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No posts this weekend…

12 Jul

My mother is coming to visit for a week because Monday is my birthday.

We’re spending this weekend at a spa in Orlando.

I’m sorry I will be busy but I will tell you about it later….

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It was the FUNNIEST thing I had ever seen…

10 Jul

I couldn’t stop laughing. And they just looked at me…

I was at The Breakers in Palm Beach this evening with two lovely ladies who are my friends. I drove. Of course, I valet. I always do. I am a regular and a local resident and business woman of Palm Beach county.

And we walk out the front door to collect my car and as soon as we walk out the front door, I see my car parked front and center in the “row of respect.” You know what that is – it’s the row that hotels and restaurants use to showcase expensive cars like Lamborghinis,  Ferraris, Porsches, etc.

But here’s what was so funny. I used to own a very decked out Porsche. It was a custom color – navy blue. I bought it to rip it apart. I put expensive Italian, 20 inch wheels on it. I ripped out all the electronics to do them properly and people marveled and complimented the car to no end. When I stepped out in high heels at night, blue lights lit up the underside of the door. That car received endless respect at the best restaurants in Hilton Head, Savannah and Palm Beach. If you ever want to see that beautiful beast that broke my heart just google the words, “laura kerbyson porsche” and click on the images tab.

Then why was this so funny? I don’t have that Porsche anymore because at 60,000 miles I lost the engine. All the fluids drained from the car and I had to replace the engine in order to sell the car. I bought the car twice. I was so mad…

So what was so funny? It was my Volkswagen that they parked front and center in the row of respect.

I couldn’t stop laughing. My lady friends said, “OMG look at that, you’re front and center.”

“Wow that’s some respect.”

To which my response was, “No, I’m sure it’s because we are the last car in the parking lot.”

They turned and looked at me.

“I am sure I can picture that conversation now. It goes something like this – ‘Head Valet to the Valet – Bring me a car. A Lamborghini or something.”

“We haven’t got any of those left. No Ferrari’s or Porsches either. No Maseratis.”

“What have you got?”

“All I’ve got left is a Volkswagen.”

“Bloody hell, well then bring it up. We have to have a car parked out front.”

To which one of my friend said, “You just made Volkswagen fashionable in Palm Beach.”

“No, I’m sure it’s because we’re the last car.”

I turned to the Valet station at The Breakers and said, “You know that’s a Volkswagen don’t you?”

“Yes, Miss Kerbyson.”

When I bought the Volkswagen my mother said, “Don’t you know that Volkswagen owns Porsche?”

“Of course I do! But those bastards just don’t have ENOUGH of my money at this point. Besides, Mother, unlike the Porsche – it’s RELIABLE.”

I still couldn’t stop laughing as I watched them bring the car up.

It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. A Volkswagen given the highest spot of respect at The Breakers Hotel.

One of my friends says, “I guess the row has nothing to do with respect for the car, maybe it’s respect for the owner.”

“No, I really think it’s because we’re the last car.”

And I laughed and laughed and laughed.

Can you imagine, a guy brings you here on a date and spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on a car so he can end up in that row to impress you and I say, “Yeah that’s nice. They parked my Volkswagen there last week.”

The guy would think I was the world’s biggest liar.

———

What kind of Volkswagen is it? It’s a Passat.

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Today’s fortune…

09 Jul

How appropriate….

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It started off as an innocent enough question…

08 Jul

The good friend (girl friend) I was having dinner with the other evening wanted to know who’s my idea of Mr. Dreamy. Like, if you could pick any type of man who would you pick.

I didn’t immediately have an answer for her. And then i was at the nail salon today and the manicurist and I were having a similar conversation. I was, sitting in the massage chair, getting a pedicure and reading Vanity Fair magazine when I flipped the page and then read an article and saw a photo of my idea of Mr. Dreamy.

“Oh, there he is. That would be my idea of Mr. Perfect. The problem is half the world thinks that too.”

“Who is it?”

“Timothy Berners-Lee. He’s good looking, intelligent and right up my field. And I’m sure he’s got a wife or girlfriend and thousands of women think he’s Mr. Perfect.”

“But that’s your idea of Mr. Perfect.”

“Yep. I would say so.”

‘But I’m not one to pine after something I can’t have but at least now I have an answer for my friend.”

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It’s Sunday…

08 Jul

It’s time to get my hair done, my nails done and go to lunch.

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Security Issues…and what I would rather be doing

07 Jul

I’m sorry to complain because you know I don’t usually – but this is where my time has been going.

I don’t have time for stupid monkey business but this has been the weekend and week to deal with security issues.

I can’t believe how bogus some of this stuff is getting to be. Last year I went through a client’s LinkedIn problem because they shut down the account because we were doing business in the Middle East and they claimed the account was hacked. I never saw any evidence of that but it took us months to resolve it before the account was active again. The client had done nothing wrong. In my opinion, LinkedIn should of had better security. I told Microsoft that directly. The fellow I dealt with was extraordinarily nice however.

Now I’m getting what look like bogus emails that they are going to restrict my account. I’m thinking, “Oh not this again.” Why because I have clients who do business overseas? We aren’t using my account for that purpose. And those were legitimate business discussions. All you can do is report it and ask, “Is this legit or bogus?” Honestly, this looks bogus but last time it wasn’t. So therefore you have to make an inquiry. I haven’t touched my LinkedIn account in a long time.

Then I had a problem from the business dealings I had in Louisiana last summer. I finally turned it over to the Louisiana Department of Justice to ask them to intervene because I am tired to trying to resolve it and getting nowhere.

Then as you know my least favorite server company is Network Solutions and they were up to their old tricks again this week. Every few months they call me with scare tactic phone calls trying to sell something. It’s so unethical. I’ve asked them not to make sales calls to me. This time they were trying to tell me that I had malware one of the old servers. I had to tell them, “That site has had no new software installed in five years. If there’s malware on that server, you’ve had a security breach. When you have a client on an account on a shared server, the security for the server is the responsibility of Network Solutions. Shared accounts are not given site scanning or server scanning tools. We are not the admins of the server. Don’t come crying to me if your server has a problem. That’s your job. Not mine.” I’ve got numerous dedicated servers at Godaddy and you do get tools for maintaining the security of the server and you do have admin rights on those servers.

