night…

20 Jul

We went to St. Ambrose at Royal Poinciana for dinner and cocktails. It was very, very nice.

Then we met up with Jules and Suse at HMF at The Breakers.

Today I am working on client work. It’s going to be a very late night tonight. I’m hoping to cover a lot of ground. I have photos to do, a site to make and a small product line to design this week.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday I’ll be working on web site, social media and marketing for the jewelry store. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, I’ll be working on this new site I sold. The schedule will be like this until I go to Paris.

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Working double duty…

18 Jul

It’s going to be like this for a few weeks.

I’ve been busy marketing the Guinness pieces for a client and I just signed a new site and began work on some of the initial assets last night.

I have so much work on my plate that I imagine I will be working the next couple of weekends on top of the work week. I think I am looking at 7 day weeks for a while.

I’m not complaining. I had a good break this summer. But this is the kind of workload that only veterans of the industry can handle.

The work for one client is fun because there are many things are going to require my creativity. It’s a chance to use “all the skills.”

Right now I am headed to the gym because it’s the first opportunity that I’ve had all week to do so. Last week, I was in Atlanta. I am behind on my fitness goals.

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For my 50th birthday, my friends all thought alike…

17 Jul

Tell me if you notice a pattern here. These were birthday gifts from yesterday and today for my 50th birthday. I had a very nice dinner last night at Bice in Palm Beach and HMF at The Breakers.

Gift number 1 (which we drank last night)

Gift number 2

and gift number 3, a bottle of Dom Perignon

None of them knew that each other was giving me champagne.

And another friend very graciously picked up the tab for dinner at Bice and our trip to HMF at The Breakers.

It was very nice and thank you all very much. It’s so good to see friends on your birthday.

And my mother is taking me to dinner in Paris in a few weeks.

And another friend is taking me to dinner on Friday night.

I am very blessed to have such great people in my life.

I snapped a quick selfie on my 50th birthday before we went out so you can all see what 50 looks like…

Laura Kerbyson

This was at dinner. They were giving me a hard time. It was funny. Jules thinks it’s blog material. I think the photo is a little goofy, but that’s life too.

I was really happy that the waiter thinks I am 3 years old.

The Litchi Martini was also very good.

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Birthday plans….

16 Jul

One of my friends flew in and we three girls are going out tonight.

I think we’ll start at Bice and end up at HMF at The Breakers hotel to celebrate my 50th birthday.

I told them, “Get your Lilly on! Only fun colors allowed!”

I sense I may be taking an Uber home this evening. LOL

I am wearing the dress that I bought to match the purse that Jules bought me for Christmas. It’s me, Jules and Suse tonight.

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July 16th is the Anniversary of the Launch of the Rocket to the Moon…

16 Jul

Just remember tomorrow, which is my 50th birthday, is the 50th anniversary of the launch of the rocket to the moon. It was launched on July 16, 1969 and it landed on July 20, 1969.

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It’s an absolute honor…

16 Jul

I had a client that I first did business with five years ago. They were part of the clients from Hilton Head when I started Carolina Web Development, before Florida Web Development.

They came down to Singer Island for a vacation and contacted me and we met for a drink at PGA National. They are starting a new company and they ordered a new web site from me. It’s the third site I will have made for him. It’s a real honor when you clients drive from Hilton Head to Palm Beach county and ask to see you to do business with you. It’s a real joy for me to know that I make a great product and deliver a great service and that reputation lasts for years. It’s not something that you can order over the phone or off the web. What I do is really different.

Nothing makes me feel better than that kind of feeling.

Tomorrow is my 50th birthday. This was a great night before. We had a fantastic meeting. I’m brainstorming like crazy over ideas for this one. And it’s the kind of meeting where you feel like you’re doing business with old friends.

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Thank goodness it missed New Orleans…

15 Jul

They got lucky. The storm missed them and went left. But that also means that we don’t know the level at which New Orleans can withstand water. I don’t trust the Core of Engineers because the last time I was told by everyone that they had fixed the problems, it was a regular rain that put 3 feet of water into New Orleans. If I hadn’t been there and seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it was that much of a problem. Basically, it requires manual labor to clean out the catch basins. If the city workers have not cleaned out the catch basins, there’s a high chance of flooding. That and half the pumps weren’t working. But the pumps are not really designed to handle any great amount of water so even if they are all working – it’s not the answer.

So now that we were on the topic of hurricanes and storms, and we’re at the beginning of the season – I spent today shopping for the annual “hurricane food” and supplies for my home in Florida. The last item I need to get is water.

