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Upgrading technology…

20 Oct

Every time I thought about my home project “to do” list this weekend, I kept thinking. “I don’t want to do that this weekend. What else is on the list?”

I didn’t want to continue to work on the window project because I need a break from it.

I didn’t want to go to the driving range because I am getting a massage today and the driving range will just make me sore and defeat the purpose of the massage.

Finally, I found something on the list I was willing to take on – Upgrade my own personal antiquated technology. I always make sure everyone around me has the best of everything and then when I start looking at my own stuff, it’s well – old. So I ordered a new phone. It doesn’t ship until the first week of November. I had to order it because I need the larger storage space. Then I ordered an Apple Watch.

That is the thing that shocks my friends so much. Back in 2015 I was making designer technology accessories including Apple Watch bands. I discontinued doing it when a hurricane wiped out the inventory that was not insured. But I always preferred that my watch look like a piece of jewelry. So I never bought an Apple Watch. My how things change. I think the watch will be more beneficial for work and work outs. I am tired of dealing with wired headphones and having to buy yoga pants for the gym with a cell phone pocket in them. If that could all move to a watch, I could see the benefit. Taking a call on the watch vs. a phone when you’re in the car, I could see a benefit in that. So that’s why I finally caved in and ordered the watch. I still don’t like the way these things look but of course I’m changing the band on the watch. We’ll see how this looks.

I won’t have it until November either. Why? Because there’s no point in setting up two devices at two different times. It’s easier to do them both at the same time.

Anyways, enough for now. I’m off to my massage. It’s my favorite day of the month.

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My thoughts on the Hard Rock Hotel Collapse…

19 Oct

It’s storm season and that structure is unstable. So they are brining in demolition teams with explosives to bring down the two cranes.

I’m sure you know this, but let there be no doubt, as soon as you’ve gathered all the evidence that you’re going to need for litigation you need to demo that entire building and the sooner the better.

I wouldn’t try to salvage anything from it.

I met with Hesalip Engineering when I was in New Orleans. I very quickly determined that they were not a firm I would consider for my project. I was looking at spending a lot more money on building the park, hotel, campground, spa and waterpark because I was bringing in a firm from out of state. There’s not much expertise in that city.

But let me say, if you need the name of a true Shark attorney, I do know where to send you. If you want a referral, text me and I’ll tell you who to talk to.

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I hate this cycle…

18 Oct

I started this “cycle” for lack of a better word of waking up at 4:30 in the morning. It’s rough considering I put in a long day on a project yesterday (I am driving back and forth to Boca Raton). I live right in between Palm Beach and Boca Raton. I do that so I can drive 20 minutes either way. I came home and immediately went to the gym for a few hours. I finally had dinner at 11:30 last night and then went to bed.

And then 4:30 a.m. rolls around and I’m wide awake. I hate it.

I guess it will be one of those days when I can make my power breakfast. Avocado Toast on a Norwegian Crisp Bread with Beefsteak Tomato, two eggs scrambled, a half a glass of orange juice and coffee.

I think Saturday, my plans need to be to stay home and chill out. Maybe do some reading and relax a little. There’s always the usual weekend stuff that needs to be done. But maybe I need some chill time.

But right now at 5:15 a.m. I think I am going to have some coffee and clean some of the house. You know I keep it immaculate because I have allergies to dust and I just like neat, organized and clean.

I would love to go to the driving range Saturday and learn how to hit my new club.

————–

This actually worked out well. I cleaned the house, did the laundry, and cooked breakfast. Now I do not have to waste any of my weekend cleaning. So there’s a big plus.

Tonight I am going to have a candle light bath in some salts with nice music. That is my favorite.

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I just heard about the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans…

16 Oct

I’ve been very busy this week and I just heard the news from a few day ago. I didn’t hear the news when it happened.

I am very sorry that Hard Rock has to go through that experience. They are a first rate company who always does everything well. I am sure that this has nothing to do with the brand and rather with the construction company.

But it total honesty, I am not surprised that construction crews in New Orleans would have this kind of disaster. When I went to New Orleans to build the theme park, I found a lot of substandard work and work ethic. I found that the people I met with had very little regard for human safety. If you read the old blog posts, you know all the stories.