In all my years of dealing with Godaddy, they’ve never given me a scare tactics phone call. That’s just not their style of business and thank God for that…But I can’t tell you how many times, Network Solutions places those calls in order to sell you something. I have zero trust in that company because of their tactics. I once wanted to copy my own database and they wanted to charge me to unlock it because they locked so that they could charge me if I wanted to move it. It’s totally unethical. I’ve never had a server company do that to me. I hate the fact that I have some old stuff still on their servers, but there’s never enough time or energy to move it all to another server. I’ve told them, “Don’t call me with this B.S. You’re wasting my time.”

Dealing with security problems on the Internet and data breaches at companies that store your information and erroneous data and the dumb things people attempt to do with it. It’s too frequent and it sucks up too much of my time. You know my passion is for design and business.

I was a little offended the other night when a member of our party said to me, “Why would you do something stupid like redesign a Porsche.”

Because that’s what I love to do. I redesign all kinds of things to make them better – real estate, cars, yachts, products, web sites, advertising, branding, companies,  myself – when it comes to the things I like to redesign, nothing is sacred. I just need a person in my life that understands me and why I do what I do. I’ve always said that I will know the right guy when he’s a fan of my work. Because I love the things that I do. I don’t necessarily do them for the financial gain. I do it because I like it. I want someone to respect that. I’ve never had a self respect or self esteem problem because I pursue creative endeavors. For me life has to be more than just about the party it has to be about the pursuit.

But occasionally, I have to take a day to deal with all this petty security crap.

Unfortunately, when you own technology companies, there are people in this world who want to spend their time trying to take you down.

And now I’ve a got a guy who I’ve repeated asked to not contact me and he keeps calling my phone over and over again, texting me, emailing me. It went on until 1:40 am last night and he started it up again today was calling every 30 seconds before I put a block on it. It’s insane.

I should not have to deal with stuff like this. I spent today dealing with it and now I’m not going to do it anymore.

I hate that people come to me for security advice because I am the most technically competent person that they know. But you know that I would much rather be spending my time in other things and facets. I do it when I have to but it’s not my favorite thing to do. It’s just become a necessary component of business.

But then I have to eat my own words because I just had to explain to someone this week, “You know in business we all have to do things we don’t like to do. If I were you, I would quit complaining about it and just do it. This is the nature of business. You have to take the bad with the good.”

It was like a few months ago when M.’s house was broken into and they stole her laptop. She was initially convinced that the laptop was stolen to sell. “No. That old piece of junk was worth less than $50. They wanted the data that was on it. And that’s why they stole the mouse with it.” Then shortly after we changed all the locks on the stores and I had to put the highest level device on my home. Why chance it? Just lock everything down and move on.

And so I guess I’ll have to follow my own advice. Now, you’re free to smack hand over complaining.

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We had an interesting conversation about “the book”…

07 Jul

At dinner the other night, we had a interesting conversation about the book I had promised someone I would write years ago but haven’t done it yet.

It was Irene Hudkins who made me promise that someday I would write a book on my career. I was 19 when she made me promise this.

My dinner guest and I were having a conversation about some of the more interesting bullet points. So we talked about the story of how it all got started many years ago.

I started at 16. I was co-editor of a high school newspaper that won a major award from one of the top ivy league universities. I had no desire in wasting my time flipping burgers as a teenager so I went down to the newspaper and asked for a job as a reporter. They gave me a job writing obituaries and making coffee. I worked my way though high school and gifted program doing this job. Eventually, they gave me little stories. Then bigger stories. Then one day the editor said, “The Beach Boys are coming to town. I’ll give you 8 pages of this newspaper if you think you can fill it.” And I did. It was The Beach Boys special edition.

Then the editor called me in his office one day and said, “United Press International called. They need a stringer to cover the governor of Ohio. For God’s sake, don’t tell them you’re 17.” And so I covered the governor of Ohio and my stories went all over the country. I racked up a slew of journalism awards and landed 13 scholarships to go to college. I talked my way onto my first helicopter to shoot as a photographer when I was 16.

The editor of the paper used to say, “You’ve got talent, brains and balls and that’s going to get you somewhere kid.”

But to pay for living expenses in school, I need more money. I needed real money. My family had plenty of money, but I wasn’t one to ask for it. I wanted to earn what I had in life. First I applied to the third largest ad agency in the country. It was called Fahlgren and Swink. The Vice President was Tom Crooks. They stood me up for my interview. And so I knocked on the door of a General Electric company and asked for a job in marketing. It was one of the agency’s largest clients. I told them I could save them $250,000 from their advertising agency if they hired me. I told Irene who at Fahlgren’s just stood me up and that I wasn’t the kind of girl to sit back and take it. She laughed and she smiled. And she hired me.

And that’s how at 19 years old, I got job four deep from the CEO of General Electric. At the time when I joined their plastics, we were the third largest plastics company in the U.S. We were a little scrappy team.

Irene used to say to me, “You’re 19 and you have the resume of a 35 year old. You’re 4 deep from Jack, someday you promise me you’ll write a book on your career.”

One day they came to my office and said, “We’re buying a company in California. This merger will make us the largest plastics company in the U.S. You, Irene, the CEO are going to New York and you’re going to announce this acquisition to the national press core. You’re a good writer, you get to rewrite the speeches and help plan the event. Make sure it’s a good strategy. Congratulations, because Jack Welch will also be speaking.”

And so we planned a press conference at the 21 Club in New York. And part of the justice of it all is that the VP of Fahlgren’s had to fly on the company plane and attend the event with us. When they told me I would get to fly on the company plane, I was a little shocked when it turned out to be six seater. It was tiny.

We all went to dinner at the 21 Club in New York the night before. And they ordered wine for me. Irene was the only who knew I was 19. “Drink it and don’t say anything,” was her advice. And so I did.

And at four o’clock in the morning before the event started we got a call saying the deal hadn’t closed. Then we got called to a hotel room and told, “You’re going to tell them it’s closed anyways.” And thankfully, the deal closed minutes before the event. This is where I learned to fly by the seat of my pants if I have to.

And after the event, we all went to the hotel bar and it was Jack who would forever teach me a valuable lesson. He looked at me and said, “If what you did was good today, you’ll see that price (stock price) go up. If what you did was bad today, you won’t.”

And so we watched and waited. And the price went up. And he had no idea that I was 19 years old. I was just one of the people that worked for his companies.