I only stay if it’s a hurricane 1-3. If it’s a 4, I leave. But sometimes a storm will turn into a bigger number when it’s too late to leave. So therefore, it’s good to have items on hand. You don’t want to be in the stores right before a hurricane. It’s not fun.

Years ago when I stayed for Hurricane Andrew, it was a 4 up until the point when it was announced that you couldn’t get out. Then the storm turned to a category 5. That was my first hurricane.

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That’s exciting…

13 Jul

I talked to Jules today and Susie is coming in from Indiana and she’ll be with us at my birthday celebration on Tuesday.

I want everyone to wear fun colors. Black is prohibited since it’s my 50th.

We’ll have fun because we always have fun.

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Back from the show and watching the situation in New Orleans…

13 Jul

I’m back from the show. I need to do some rest and relaxation this weekend.

Over the next 24 hours I’ll be watching the situation in New Orleans carefully. I pulled my Verve – Crescent City Theme Park, Hotel and Resort project from there a few years ago when the drainage systems failed and we had 3 feet of water in downtown New Orleans after a hard rain. My concerns were of course that a real storm would cause catastrophic damage and loss of human life. That was just a few years ago. I had been assured that they had fixed the problems but that’s not what happened when the water came.

After spending all that time on the project, I can’t help but watch the situation carefully. I would love nothing more to be wrong about what I think will happen. The Wall Street Journal has reported today that the Army Core of Engineers has strengthened the system. For the people of New Orleans, I sincerely hope that this is not a lie.

My recommendation would be of course for residents in the path of the storm to evacuate and return afterwards. I’m sorry but after past history and actions, I don’t trust the word of the Army Core of Engineers or officials in New Orleans. I would love to be wrong.

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The 133 page book is going to the show…take a sneak peek…

09 Jul

You might remember a while back I mentioned that I created a 133 page book for my client that’s a high end jewelry store. This is photography and design. Jewelry for advertisements or books is the singles hardest thing for a photographer to shoot. Well, we decided to get two printouts of the book and take it to the show at Atlanta for people to leaf through so they could understand the context.

This copy has some mistakes in it but there just wasn’t time to correct them. Overall, it’s in pretty good shape. Would you like to see it? This was a major piece of work for me.

This will take a few minutes to load the PDF in your browser because it is 133 pages. It’s a book designed for print so that’s part of why the file is so large to load. The book combines some older photography that I didn’t shoot with my work.

Click here to load the PDF in your browser. Use the zoom out button to be able to fit the book in the window.

Sometimes people who read the blog don’t realize that my background is in both computer science and design (photography, publications, real estate design, yacht and auto, merchandise, etc.) Florida Web Development and Carolina Web Development have always been full service advertising agencies. “Laura Kerbyson” was the name assigned to other design projects. I combine that with a very strong marketing background.

To make a 133 page book, it takes multiple shoots in multiple locations. Over the past 18 months, I’ve literally shot thousands and thousands of photos for work on projects like this and the web site, the e-commerce and the store kiosks. Then there’s the editing and cutting out objects…it’s a major piece of work.

I am going to the show in Atlanta this week. My objective is to pitch to big box retailers for Kaufmann de Suisse Jewelers.

Enjoy your peek at the book. When you hear me talk about “working with models” this is what I am referring to in that context. I enjoy working with luxury brands.
I have an extension installed in my Chrome browser for viewing PDFs. You can always add that to your browser.

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Packing for the show in Atlanta…

07 Jul

Have you ever tried to fit five dresses in a carry on? It can be done but you must choose the dresses by material carefully.

Everything is ready to go and the briefcase has been cleaned out and organized.

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I’ve never been treated that rudely in all my life..

07 Jul

Wow. There are almost no words for it.

I don’t think it’s a big secret about who I am or what I do. I’m a designer and I design all kinds of things – whether it’s web pages, advertisements, merchandise, theme parks, real estate, yachts or redesigning a Porsche – this is how I make my living. And I really don’t think it’s shocking or a secret. Readers of this blog know that I am incredibly transparent because I am very honest about what I do. In many cases, I redesign things to make them better and to sell them.

Someone asked me about the Porsche and whether or not I still had it. So I said, “No. I sold it. It was a flip. I flipped it.”

They literally got up and walked away from the table. It was the rudest thing I have ever seen.