The lies and the dishonesty are what lead me to pull out of doing a project in New Orleans. I went and I lived there for at four months. It was an eye opening experience and not what we are used to on the East Coast. That and three feet of water was enough for me to say, “What liars!” The drainage system was obviously not fixed.

I wasn’t even able to convince them that they would have to tear down the old Jazzland property. That it would be very unethical and unsafe to try to lead people to believe that those old rides should be rehabilitated. They shouldn’t have pitched it to me or anyone else. No one cared. As you know, I started my project on property that was not the old Jazzland property.

I hate to even write this post but that’s the truth of what I found in New Orleans. There’s some evil in that city, in more ways than one.

Everything told me not to do that project in New Orleans.

————————-

And did you think I was joking about my “chat” with Marie Laveau? Look back at the old posts http://laurakerbyson.com/about/?p=12079

It was not a joke.

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I’m giving it time and patience…

16 Oct

I am writing about two separate things here.

I am still being inducted into the new project. A lot of what I’ve been shown has nothing to do with marketing and I’m seeing some stuff that I’ve never seen before. I would venture to say that a lot of what I’ve seen would normally fall to an Information Technology Admin. There’s some very complicated systems and a whole lot of proprietary systems.

I am trying to reserve a judgement for now. I hope I see more marketing. Monday was all marketing. Tuesday was all – well, systems I’ve never touched before. Advertising Agencies or Marketing People who are web developers would never see those kinds of systems. A lot of the systems fall into the kind of technology it takes to power a company and project of that kind. It’s a lot to take in. It’s best to reserve judgement for later.

I am also trying to do some very intense research and problem solving for someone who called me last weekend. It’s one of the biggest sites I’ve ever been asked to quote, and this issue is very, very complex. You are talking close to 100,000 pages of a site that was written back in 2000 and they now want it converted to Wordpress. There’s custom programming. I’ve put calls into engineers who I think would have approached this issue before. This is not an easy issue and I know it. I am looking for the appropriate answer and response and finding the appropriate team members to take this project. The obvious answer is not going to work in this case. The obvious answer is that’s a million dollar site. But by using very specific engineers, that price could be brought down to something reasonable. I am well aware that there are a lot of tools that would do a disastrous job on conversion. We either have to get it right, or not do it.

It’s been the week for very, very complex stuff, that’s all I can tell you. Everybody who specializes in computer science and years ago I went a particular direction. No one person knows how to do all of it. This week is an example of why it takes so many experts.

I am hoping that people are going to draw on my areas of expertise.

I probably won’t have much to say this week because I have a lot of things to think about and a lot of problems to solve for people. None of these are easy answer situations.  That generally will make me quieter.

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It was a nice weekend…

14 Oct

It was a nice weekend overall and a really lovely Sunday.

I got up this morning and made Sunday breakfast, which I really enjoy.

I do some buying and selling on Ebay. The little chime went off that I had sold an item and it was time to ship.

I did some of the usual things in life, like straighten the house and pay bills.

I went to the gym and had a nice workout. When I got home I treated myself to a cup of Baked Apple Herbal Tea and 2 Pumpkin Ginger Spice Cookies. Totally yummy.

I like to do my tea in pretty little fine china cups. It’s more of a treat and an experience. I like to have a cup of tea every afternoon. It’s one of my little joys in life like picking out an outfit, jewelry, a bag and makeup to wear each day. This stuff is fun for me. I’m such a girl, aren’t I?

Tonight I am going to curl up in bed with a book that I started reading.

I am also enjoying the lovely flowers that were given to me yesterday. I love flowers.

I told you…I am such a girl.

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Plans for the weekend…Explaining the Stock Market of the Internet

11 Oct

I’ve got a good friend coming over tomorrow afternoon to have “class.” We’re going to talk about PPC because he heard that I’m going to be working with it much more on Monday. I’m going to go through what I usually do with a client who is new to PPC. I am one of the advertising agencies for PPC. I’ll share some of my tools with him. He’s a CEO who’s very hands on and really wants to understand PPC.