And when it was all said and done and General Electric sold the plastic’s division a few years later. They sold it for $11.6 billion dollars. It was one of the largest price tags they would ever get for a company. When they sold General Electric Appliances, they only got $5.4 billion for it. We were worth twice as much as appliances. And as executives we only occupied two small floors of offices in a bank building. I doubt many people even knew we were there.

And so when we flew back from New York from the event, all six of us were almost killed in one of the worst lightening storms you can ever imagine. We left LaGardia after being grounded on the tarmac for six hours. We never should have taken off.

I didn’t get back to Ohio University until 4 a.m. I had a 8 a.m. economics final. I tried to explain to my professor about where I had been.

He looked at me said, “We kind of hope that students with degrees and 20 years experience land the job you have now. You’re only 19. But you’re just going to have to take the exam and get whatever you’re going to get, because that’s life.”

True, it wasn’t my best grade but I still finished college in 2 and 1/2 years and graduated with honors. I would later graduate graduate school with a 4.0 GPA.

But the point of the story is that I learned very early on that if you want something in life, you have to knock on doors and ask for it. No one will hand it to you.

And my career went on to include many, many crown jewels and gems. Before I decided to go into design and computer science my writing career would include The Columbus Dispatch, UPI, The Miami Herald. I would cover NASA, legal issues, science and technology. I was the editor of several magazines. Then I decided that it wasn’t enough of a challenge for me and I wanted to switch over to design and computer science. I was highly decorated in the academic accomplishments because I knew how to work hard.

But Karma wasn’t done paying back those guys at Fahlgren’s who stood me up. Years later when I would become the Kickass Web Mistress of Hard Rock and help build a $600 million dollar theme park, they sent me to Orlando to meet with management when we were building the park. They said, “You know, you’re going to need some help. You’ll need some advertising agencies to assist you.”

“True.”

“You don’t by chance know a guy named Tom Crooks do you? What do you think of his new agency?”

“I like Tom Crooks but unfortunately he stood me up years and years ago and I’ve never quite forgotten it. So if you don’t mind, we’ll be using other agencies.”

And so he didn’t get the account. We hired a couple of agencies. One from New York and one from Tampa. And I went from that to being able to get $750 million dollars to build my own park if I choose to do it. Twice, I’ve planned my own park, only to find risks that would take serious mitigation. I only wanted to do it if I knew the conditions were right.

And 2011 I started my own agencies. Obviously, in the modern era, they aren’t just advertising agencies any more – they’re technology, media and advertising companies. And my companies have had many prestigious clients since that time.

But anytime that someone didn’t show faith in meeting me or my abilities, almost always later in my career would come a day when that person’s name would come up and it was a chance for me to throw them business. And I don’t for a reason.

Why should I have faith in them, when they didn’t have it in me? At every step in my career, I delivered results. Why should I invest in people who are a bad judge of character or who simply didn’t take the time to meet me? And so I don’t.

I never planned it that way, but it’s always managed to work out that way.

So today, I own the companies and I fly the airplane. And last week after 111 years on the Dow Jones Industrial, General Electric was delisted. And I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but they hired morons who drove one of the world’s greatest companies into the ground.

At any rate, Irene was right. I should write the “book.” It’s been the story she thought it would become. She wasn’t wrong. And I owe her a lot for believing in me but she was always a smart cookie.

But that’s how the whole story starts and it continues to gets very, very interesting.

But I’m not serious about writing the book yet.

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So what happened to the deal?

06 Jul

Remember I told you that when you are doing a deal for a very large sum of money, the interested party doesn’t always pass the vetting process.

During that process, they stumbled and as far as I’m concerned gave away their cards. I’m a very intuitive woman.

There are also certain countries and or people in this world that don’t respect American companies and women executives. I think we had had our fill of disrespect. And when you own the asset being sold, you don’t have to put up with that kind of treatment because guess what – we’re the ones holding the cards.

I thought we should walk away. And so did she and we did.

There will be the right buyer at the right time and I never felt like this was the right buyer.

But I said it before and I still think it – this was a dangerous, dangerous deal right from the start. It’s why I said after everything was getting disclosed, “I’m not comfortable flying into that airspace and if we do, do this deal – I think it needs to happen on U.S. soil.” It’s restricted airspace. My radar was also up because I felt like this could be the biggest setup in the world and we need not be stupid about it. We’re two highly educated and experienced women. Money is money but you life is the only one you have. It’s not worth risking it for cash. And this was getting dangerous for a lot of reasons.

If you want me to be explicit – only because I don’t think we should attract this kind of buyer – there are a lot of people who feel very strongly that this buyer gives a lot of money to terrorists. And as capable and as tough a business woman as I can be – I think someone was over estimating my abilities that I could fly through restricted airspace, unarmed, land and complete a deal with a bunch of terrorists. That’s asking a lot, a lot, a whole lot of my abilities. We have something that no one else in the world has but we just need to find the right buyer and for me, that kind of deal needs to be based on trust.

Some deals in business aren’t worth doing. Last year, I walked away from taking $750 million dollars because I would never take that money unless I was absolutely sure, I could pay a big return on that investment. One of the players I needed at the table, lost my trust and certain elements came to light that would never work. So what do you do? You walk away because decisions that you can live with cannot be based off of greed.

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Making my way through projects…

06 Jul

I am making my way through projects. I have a very long list but I’m making progress.

This is the last weekend I have to myself before my mother comes for a week from South Carolina. She’s coming for my birthday and we’re going to a spa in Orlando, with dinner and night out. She wanted to do something for my birthday but I had money I needed to spend in Orlando so I suggested we do this.

However, I hate driving in Orlando. It’s not my favorite city to navigate. However, I am looking forward to the massage and pedicure.

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I thought I would fall out of my chair….

05 Jul

I was with my dear friend Julie. She’s so talented and so beautiful – She was a Miss USA, a first runner-up for Miss Universe and she really is a dear friend to me and we hit it off so well when she started modeling for me.

So I told her the whole story about visiting the Psychic in New Orleans and what he said about the man I would meet and marry and everything else he said to me. I also told her what he said to me, “The guy is English.” He described this man in detail to a “t” and he described my personality to a “t” without knowing anything other than my first name, my palms and a deck of cards.

So Julie knew what the psychic had said, “You will meet a man between July 2018 and July 2019. He will be from England. You will not find him. He will find you. He will be doing his own thing in business. He will have his own money. You will meet him and you will fall in love and you marry this guy…and on and on the reading went.”