I have no idea if in their head they misunderstood and thought I totaled a Porsche – which I did not. I sold it. I redesigned it. I sold it. Or are they that insecure about themselves. It doesn’t really matter because no matter what someone thought, the reaction to my answer was incredibly rude and no one from a decent family would do such a thing.

I find it shocking actually. Yes, I’m successful at what I do and yes I do this kind of stuff for a living. That doesn’t mean anyone should be rude to me. They asked a question, I answered it. I actually felt like I was being interrogated, not having a conversation with a person.

I find the whole thing extremely odd.

But it’s not like what I do for a living is a secret on the Internet. I own advertising agencies. I design things. I redesign things. I have a blog where everyone knows what I do and what I’m working on.

The only thing I can think of is that person is totally insecure. Very strange. The car is a piece of my work. So what?

I’m not a judgmental kind of person because I think that kind of thing is very closed minded.

I felt like I was being scrutinized over what I was wearing. I was wearing a Lilly Pulitzer dress and blue topaz jewelry. Does it come as any surprise that I’ve done advertising work for Lilly Pulitzer stores and a high-end jeweler? I love the things my clients have done. Is there anything wrong with that?

Very, very strange behavior. Definitely no manners.

My experience is that successful people in life make alliances and they have patience and they have manners. And you should never apologize for being successful.

I have no idea. Maybe they are just that insecure. I guess I should feel sorry for them.

I don’t know. Perhaps you could get away with that sort of thing if you were selling a commodity in life or doing something like trading stocks. But that’s not what I do for a living.

Most of you know me by now and you know that I am not a fan of people who are not nice. And that was not nice.

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I put in a full day on Worth Avenue…

06 Jul

Honestly, it was good to be back in the office. M. and I had a nice day of working together. I have missed her and this family.

We ended up making a project list. She asked me if I would come in tomorrow. I said, “Sure.” I’m having dinner with a friend up on PGA Blvd tomorrow night so I’ll just come in and continue to work on the new projects – web site changes, new banner, social media, inventory management, etc. And then I’ll quit around 4 p.m. and get my stuff out of the car and get dressed and ready at the office and then head up to PGA. That should work just fine.

Next week she needs me for a full five days. Frankie is out of the office on vacation. Then Frank and I are going to Atlanta for the show. He’ll work the booth at the show and I’ll hunt down big box retailers to make my pitch and try to sign deals.

I’ll be changing the slider images on the front of the web site. It was interesting to go through the Master Drive and see the sheer number of photos that I have shot in the past year and half. It was fun to pull favorites out of the folders that will be made into animations. I kept thinking things like, “Oh, I remember this model! I remember this shoot!” The shoot days are some of the most grueling days of the year but the rewards are so great when you see the completed product. There is a massive book of material in what I’ve shot. I like to be behind the camera because it’s a creative opportunity and it’s where everything we’ve done comes together. The jewelry is designed and made on site. M. styles the clothes. I pick the background and position and mannerisms of the model. After the shoot, I edited the shots to make everyone look younger and I try to bring out the Rockstar in the product, the model and the scene at hand. It’s fun to see it all come together. And when you’re looking at 18 months worth of photography alone, not to mention how many years it took to make all that jewelry. It’s amazing and it’s fun. The past several years, I’ve worked almost exclusively with luxury brands.

All the projects combined are an incredible amount of work – the photography, the kiosk, the web site, the advertising, the social media channels, inventory management (everyone’s least favorite), the magazine covers, Amazon, Ebay – there’s a never ending list of things to pursue. But it sure is a fun product line.

We haven’t planned beyond next week yet. M. will be taking a 3 week vacation and we’ll all go on break at that time.

I’m looking forward to the show because it’s something new and different. I once knew someone who did very, very well at this show. Hopefully, that will be our result. We’ll see if these products fit this show.

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Changing up my look again…

04 Jul

Today is an experiment with the hairstyle. I put soft waves into it and left more down in the front.

Now I am going to road test it with humidity and by going to the gym. The big question is, “What would this kind of hairstyle look like after all that?”

That tells me whether I can keep it and use it.

Mmmm…we’ll see.

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Happy 4th of July…

04 Jul

I’m wishing it to you the night before.

I put a full day in today and then hit the gym, did my routine, then hit the spa part of the gym and a nice hot, shower.

I am going to relax tomorrow, do some cooking, a little reading, watch a little TV,  and probably hit the gym again.

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The temporary plan until there is a new deal…

02 Jul

I talked to M. last night, who generously called me and said, “Hey why don’t you come back and do three days a week with us while you spend two days a week looking for a new deal.”