It’s kind of like a stock market for the Internet. You can increase a company’s valuation and cash flow based on how well you play the market.

Then I’ll cook us a nice dinner and we can continue the conversation.

Other than that, this weekend is about some reading, working out and getting organized. It’s mostly a low key weekend.

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Conducting research…

09 Oct

I am researching the new target demographic and client. I am very thorough and analytical. Before I create things for any kind of industry, I research all the numbers and analyze the competition and the latest methods.

And that’s what’s on my agenda for this week.

I like to go through it with a fine tooth comb. I try not to miss the important details and I try to spot where the competitors could have done a little better.

———–

“I would have said you are creative.”

I am both. I am both left and right brained. It’s unusual but that’s an accurate assessment of how I approach everything.

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Meeting was Successful…Here’s the News

08 Oct

Ok, now I can tell you.

On Friday I dropped Kaufmann de Suisse as a client permanently due to her decline in mental health. That’s enough said about that situation.

On Saturday, I sent a letter to pursue a new opportunity.

I received a phone call on Sunday. We met on Monday. I was offered the project today. So now I know the next project.

The meeting was successful.

Here’s to a more peaceful work environment…

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Dress that fits…

07 Oct

To illustrate my point from a previous post, here’s the dress I wore to a meeting today. This dress actually fits. In my size, they only had black so that’s why it’s this color. But I think you can see the gym efforts are paying off.

These are the shoes that I paired with this dress.

———–

Which is a photo where I was heavier? You can see it on the regular Google Search for my name. It’s the one where I am standing in between Kylie and Julie and I’m wearing a pink dress, sunglasses and have a camera around my neck. That was my top weight ever. It’s the only time in my life where I’ve gained weight. Now you can see from the photo above that I’ve lost the weight. Which version do you prefer?

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All kinds of things going on…

06 Oct

Some of which I can tell you and some of which I want to hold off on for a while…

Here’s what I can tell you:

The new not water is in and so I will have a nice hot bath tonight.

The new box springs were delivered. They are perfect this time.

I’ve lost a fair amount of weight over the last couple of years. I gained some weight a few years ago because I went through a challenging period. It was the first time I had ever gained weight. But as I was losing the weight, I kept wearing the larger sized clothes. A lot of people didn’t notice that much when I gained the weight because I gained it in all the right places and had that Marilyn Monroe look. It wasn’t unequally distributed.

Today I finally said, “Enough. It’s time to buy a few things that fit and let’s see what size you are…”

I had lost 23 lbs. and six to eight dress sizes. At my top weight, which of course you’ve seen, everyone has – I was a size 10. I bought 2’s and 4’s today. The sad thing is I had an entire storage unit full of really nice clothes in those sizes and I gave them away 2 years thinking I would never be this size again.

And what’s interesting is that when I am wearing a dress that actually fits, I look much smaller. These were the sizes I have been most of my life.

Now here’s the other thing. If you want to buy a dress that is a size 2 or size 4 guess what? That dress will be black because that’s all they really want to stock in that size. You know it’s not my favorite. But at least my figure looks good in a black dress that fits. One of them I even put on and said, “Va Va Voom Chicky! When did you get that shape back?” All those workouts at the gym have been paying off.

If I get some time this week, I might snap a quick fashion show because the difference in having the right size is substantial.

I have an important meeting Monday. One of the dresses that looks professional will be for that meeting. Attention to details are important in life.

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I know people hate the home renno posts…

04 Oct

But that’s my life right now and this weekend is full of it with electrical and hot water heat. I know – so exciting! Not!

But that’s life. It’s run of the mill stuff for a while. I have to attend to regular life just like everybody else.

I actually dropped below 120 lbs for the first time in years. Most of what’s in my closet in terms of clothes doesn’t fit well right now. Most of it is too big.

If this keeps us, I may have to buy some smaller dresses.

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Update on the home projects…

02 Oct

I’m taking on the last major, inside project this weekend. I am having the hot water heater replaced and unfortunately, I’ll have to bring in an electrician to redo the wiring because what’s here will not pass code. I had to pull a permit for this and tomorrow I have to get it notarized.