So I asked Julie, “Do you think this is a bunch of crap? I waited all this time for the mystery guy to show up. What do you think?”

She was fascinated. So she and I went to dinner at Bice and then we decided to go for drinks at The Breakers. I have to admit that I have the world’s best life. I’m becoming well known among businesses in Palm Beach, I run a successful business, I have great friends – I have a great life. Anyone would want my life…

So while we are at The Breakers, a very classy gentleman walks up, has a seat next to me and strikes up a conversation. “Where are you from?” I ask.

“England. But I’ve lived in Palm Beach for 14 years. Fancy I haven’t met you in 14 years.”

What do you do for a living? I own lots and lots of boats and I used to own things like popular nightclubs in London. I like music.

I thought Julie and I were going to have a heart attack and fall out of our seats.

When he goes to the bathroom, I say to Julie, “Do you think this is the mystery guy from England?”

“I don’t know for sure but it sounds like it. If he asks you out, you better go. You should give him your number.”

And so he bought three rounds of drinks, we saw a lovely fireworks show at The Breakers and indeed, I did give him my number.

The ball is in his court. Let’s find out if indeed is our mystery is the man from England.

I am shocked that this actually happened. I thought it would a bunch of phony baloney and we would laugh about it years later. I’m not laughing anymore. I am waiting to see what happens next.

I mean, what you think if you were told that a certain gentleman would walk into your life and then over a year later, as predicted it happens. What would you think?

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This is what Palm Beach was meant for…

04 Jul

And I’m off – to afternoon at the pool a friend, dinner, fireworks and then a nightcap at The Breakers.

This is what Palm Beach is meant for – a pair of Jack Rogers, a sundress, a pool, a cocktail dress for evening, dinner and drinks.

Happy 4th of July.

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The land of the living…

03 Jul

That is something that I have to return to…

I never get sick and I don’t know what to say about this but I’ve had the world’s biggest migraine headache for over five days. It’s a little better today but I’m at the point where when I see my neck doctor Tuesday, I’m going to have to ask him about migraine medicine. I’ve never had an issue until now but it hit me like a Mack truck. I’m still going to work, but it hasn’t been easy at all. The only thing that helps is sleep.

One of my girl friends from New York is in town (she also has a place in Palm Beach) and she and I are getting together tomorrow for dinner and fireworks. I can’t wait to see her. I always joke but it’s true, when she and I go out, the guys always want to pick her up. I don’t stand a chance with the guys when she’s around. She’s a model. She’s absolutely beautiful. They love her. I try to get all the beauty tips I can from her.

I tried to tell her that in the two months you’ve been gone, I look a lot different. I had some minor work done (shots for removing volume) and I’ve lost a bunch of weight. I’m down to 124 lbs. Traditionally, for years and years and years of my life I was 115-125. Then I gained some weight for a couple of years and now I’m back to my old ways and it came right off. Some people thought I looked better with the weight and some people not. It’s a different look for sure with me.

All I know is with a headache like this there isn’t going to be any weight gain…

I can’t get over in the past two weeks how much that changed my face structure. Quite a bit actually…In a couple of months or so I’ll get new photos.

At any rate, it will be something for us to talk about at dinner.

Which version of Laura did you like?

I don’t want to go back to how thin I was as a professor in the first five years. I was too thin back then. I didn’t like that look.

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There’s not going to be a post for several days…

02 Jul

I am just not well. That’s all I can say. I don’t remember ever being this sick.

I’m going to the office and then I’m coming home and going straight to bed again.

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I think it’s breaking…

01 Jul

That was short lived because it was back within 2 hours of waking up. I’m going to try to go into the office tomorrow but I bet I end up wearing my shades all day long. This monstrous headache will not go away and it’s making me motion sick. This has something to do with those mosquito bites that I know. I’ve never had a headache go on for over three days in my life.

I went back and got another container of Dramamine today. I’ve never been motion sick in my life. I can fly upside down and sideways and it doesn’t bother me.

———————–

I woke up a a few minutes ago and I think the nausea is going away. I just feel super, super weak but better.

The strangest thing happened last night. Over 20 years ago when I was married my husband and I got legionnaires disease from a vacant office building. We were really sick. There had been some stagnant water under the building that we didn’t know about. We ended up getting a bat inside the house when we were the sickest..

There’s one inside my home now because I heard it flying around in the middle of the night. I heard the wings and I could tell something was in the room.

I wonder why bats are attracted to people who are really, really sick?

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I have never been so sick in all my life…

30 Jun

I am seriously starting to get concerned that this is West Nile Virus and not the flu. We’ve had mosquitoes in the Worth Avenue location and despite spray, I had some nasty bites. There’s a fountain inside the store and it attracts those things.

I got horrifically sick yesterday morning and I still feel really, really bad.

I haven’t taken a sick day in 30 years. I tried to go to the office yesterday morning. I had to stop the car on the way to work to throw up. By the time I got to the office, one of jewelers says to me, “Don’t die we need you.”

I looked like how I felt I am sure. I am hoping for some mercy tomorrow. This is awful.

I have a monster headache, nausea, fever, chills, neck ache. It’s not good and I am ready for this to go away.

I can’t tolerate a shred of light so this post will be short.

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Plowing through work…

28 Jun

I worked on designing trade show banners, magazine ads, etc today. We’re getting items ready for Amazon, Ebay, 1st Dibs…we’re really ramping up. We’re hiring additional staff (now video) because there’s too much work for the team that we have.

M. talked to me about something serious today, and I agreed to do it. The business and the stores are a family business but in the event something should happen to her, there’s not a family member that has the skills it takes to run the company so she asked me if I would do it if something happened to her. Of course I would. I wouldn’t give it a second thought. I am the best person to run the company. When she’s not around, it’s part of my duties now. Let’s hope that nothing ever happens to M. But if it does, her family is kind of like my own at this point and I would look out for them the same way she does. And she also knows I have the business skills as I’ve run my companies for years.

The family need not worry. I would look after them as if it were my own.

I had a client, years ago on Hilton Head where I had to do this for him, even though it was a temporary situation. He owned a businesses, but wasn’t capable of actually doing the business itself. He lost enough staff that it became a crisis point and he wasn’t even servicing clients and that means no revenue. I came in and spent a couple of months to get the business running again.