I am taking her up on the offer because of the money that fiasco just cost me. That and I got hugs the last time I was in the store on Worth. She and I talked about it and when you look at the time lost in this deal that converts to money lost. I really appreciate her reaching out to do this. I would do the same for her. But it really means a lot that she would do it for me.

When she needed help recently, of course I stepped up to the plate to help. There are very few former clients that I wouldn’t step up to the plate to help. The only ones are the ones I had to sue to get payment or I just didn’t want to make the time and money to sue to collect payment. For those people, I’m sorry but if they called needing me, I wouldn’t help them because they think good business is just using services and not paying bills. What they call “good business”, I call “theft.” It happens to advertising agencies all the time but you certainly get more guarded in the deals and how you make them. Business has it’s share of people looking to take advantage.

At any rate M. is not like that and I’m glad to take something off her shoulders that she wasn’t looking forward to doing. I’ll be going to the Atlanta show for retailers and it will be my job to try to make deals with big box retailers on a couple of specific products. This is something I haven’t done before but I’m willing to try it and put everything I have into it. I’m certainly not afraid to go for it. That show is July 10-14th.

When I opened up my first company 9 years ago, “the pitch” was the thing I had the least experience with in life. I was an expert in my areas of expertise but not in my ability to sell and wheel and deal. I continued to work on it through the years in order to better myself. Now I look forward to pitches. If you continue to work on weaknesses long enough, you eventually get confident in your abilities and you’ll look forward to the thing you most hated. That’s the truth. And in business you need sales and revenue and they are obtained in many different ways. No matter what business you do in life, the sales skills are skills you need to have.

So when I’m back I’ll do three days a week working with her marketing, advertising, technology and 2-3 days of looking for the next deal.

That’s the plan in the meantime and it’s another opportunity to use that skill.

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The new deal is completely dead…

02 Jul

The new deal that was supposed to start today is over. There was some fraud involved in this. I’m still doing a little investigating because I don’t fully understand the motivation behind the fraud or all the facts here.

I’m going to make a few phone calls tomorrow because there are more people who may not be aware .

I took a month’s vacation thinking that we were starting on a new deal today. They used the name of a legitimate business to try to rope me into something that’s not even a real company. All I can tell you is that there was some serious deception involved in this. I wasted a month without lining something up because we had signed agreements. And by all appearances, after my discoveries today, they are all fraudulent. And yes, you can bet I called about it today.

It’s shocking but there are some really unprofessional people out there who are just looking for an opportunity to take advantage.

My gut tells me there’s a lot more here than even meets the eye.

So I’ll be back to looking for the next deal.

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My vaca ends tomorrow…

30 Jun

After 3 years of no vacation, I took a month off and that vacation ends tomorrow. It was such a glorious month.

I’ve had time over the past month to work on my diet and exercise plan. Having time off, gives you a lot of energy.

This is what I made in the kitchen today for this week:

I made veggie stuffed peppers. They have zucchini, yellow squash, onion, corn, brown rice and quinoa. Then I toss that mixture into my favorite sloppy joe sauce. Then I stuff a 1/2 of green pepper with the mixture and sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese. Bake for an hour at 375. The ones I made were large (4 halves). So when your done, one of those halves is an entire meal. Then I made Strawberry Shortcake with it. A serving of that only has about 100 calories.

I don’t like store purchased egg salad. It has too much fat and no flavor. I make my own spicy-sweet low fat egg salad for sandwiches on french bread. I made a batch of that for lunch for this week. And I baked a cinnamon coffeecake for breakfast because mine has 1/3 the calories of a bakery version. There’s no oil in it. I’m done for the day. There’s no more room in the fridge. But this way I can focus on work tomorrow because it’s going to take an aggressive strategic plan to carry this off.

Now I’m going to read and watch a little TV for the rest of this Sunday.

I am taking a week in August to go to Paris.


You want the stuffed peppers in pictures? I usually don’t post food photos to this blog but here goes:

Step 1: Create the vegetable mixture – zucchini, yellow squash, onion, corn, brown rice and quinoa

Step 2: Toss it with the sloppy joe sauce.

Step 3: Stuff the peppers.

Step 4: This is what they look like before they go in the oven.

Step 5: This is what they look like baked. Sprinkle the cheese on top if you wish.

These are good but they don’t taste like a regular stuffed pepper or a sloppy joe. Just keep in mind that this would have an original taste to it. They are guilt free.

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