In terms of the windows, I brought in 2 companies that did quotes and I brought in someone who owns a small aluminum company who used to work for the manufacturer of these original aluminum windows.

I’m a thinker so I always do my research and mull it over if there are a lot of issues to consider. There are definitely issues to consider. Some good points have been raised.

On hurricane impact windows, if an object hits the windows, the outer pane of glass will still break. The film is in the middle of the windows. So without shutters, you’re still replacing glass.

In terms of vinyl vs. aluminum – I go to my own personal experience. I worked in the plastics industry back in the late 80s and my dad was an electrical engineer for an aluminum manufacturing facility for over 30 years (the same company and facility) and five years at one of their other facilities. If I have to choose between a plastic and an aluminum – I would choose aluminum. But here’s the caveat – when I was a kid (35 to 40 years ago) my dad gave me lectures about how this was all going to go to China and how bad it was going to be for the U.S. because Chinese Aluminum does not have the strength of American Aluminum. He explained to me how only his plant was the only plant in the U.S. that was allowed to make aircraft aluminum because only they could produce it strong enough. The Chinese products he said were cheap and they would break. How right he was about what happen. How many times have you ordered a product online only to have the cheap screws or parts bend or break.

As you might have read, I spent 18 hours on Saturday working on 3 of the windows. These were Pan Am windows. They were made in 1970 or 1971. When I got the aluminum restored down to the finish, they are shiny aluminum. They don’t make windows out of this kind of aluminum anymore because the aluminum pits or tarnishes over a long period of time. If you get aluminum windows now that are metal colored, they are not shiny – more of a flat grey. They are not the same metal at all. But this shiny kind of aluminum was produced for aircraft back in the 1970s. I’m pretty sure that the metal these windows are made from came off of my dad’s plant. That means that this aluminum is stronger than modern day aluminum. I would bet money on it. Next time you’re at an airport look at the shiny aluminum American Airlines planes.

So what to do? My aluminum guy worked for Pan Am Windows years ago. He can get any parts and knows these windows well. He’s going to remove the glass sliding doors and replace the wheels underneath. He’s rescreening some of the frames and there will be some rods and cranks to fix. I’ll do the cleaning and resealing.

So that leaves a question about what to do for a hurricane. He brought up a good point that even if you have a brand new window, if that window doesn’t stay in the frame, the window goes. The safest option is still a hurricane shutter. And even if I decided to do new windows in five years or so, I should still use a shutter with a new window because that exterior glass is just glass. Excellent point.

The next point was that he didn’t think the hurricane film was worth my time. “What’s your objective?”

“No to have flying shattering glass if the windows breaks.”

“The tint you have now will keep that from happening.”

Good point.

This is why when you’re looking at a lot of money for something, it pays to talk to a lot of experts.

My immediate plan is to have him fix all the parts that need replaced and fix the screen damage. I’ve also asked him for quotes on different kinds of shutters. That I need to do some thinking about because different shutters have different levels of difficulty for putting up. They also have different price points. I’ll wait and evaluate that when the quotes come in. The ones I have now have to be replaced. They are made of fiberglass, which will do more harm than good if actually hit by an object at high speed. No one makes shutters out of fiberglass anymore. It was always a bad idea.

But in terms of the look and strength, I really like the look of the shiny aluminum. It’s a little industrial and it works well with modern. I also think I’m right about where the material comes from. Back in 1970 and 1971 there were only 3 aluminum production facilities in the United States. My dad originally started his career at Alcan before he jumped ship to Kaiser.

The interesting thing about my dad’s work was that although his college degree was in electrical engineering (and he did that for the plant), they mostly used his abilities for mechanical engineering. It was his job to make sure all the machinery in the plant ran. If it broke, he had to fix it. This was a huge facility. That’s why he could fix anything in life. I had no idea that repair people actually existed because none of them every came to our house.

But my dad was right, because companies went to China for  aluminum and steel production in order to save money, we don’t make anything of our own anymore. And what you buy today is not the same quality.

I was probably the only second grader who could tell you the difference between fabrication and reduction and strength grades and properties of aluminum.