———————–

So on another note – What did I wear today? I wore a solid color, I’ve never worn. It was a Kelly green dress with a slim black belt and matching jewelry. Boy did that set my green eyes on fire. They get really intense with that color. M. thinks I should wear it more often. She liked the strong color. I wore my favorite large pearl choker that M. gave to me as gift. I love it because it goes with everything. Pearls are so classic. You can never go wrong with them.

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What did I wear today?

27 Jun

I’ve been wearing a lot of Calvin Klein so I thought, let’s mix it up and do a fun print instead of a solid.

I went a little Bohemian with some fun and flirty jewelry and a pair of Jack Rodgers. M. is getting the biggest kick out of the daily fashion show at the office.

We are having fun with the, “and how did she style this dress?”

We are both in agreement that “A line” style dresses fit my figure the best. I think it’s because I have really long legs.

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The improvement plan…and something totally unrelated – “Tomorrow’s Child”

27 Jun

One of my friends is coming into town July 4th. She knew all the work I was doing on my recent “improvement plan” into my looks. As you know, a designer loves to design anything – including themselves.

She saw the before and now she’ll see the progress. She’s a model so I am interested in what she thinks.

I still have some swelling in my jaw line. Somebody asked me, “Does it still hurt?”

Yes it does. Four weeks later it is still tender to the touch. The shots are not for the faint of heart. It’s not the needle that creates the pain. It’s the medicine. Admittedly, it was more than I bargained for but I knew that this was a one time deal because it’s permanent. It did improve what I wanted it to improve in my upper neck.

I was back at the gym today and unfortunately I can’t watch the scale go down anymore because I was right – the minute I start gaining muscle back. The weight stops dropping because muscle weighs more than fat. I am working on toning and shaping a few things up.

My trainer insisted the other day that I didn’t need to lose any weight. But I keep telling people, if I don’t like it off, it’s so easy to gain it back… I don’t want to take too much off where I lose my figure. I like having a figure and if I take too much off, I lose that. So it’s going to be fine line over what to do and how to shape it.

Something totally unrelated but interesting from last weekend. I found the CD of the audio recording of the psychic from New Orleans. So on my way to the market, I popped it in my car’s CD player and listened to it. I realized after listening to it that one of things he said would happen actually did. He said I would get a new home. I had forgotten he said that and I did buy a new home this year.

It was kind of amazing when he looked at my hands and instantly knew volumes about my personality. One of the things he said is also true. He said I was, “Tomorrow’s Child. You are 75 to 80 years ahead of your time. Your an old soul with lots of experience.”

He told me a lot more about my personality. It was all true and it was all positive. Maybe I’ll tell you more in a few days. I was amazed that somebody could look at my hands and actually hit the nail on the head. I’ve actually thought about letting people listen to it. But I wanted to see how many of the things actually happen before I do that. I’m sure some of the things will be right and some not. But the personality stuff was completely right.

The audio recording was made a year ago in July.

When he said, “Tomorrow’s Child” one of the first things that came to mind was when I was in graduate school in 1995 and told my professors that I wanted to do my master’s thesis on that I thought everyone would be reading their news from a computer. They told me it was the “stupidest thing they had ever heard. No one is going to read their news from a computer.” It was a very tough sell. But I did it anyway.

So that’s what they should have called me, “Tomorrow’s Child.”

I think they called me something else :)

In 1992 when I was working at FIU and could take graduate courses for free, I did an independent study and research on hypertext stories – translation – this was the predecessor to the modern day video game – it’s a non-linear story. I remember some comments of staff at FIU saying, “And who would want to do a non-linear story?”

I brought the first black and white unibody Macintosh into General Electric when I worked for Polymerland. I told them I was going to make a corporate magazine with it. They all gathered around my desk and stared at it like it was an alien.

“You’re going to do what with this thing?”

I made it with PageMaker version 1.0. You have to understand that the computer didn’t belong to G.E. I paid over $4000 for the computer and one of HP’ first ink jet printers. I brought the computer from home.

One of the things I never got to build, but yet I can see how it needs to be – is the way a glass cockpit in an airplane should be – not the way they are now.

One of my kiosks designs I created was a hand driven interface before Windows touch screens could do everything I put in. They had just started touch screens but their screens couldn’t do what I programmed into the system. But a hundred programmers will always out number one and it was not hard for them to over take me on the number of features. So I built it out, used it and moved on.

But they never changed their operating system to truly have a hand driven interface and I think my designs are more representative of what we’ll have in the future. It was definitely designed for the kinesthetic learner.

I did that with the Porsche too. I put 20 inch wheels on it and ripped out the electronics so that it would have Garmin navigation and be able to understand an iphone or Android. Now 20 inch wheels are put on Porsches by Porsche. Now, they just need to add the underlighting system so that when a lady in high heels steps out of her Porsche at night, the door lights up underneath so she can see.

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One of my models – explain it to me…

26 Jun

Bad bathroom light, pajamas, no bra, no makeup – and why is this a better photo than any stupid staged thing? I just do not pose well in front of camera. I was noticing that none of the pictures the other day actually look like me. I am so animated in person and I just hate posing. I’m just screwing around and having fun with this one.

What am I wearing tomorrow. I was thinking about having fun with this one…

How much does the jewelry cost? The big pieces between $1.4 million and $22 million. We are not for the average person. Very exclusive. We do a lot of 10 carat engagement rings these days…

We just added another Guinness Book of World Records piece to our collection. It was really desiged for a cowboy. It’s the world’s largest opal set into a belt with gold belt buckle. Of course our Paraiba is in the Guinness. The last inquiry I determined to fail the vetting process. We got right up to the end and he gave his hand away. I wasn’t born yesterday….

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The kiosk is running…

26 Jun

So consider the whole picture before looking at the videos. In order to make this happen, the jewelry is designed and made by hand on site in Palm Beach. We interview, test shoot and hire the models. M. styles the models. I shoot the pictures. C.M. shoots some pictures. It takes months of photo shoots, locations – lots of time and effort. I edit the photos. Add the banners. I setup the server at Godaddy in Arizona. I create the software that runs on the server – that pushes the images to a Chromebook, that powers this kiosk wirelessly from the backroom.

So now, it all comes together in the showroom…

These are just a few quick clips. The slideshow goes on for a long time. The photos running on it, we created for other purposes. Now that the kiosk is in place, I’ll create content specific to the device in the future. It’s a work in progress.

Today I was going through the old discreet math formulas in my head trying to calculate if I could push a signal that far and what it would take. I finally came up with the, “ok I think I can do this but there might be some lag…let’s do it anyways and see what happens.” The whole system might need to be optimized before I am done.

But this is the kind of stuff you can make if you have a design and computer science background. This is just one of my many projects in the works.

And who says, “America doesn’t make anything anymore”?

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Progress Photos…

24 Jun

Ok, so you want to see the progress? I apologize that these are bad cell phone photos. But you’ll get an idea…

The first photo is me straight out of the shower – no makeup and the hair has not been touched up.

I didn’t buy the shirt. The crew at Arnold Palmer Apparel and Sport Casuals gave it to me when I did some work for them. It’s part of my work out clothes that they gave to me. What does the shirt say?

“Seriously Crazy.

Stupidly Funny.

Carelessly Perfect.”

Which perfect I am not which is why I’ve been working on the exercise plan and diet. Nor am I crazy. Funny? Yes.

So now, let’s add a nice dress, some makeup, touch up the hair just a little and some bling. And this is the progress…

And how does the neck look when it’s not being strained for photos while holding a camera?

And those are the progress photos.

Moving the teeth is in progress and will be finished in January.

I always hate the stupid expression I have to have on my face when I shoot “progress photos.”

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The most important part of the diet…

24 Jun

The most important part has unfortunately been to not eat out.

If I want to cut calories, I have to do it myself. And besides, I tell myself, I put in that huge kitchen for a reason.

So now that we’re into the hot part of the summer, I cooked all morning and made my summer time favorites – chicken salad on whole wheat, coleslaw, deviled eggs and chicken,vegetable and quinoa soup. I don’t eat mayo so I use a very light dressing or recipes without it. The deviled eggs barely have any calories the way I make them. But they are full of protein.

It means I can just come home after work and find my reduced calories goodies in the fridge and most of those selections are nice and cold.

Now after 3 1/2 hours of cooking, I’m going to the gym for another workout. I was a good girl this week. This is workout number 3 and added a fourth day yesterday with my trek up the beach and back.

If I’m good all week, I am thinking about allowing myself some sushi next weekend.

Is all this working? Yes, slowly but surely.

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I went to the beach for a walk…

23 Jun

I just live 10 minutes from the beach. I went today for a walk on the beach. It was the first time I had been in a while and I was so surprised to see the beach erosion that happened in the last major storm. I remember when the houses that you see the roof tops of were actually on the beach…

Other than that, I did my usual Saturday – clean, laundry and go to the market. I spent some time on the couch today reading the Palm Beach Post on my iPad. I’m just trying to relax a little.

Walking on the beach reminds me to be grateful for the fact that I get to live in paradise. I love this place like no other…

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I thought about it last night…

23 Jun

I’m feeling like my batteries need recharged. Everyone gets to feeling this way.

So last night, I thought, I need to make a concerted effort to do things that are really relaxing on the weekends. I should do things like the pool, the beach, the park, reading some magazines, doing the home spa stuff, etc. I probably need to do this for several months.

We’re into the hot time of the year which makes those activities challenging.

I’m not a TV watcher but I should probably get into a series to watch at least one show on the weekend – something, anything that would get me to sit down on the couch for an hour.

I started back to the gym this week and that may be why I am feeling a drop in energy. It’s too hot to do that kind of activity outdoors.

So that’s what I need to work on for the next couple of months.

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The vertical kiosk is installed and other news…

22 Jun

The 60 inch vertical kiosk monitor is now installed in the showroom. Tomorrow I will get the content ready and put a system in place to power it. It should be ready in a few days. We’ve spent months, shooting models in beautiful clothes with all the jewelry and now this will be once of the nicest ways to display the work to build a brand. We have thousands of photos to choose from. I’m really looking forward to seeing the work play on the wall. People strolling down Worth Avenue in Palm Beach will be able to see it run at night as well.

After work I really had to force myself to go to the gym. Do you ever have days when you have a headache and you know that getting on the treadmill is not going to be pleasant because of it? Today was one of those days, but I did it.

So what am I wearing tomorrow? It’s a navy Tommy Hilfiger dress with the shoulders cut out of it.

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This seems so weird…

21 Jun

I know this sounds stupid, but I’m serious. I haven’t worn the color red is over 15 years. But in the 202 dresses M. gave to me, she gave me a few really great red dresses. I never wear red.

But I think I am going to wear this great looking red dress tomorrow. But I’m not kidding, I haven’t worn red in 15 years. It’s not my favorite, but I do like the dress.

I bought a vintage bangle red, gold and black bangle to go with the dress.

It will be interesting when I put the dress on if I like the color on me. I am going to test it, and wait to see if anyone gives a compliment (and doesn’t get aggressive with me – we all know a bull gets aggressive with red…). That’s how I know if it’s a good dress for my look.

But let me clarify – when I say I haven’t worn red – I don’t have so much as t-shirt, pair of underwear or any household gadget in that color. If you were to come in my house, you wouldn’t find a single speck of red anywhere. It is a big deal for me to put on a red dress. I’m just not sure I will like it.

Not to be superstitious or prejudice, but every time I’ve ever worn red, it leads to bad days. There’s a big part of me that says, “Don’t do it..” Then there’s a part of me that says, “You are being SO stupid. Wear it and see what happens.”

———

On second thought, I don’t feel like having a bad day tomorrow and red always equals a bad day for me. I’m going to wear turquoise and navy and put the red dress off for a while.

I have an aversion to the color and I have for many, many years.

People react very negatively to the color red. That’s my experience. We’ll test it again another day. If you’ve ever taken a class called, “The Psychology of Color” you understand why I say this…

It’s the reason why you are most likely to get a ticket driving a red car.

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I am so happy with my life…

20 Jun

I came home from the gym today and when I walked through the door I thought, “Wow, it’s been almost six months since you bought this and renovated it.” And I couldn’t be happier with my choice, because it just suits me and what I want in life right now. I wake up on weekend mornings to a beautiful view, in something that’s like a picture out of paradise. But it wasn’t just that I renovated. On a real estate purchase, I love bang for the buck. And then I love to bring it alive through my design work. So it’s my design work, out of my head for me. That’s why it fits.