My dad had a nice big office at the plant with glass windows and this really cool aluminum door. They made all the doors in the offices from the aluminum. You would go into the office and there were all these mechanical and electrical drawings of all the machines and wiring, printed on the size and kind of paper that architects use. Then there were all his notepads of mathematical calculations everywhere done with his mechanical pencil. There were no computers back then. It was all brain power.

I can remember my dad going all the way to England to buy used equipment so that he would have parts to fix things.

There were so few people with his level of experience in aluminum engineering that he made really, really good money even by today’s standards. They really couldn’t have replaced him if they wanted to.

I think his era in aluminum was like my era in plastics. Back in the late 1980s, we made General Electric Plastics into a company that worth a lot of money. It makes me ill to think that after Immelt took over they blew a half a trillion dollars that my era collective earned for General Electric.

Yes, I have seen the rise and fall of some great and profitable companies.

But you have to keep in mind that I think through all this stuff about materials because I grew up reading Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines that my dad had tossed aside.

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Evaluation Photos – The Eyes

01 Oct

I heard the, “Who cares about the windows, how did your eyes turn out?”

If you missed that part of the story about a week and a couple of days ago, I had six shots of Botox to lift my eyes. It gives a little more arch to the eyebrow and pulls them up a bit so they don’t hide behind the glasses. They told me it would take a full 2 weeks to see all the results.

I did not retouch these photos in any way because we will use these as evaluation photos. Evaluation photos need to be boring so that you can judge things like symmetry or progress. I shot them this evening. Keep in mind I am 50 years old.

I haven’t decided yet, but I am contemplating a lower face lift by one of the great experts in this country on facial surgery. The point would be to remove the jowl area that shows in 50 year olds and to tighten up the jaw line. I am still in the thinking and discussion stages. I went and talked to my expert who is the leading expert on eyes and fillers. He advised me about the way the procedure really should be done because he said most doctors do not do it correctly. I’ve never had filler but we are planning some to the corners of the mouth that will remove that age. He advised me not to do it until I decided about the lower. He made the referal for me to the other leading expert. For the filler around my mouth I would go to my eye expert because he invented Juvederm and Krybella.

About four years ago, my eye plastic surgeon did under my eyes and made them absolutely perfect. I wish I had done it 15 years before. They were an item that needed to be tweaked. But when it comes to the things I elect to do, they must be done with this country’s leading authorities. I wouldn’t dare risk it without the top notch.

I take very, very good care of my skin but as you age it loses a little elasticity. Sometimes you need a little help.

I want to be as beautiful as I can be. It’s helpful in my career. It’s helpful in my personal relationships. It makes me feel better about myself to always try to look my best. I am also that way with clothes, jewelry, etc. I like a polished look. I feel like a better external appearance more closely matches what’s on the inside when it comes to me.

My girl friends always want to see these photos. As for everyone else, you can pass if you don’t want to see them.

Well it’s kind of funny that I’m the same age as the windows and we both needed a little work.

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The Rehab on the 50 Year old Windows…

30 Sep

Want to see a couple of pics? This is seriously hard work to get them to look like this. These are 50 year old aluminum windows that are being restored.

The first pic is a bathroom window without a screen.

Here’s the 50 year old screen cleaned up and inside the window.

Here’s another bathroom window:

I did the windows on the inside and outside. I finished two bathrooms, the kitchen and the storm door today. I washed the glass wall in the dinning room but it still needs the aluminum restoration. This project is going to take several weekends.

Can you say, PAIN? I’m feeling it tonight. But they look good don’t they?

They’re shiny, like a new airplane.

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Now the projects begin…

28 Sep

I’m done with my six day work week. That should be the last long week that I have for a while. I’m still building out the backend of that site because there’s a new major section coming after I’m finished.

I’ve got a cover to do but I’m not hopeful about that cover. I’ve had to make more items for that client that I don’t like then I can count. Some of the things I’m asked to do with design and graphics are big no, nos but that’s what they want. But that kind of work is never fun for someone with an education and 30 years of experience. I don’t like doing work that makes me look bad. But you do it because money is money and it’s their money to waste if that’s what they choose to do.

Now on to my weekend (Sunday and Monday). I’m taking on finishing restoring the windows. It’s a major job but it’s been on my list for while. My downfall in life is that I’m such a hard worker and I don’t like unfinished projects. So that means me working seven days this week. But this is something for me and that means I have total design control, which is why it looks so good.

But that project won’t be done even after this weekend because I’ll bring in a company to do the hurricane film and someone to do the blinds.

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Score!

28 Sep

I bought over $10,000 worth of Van Cleef Jewelry (earrings, a necklace and a bracelet) at auctions. I spent a whopping $312. Each piece was from a different seller.

I wasn’t even looking to buy but you can’t let good stuff like that go…It was just a very lucky day.

This is like a sport for me.

They are two shops down from us on Worth. I walk by it every day. I had a mental note in the back of my head, “Oh yeah, I need to get some Van Cleef…”

Consider them items for the work wardrobe until I get bored with them.

————-

I don’t want to hear negative comments about buying something designer. Some people fail to take mental note that I am a designer. Of course I believe in designer work. It goes without saying. I appreciate good design in a number of assets.

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This is working splendidly…

27 Sep

You know I do design work on properties. One of the things I love is the use of metal in my design work. I recently decided that I was going to restore these aluminum windows because they are so cool looking and the aluminum fits in well with the rest of the design.

I ordered and received the marine product that’s used on boats – like canoes and pontoon boats to make them look like new after they’ve been sitting in the water for years. It’s also used on airplanes. It’s a very potent acid. You must wear protective clothing and gear.

I have to tell you that’s there’s something very gratifying about watching 50 years of dirt and grime drip off a surface only to have them looking brand new. I did the inside of one window tonight and it’s so pretty. That shiny aluminum looks fantastic. This weekend I’ll be able to re-caulk and reseal the window. Then when I’m done with all the windows, I’ll have hurricane film installed. I have shutters, but the film is good for UV block and instances when you’re not home and a storm comes. The window might break, but it won’t shatter.

But I have to tell you, so far, this is working like a charm.

I love to do this kind of thing with furniture and giving it a different look. People couldn’t believe what I did with that extra long bathtub. I had contractors tell me I would never be able to restore it to perfect condition. I did and it’s not reglazed and it’s perfect. Not one scratch. There’s a store in Palm Beach that sells that extra long tub for $8000. It was worth the work.

There’s just something gratifying about making something look new and fixing it.

Because I literally have replaced every appliance, the furnace, the AC, every light with LED, the electric bill on this property runs about $65 a month. I would only save $6 a month with brand new windows.

If you are new to the blog – my background is in computer science and design. And in terms of design work, I do not just digital but also hard assets like real estate, interior design and merchandise.

In terms of real estate, I love to do modern design work. I always use a few retro touches to contrast the design. I also like a few industrial looking elements.

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Wow! Wow! Wow!

25 Sep

That’s all I can say this morning. It’s astounding.

The last several weeks had been a little bit of a beauty process. I started with brow serum for a younger look. Eyelash lengthening serum and a new eyebrow pencil and highlighter from Revlon.

Then I had six shots of Botox that the plastic surgeon told me would lift my eyes. It takes five days to kick in. Today is day 2.

I’m not kidding here – I woke up with the eyes of a 25 year old model. I’m 50 years old. They are gorgeous this morning. Never in a million years would I have believed you could do this without plastic surgery. It’s amazing. There’s more arch, more lift, everything is higher.

They’re beautiful. I can not believe it.

Beauty is an endless pursuit for me as you know. Diet, exercise, skin care, enough sleep, tweaks in the right place….

I am very, very happy with this. I can’t believe it.

I spend a good part of my life photographing beautiful women for covers and advertisements. I’ve kind of become an expert on look when it comes to facial structure. But I never saw this coming.

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I’ve been busy with the silly, little things in life…

24 Sep

My entire next weekend is devoted to fixing these windows. I ordered a bunch of stuff so that I can attempt to fix them before I make any decisions.

It bothers me to put money into a piece of property knowing that I couldn’t recoup that money. If you let it appreciate for five years, I think it will be a different story. The biggest thing that people put money into with a piece of property that they don’t get back is unfortunately, the windows. I have antique hurricane shutters and I contemplated doing away with them.