When it comes to my work, I couldn’t be happier with all the creative projects and analytical matters that I am working on at the moment. I’ve been doing this for so long in my career – and it never gets old. I love what I do and it’s a big part of who I am. Having a creative aspect is so important. I live to design things, I always have.

And this year, I decided to change all the little things about myself that I didn’t like and now the results are beginning to show up and I’m glad I had the discipline to do it. Not surprising, a lot of it was aesthetics. I hope next year is as good as this year because I am enjoying this and I’m grateful to have it.

There were years in my life when I faced huge challenges and at the time, I wondered how I was ever going to get past all of it. The year I was first diagnosed with the neck injury, I couldn’t imagine that I could rise to the challenge and do everything I was going to have to do to live with it. Now we actively manage it and it’s just part of life. There’s never a moment when it’s not there but you learn over the years how to tune it out to the best of your abilities. Tonight, leaving the gym I could really feel it. So I came home and got into that shower that could fit 5 people and I just let the jets and the hot water rain down on it. A half hour later, I feel like a new woman. There’s nothing that works like hot water. Water is my best friend in life. But I wouldn’t have this attitude if we weren’t actively managing it and doing something about it.

And I remember the year when I first opened up my business in the first year of the recession. Oh it was brutal. The recession was such a challenge as an entrepreneur. But I survived it all.

I think back to the years when I was a computer science and design professor and I would go in at 8 a.m. and because I had to teach a night class two days a week, I wouldn’t get home until 10 p.m. On the nights I wasn’t teaching, I had to learn the constantly changing field so I could teach new material. I basically worked 6 days a week, 16 hour days to do it. Because when I wasn’t studying, I was grading and giving feedback. I did it for 9 grueling years. I was a walking encyclopedia by the time I was done. People couldn’t fathom how I knew all that – it’s because I went to college for the equivalent of six years and then nine more years of the most intense study I’ve ever done. That’s 15 years of study. You just can’t imagine.

Design, computer science and business are always changing. In my last three years of teaching I was also assigned the BSBA degree to teach and advise. I had also gone to business school previously for a specialization within my first degree. So I did it even though design is my real passion, marketing and advertising are second. I’m a good manager. I’ve always been a good manager. So eventually, people tap into that…

It was a sad day today for me in part to learn that after 111 years, General Electric was dropped from the Dow Jones. I was so proud of the work I did for them. I worked for them during their most successful years. I thought, “Wow, all these people now know how I felt when Hard Rock Park fell of the stock exchange but in that case it wasn’t our fault.” GE’s problems are definitely the fault of management and not knowing how to react to a changing economy. I read on the Internet today that most of GE’s former employees feel the same way I do.

But at the same time, I have to sit back and say, I’m really grateful I took a lot of hard roads in life and now I can enjoy the benefits of taking those hard roads. I have a beautiful home, work I love, I live in Palm Beach county (one of the prettiest places on earth), I work with nice people, I’m in good health, I like what I see when I look in the mirror, 30 years of my career has given me an unbelievable skill set that I feel really good about. There’s a lot to be grateful for when I look at the entire picture. It wasn’t always easy but it was worth it to get here.

There were a lot of times in my life when I had people around me who couldn’t see how I was ever going to get to this point. And eventually you learn that you have to let those people out of your life, even if it’s just for a few years, until you achieve what you need to achieve and they can see they were wrong, or maybe they never see because they never look again – and that’s ok too. You can’t let negative people hold you back from what you want out of life.

If you are willing to do the really hard things in life, like tell people, “You need not be in my life right now” or “Ok, so you made a bad investment, cut your losses quickly and move on to a more successful market or investment of your time,” then your picture will improve if you know in your heart that you have the skills to succeed. But always remember that no one succeeds without mistakes. They will happen.

Now I get up every morning and I wear beautiful clothes, beautiful jewelry and I go to work on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach – another piece of paradise. As a little girl, it’s everything you want to be when you grow up. You want to look beautiful and you want to be successful.

That’s my advice for today.

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How was Miami and how do I feel today?

18 Jun

The trip to Miami was good. There’s always a nice breeze down there. I was at the Epic Hotel. I had a meeting with 1st Dibs, which we are new to developing on their platform. It’s a luxury item platform and I specialize in luxury brands.

Now I have to go back and break the news to M. that I was right – the algorithms are written the same was a Google’s. I wanted to do certain things from the beginning and she said “no” but I was right and her strategy won’t work. In order to work, she needs to let me do my plan. I’ll explain it all to her and maybe we’ll change what we are doing.

I gave them some input into features that I would like to see.

I thought I had strep throat, but it’s related to the new clear plastic liners in my mouth. My body is rebelling against the fact that I am moving my teeth. I saw someone I knew yesterday who commented about how great I am looking these days and the plan and the work is paying off. The comment was, “You didn’t look this young 15 years ago. This is actually working.”

The plan involved – losing weight, getting injections into my jaw and neck to decrease volume and tighten it up, move my teeth forward to the position they were in in my 20s, completely revamping the texture of my hair, cool sculpting my waist,  tighten my skin- the list goes on. I had deciding this was the year for the tune up. “You’ve easily taken 10 years off your appearance.”

That was the goal. My mother said, “Your teeth aren’t that crooked. ” But it was as I suspected, when we did the 3d of where the teeth shifted, all of them shifted back, so my teeth aren’t holding the skin as tight around the mouth – which adds to the appearance of age and I no longer liked my smile. I don’t do fillers because they are temporary and when I looked at the structure, I thought, “If I just shift the teeth back to where they were in my 20s, the age will come off because the structure will be more correct. It will only take 6 months of these clear liners that people can’t see.

But the downside is my poor jaw feels like it was tortured enough recently. I am still swollen from the other stuff. The doctor had told me it would be July 1st before all the swelling would be gone. But what we did definitely worked. I lost a good inch.

On the weight side, I’m at 126 but thinking about taking it to 120 to see how that looks. I might not like it so I haven’t decided how much to take off. It was really all about switching items in my diet. The big problem is now that I’m going back to the gym, that number won’t really change because I gain muscle (which is weight). I have to be careful not to do too much. That’s why I am meeting with the trainer tomorrow night.

But my target has been by January 1st all the new improvements should be done. When I’m all done, I get some good photos.

My friend said, “My God, who are you? You can see all the improvements. You look great.”