In the meantime, there’s hurricane film, parts, sealer and cleaner that can be used to improve the situation. You know me, if I think I can fix it myself, I usually do. They make this stuff for boats that I want to try.

The one thing I couldn’t fix myself was my face. I noticed one eye dropping more than the other. Age is kicking in a little. So I went into see a plastic surgeon about it expecting that this is something that we would fix with some incisions. Not so. I didn’t quite believe it when they told me that Botox could lift my eyebrows and pull everything back to where it needs to be. It takes five days to see the result. But even after one day, it’s already pulled it back to where it should be. I honestly wouldn’t have believed that if I didn’t see it.

Now to fix the lower, I do have to consider doing that surgically. I am just at the beginning stages of where women don’t like the way they age. I probably will fix it but I will consult with my other expert first to see what his opinion is about how to fix it and what to do first. I already have one opinion.

I’m a perfectionist when it comes to myself. This stuff drives me crazy. I won’t be happy until I solve it. You realize that? Right?

The rest of the to do list has been a bunch of little stuff:

- Send the new tea set back because it arrived broken

- Now I have to mount the mirror I bought for above my makeup table this weekend

- I have new box springs coming this weekend

- I am planning a ladies luncheon for a girl friend’s birthday for late October, or early November

It’s a bunch of stuff that will eat up the whole weekend.

I’m not working out tonight because they told me after six shots of Botox not to work out for a few days. So I’m taking the night off.

And that’s my immediate list outside of work items.

———-

I made that orange, basil chicken with rice. It was very good. I am happy with it. I’ll make that again.

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It was absolutely sinful…

23 Sep

The dinner I made for myself that is…

I bought a bag of fresh oranges. So I decided to make orange ginger beef with carrots, green beans, peas and corn served with mashed redskin potatoes with a gravy I made from the juice. And then there was french baguette bread with Irish butter. OMG was it good.

It was absolutely sinful but worth it. Thank goodness there will be leftovers.

Because I bought the oranges, I will probably make orange basil chicken with rice this week.

I went and had a massage today and ran errands and then finished the day with this outstanding meal and a little Netflix on the Roman Empire.

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There is no place I would rather be….

21 Sep

At the end of a long work week (6 days this week), there is no place I would rather be than in my extra long tub, with the lights turned out and the rose candles burning, spa music, oil in the water and sipping my favorite cocktail – a gin and tonic. I love the kind where you can smell the botanicals. I love flowers.

I feel so happy now that I got to do that tonight.

I love the smell of roses, candle light and water.

Nothing makes me happier.

I have a little tiny blue tooth speaker in the bathroom and I send my “Spa Radio” from Pandora over to the speaker while I soak in the tub.

This will be a great weekend because tomorrow is my monthly massage appointment. I so love it.

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Just a quick post…

21 Sep

I am going in to cover for M. tomorrow. We did a booming business this week on Worth. That was great news.

Last week I had installed a caching engine on the server. That speeds up delivery of content and it means that people further away in the world can now see your content where it might have taken too long previously to get that far around the world.

Our numbers for the web site were up substantially since the performance of the engine started kicking in. I was excited today when we had a call about a ring on the web site. The call was from Australia. I know the engine is performing when we get that kind of call.

I am looking forward to Sunday because it’s my monthly appointment for a massage. I love them. Almost as much as I love the smell of roses.

I am home from the gym. It’s late and I’m off to bed. Have a great night…

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A post about my day…

20 Sep

I’m filling in for M. who’s on vacation.

We’ve been hoping in the store. It’s been very busy. That’s a good thing.

I have to go in on Saturday for her the next two Saturdays. So I’m taking the next two Mondays off to do my research and appointments.

It was a long day today so I went out for dinner for sushi. I haven’t done that in the longest time because I’m cutting calories as you know.

But I decided to splurge a little. I had a glass of Pino Grigio with dinner. I hadn’t had a glass of wine since the Paris trip in the summer. I think it’s ok to indulge every now and then. I worked out last night and got home at 9:30. I have the same plans for tomorrow. Work all day and then the entire evening at the gym and spa. That’s the plan.