My life has been great this year, I just want to polish it off and bring back the girl that used to be there.

Right or wrong, there’s always been a strong correlation between the better I look, the more money I make. I don’t know – maybe it’s because they want to talk design with someone who looks like they’ve put some thought into their own. As for the computer science, I think I just look more approachable. And in terms of my photography work, people definitely smile back bigger when you look your best on the other side. Those are just the facts.

This morning I went to Palm Beach and unlocked the store on Worth Avenue before heading to Miami. When I fishing for my keys, a lady walking down the street says, “That’s a really nice dress.”

“Thank you so much.”

Thank you to M. for the stellar new wardrobe of $20,000 worth of clothes. It was the icing on the cake for the new look. Now I look like a new woman.

I can’t tell you how many people have commented on how nice the hair is, it’s shiny and smooth and soft. I agree. It’s staying.

Now ignore the big hair in the photo (what can I say it was the 80s) – just look at the mouth. This was my senior photo. This is how far out the teeth and around the mouth should be. What we’re doing will be more like this than it is now.

The photo that was taken with Julie and Kylie last month – I was at 135 in that photo. That photo was also before the work on my jaw and neck. That work is permanent.

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It was a slow but productive weekend…

17 Jun

I’m almost sure I woke up with step throat on Saturday. It’s really painful to swallow and very swollen. That’s very surprising because I never get sick.

So I used this weekend to get routine things done – clean, pay bills, grocery shop, etc.

I went down the street and joined a gym because it’s getting too hot in Florida to do some activities outside. I am meeting with a trainer Tuesday night to get a fitness plan based on their equipment. Hopefully by Tuesday this throat issue will be gone. I didn’t really feel like working out today.

Monday (tomorrow), I am going to Miami for the day to a seminar and class.

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Thrilled!

16 Jun

Tough client and I delivered the first Look Book and was waiting to be slaughtered with criticism.

OMG, I’m celebrating. I just got the text. She loved it.

I shot photos, edited the photos, designed the book, the whole nine yards. C. shot some of the photos but I did his editing. It was a lot of work.

All I can say is thank God. Thank God. She likes it! She used the word “loved it”. Thank you so much.

The cruise ships will get the printed Look Book and the other version will go online.

The first book is 64 pages.

Yes, it’s the one where we pulled out all the stops, Miss USA, Miss Brazil, model from Aeropostale…

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Excited about progress…

15 Jun

Don’t you love it when you have progress on a tough item in your life on your “self improvement” list?

I decided to get on the scale this evening and find out if my new simple strategy was working.

The scale read, “126 lbs.”

It’s definitely working. I was amazed the scale went down three pounds from the last time.

What’s the plan. It’s simple. I have a protein shake for breakfast (200 calories). I eat a power bowl for lunch (350 calories) and then it’s my choosing of reasonable dinner – tonight it was a southwest salad. Drinks are vitamin water, water or diet green tea. If I want a drink instead of Chardonnay it’s a Vodka Tonic (flavored water). It’s less calories. If I want a snack it’s a protein bar.

By jobs, it’s working.

I don’t have time for a complicated diet. I need simple. Thank God this is working.

I just started this recently but it seems to be coming off pretty fast.

Hmmm. I could make further calories cuts and switch that drink to a gin and tonic. That used to be my first choice years ago – Tanqueray and Tonic.

I’m thinking “126?” it’s no wonder I could fit in the model’s clothes.

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What’s new?

15 Jun

Same deal, different day.

Eight shots in the back of my neck yesterday. What’s it been now, 25-30 years with this neck injury? It’s all about how do we keep it going. There was nothing new about yesterday – same deal, different day. Let’s do it. We do what we’ve been doing for years.

I go once a month, every month and I have for years and years and years.

I went and got my nails done tonight by Kevin. He said the same thing M. told me, “You look so pretty today.”

Don’t get excited. He’s married. The only people that ever see me are models, women and married men in the course of business. I spend my life behind a computer but I always get up and dress like it’s one big party. It’s more fun that way. I love clothes, jewelry, makeup and computers. Style. That’s what I love. What can I say? I spend my life behind a computer and a camera.

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Yes, I saw it and I corrected them…

14 Jun

Yes, I saw the article in NOLA.com yesterday that was incorrect in saying that the city of New Orleans hadn’t had anyone with money look at the old theme park. That’s absolutely not true. I had overseas investors with money and I spent 3 months looking a feasibility of rebuilding that park and also building a completely new park in New Orleans. If you’ve read the old blog posts you know how much work I put into this and I took up a second residence in New Orleans for 3 months to do it.

Quite frankly, part of the problems with officials in New Orleans is their lack of honesty. It kind of ticks me off that they told NOLA.com that that was the situation. The reality is that there’s problems with the land and there’s a huge amount of risk. It’s not that the investment group didn’t have the money or means to pursue the project. People need to get their facts straight.

It’s just like they told me they fixed the drainage pumps in the city and then while I am there the city floods. They also told me a tall tale about a famous lodging chain that was looking to purchase part of the property. I checked out the story and it wasn’t true. There was no interest.

I hate to be blunt but they aren’t being honest and what was reported was not accurate.

You can read old blog posts for yourself and look at http://vervethemepark.com.

Meanwhile, it is a waste of taxpayer money when you can’t get the city to get serious about doing something with the property. It does start to make you wonder what the real motivation is for deterring investors. I certainly was not encouraged by the city. John Cummings was the only one who really wanted the park because he land to sell that was better land. I liked John.

People don’t want to do business with people they can’t trust.

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Ok, that was kind of fun…

13 Jun

I needed some electrical work done so I had somebody come over to my condo and he looks at the guitar sitting in the dining room and he looks at the pictures on the walls and a few questions later he’s like, “OMG, you’re Laura. You’re THAT Laura. You are one of the coolest women in the world. I have to give you discount.”

He said, “I noticed the Jimi Hendrix…”

It’s fun when people put 2 and 2 together and figure it out.

It’s fun to watch them look at the old work and see their expressions.

You can tell when somebody’s a fan and when somebody’s not or when they have no idea even after they see the work on the walls.

It’s fun when you see somebody appreciate it.

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Social Media Experiment…

12 Jun

Sorry there was no post last night. We tried a social media experiment for a client and I got caught up in watching the live results.

It did far better than I thought it would. It just goes to show that you learn something new all the time. It was fascinating to watch.

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