I’m sorry to say that the posts for the next couple of weeks might not be so exciting because it’s a lot of work and work outs.

You know what I mean?

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I’m in List Mode…

18 Sep

I’ve been making my beauty list of items that need work. Some of them I started working on this week. Some of them I need to research in the next month what I plan to do and which experts I need to talk to…I am making appointments.

It’s time to make some improvements.

I also have a “home list” these are small projects and details that I’ve wanted to get done. I’ve ordered some items to knock them off my list.

And then I have 2 major projects I am considering. As you know one is all new windows. I’ve been meeting and getting quotes from companies. One company is definitely out of the running. Company number 2 came in with better windows, lifetime warranties by the manufacturer and the installer and 40% less than company number 1. It will take me time to consider the options and decide what month this should happen if it happens. It’s still a very hefty price tag to install hurricane windows.

As I said, I’m in List Mode.

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Live and let be…

17 Sep

That is my philosophy. I am a very accepting person in life. I love my friends for who and what they are. I am friends with a lot of people who are very different than me. I am very different than most people. But that’s what makes me, well me. One thing I think you will find in life is that no one is the same as you. Everyone is different and unique in their own way. But people seem to appreciate someone who just gives love, acceptance and no judgements. I don’t try to change anyone. That is not my place in this world.

I choose to have a happy, peaceful life. There are some people in life that don’t realize that it is a choice.

There was a time in my life when I had someone in my life that just loved to criticize me. I ultimately decided that this wasn’t good for me and they needed to go. I do not regret that decision. I don’t know why they seemed to think that they were somehow better than everyone else and why they thought they should be telling everyone what to do. It’s my life and I’ll decide how I want to live it. And if I have something to say, I’ll decide how I want to say it. I consider criticism negative energy. I don’t need negative energy in my life. It’s a conscious choice not to have it in my life.

I once had someone meet me who said, “You have really good Karma.”

Yes, I do.  And I have it by choice.

And you know it’s not just people that can have bad Karma. If you get enough of them together in one company, they can give a company bad Karma. You want an example? Apple. Apple has very bad Karma. A lot of the people that work for that company are not nice, they are judgmental and they think so much of themselves that they try to tell other people how to think and act. They do not play well with others.

There was a time in my life when I had to decide as a developer whether or not I wanted to go into developing iPhone apps. Some people at Apple just completely turned me off to ever wanting to do this. I used to make merchandise for the phones as accessories, I don’t even want to do that anymore. They also went through a public display of going after people who criticized their products. That is just not cool. When people pay money for your product and they aren’t satisfied, they have a right to complain without retribution. iPhone sales have declined and I don’t think it’s all about price. I think people started getting fed up with an unfriendly company and a company with attitude. I think that Apple that has been very disrespectful towards people. Anyway, that’s just one example.

Let’s put it this way, I never got the impression that Apple would subscribe to the same philosophy of Hard Rock – Love All Serve All.

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Balloons and fanfare and one fabulous cup of coffee…

15 Sep

Yeah! The e-commerce site for the client is finished. We got to the “show me the money” part where we put the site live and run a test transaction and everything worked. It was all calculated and the money was deposited to the right account. This was a client from South Carolina.

I always get a big smile when I reach this point in the development of an e-commerce site. They are so much work.

We are now live! And it’s done.

And right before this glorious news, my new stainless steel french press arrived. I like Cuban coffee made as Cafe Con Leche. I bought an all stainless Veken because stainless steel retains heat so much better than glass and the whole thing can go in the dishwasher. I made one fabulous cup of coffee. This is a real winner and tastes more like that great coffee I had in Paris.

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Shopping, Nails and Diamonds…

15 Sep

I ordered a french press and a bone china tea set.

I went to get my nails done. I did my usual. I got my toes painted and manicured and my nails just manicured.

My manicurist was making fun of me. She said I was a lady and I should have my nails painted.

I don’t think she would understand that there’s a reason I don’t usually paint my nails.

Most of you know that I am a designer, a photographer and a web developer. I also do advertising. I work on a computer or behind a camera all day.

My primary client is a high end jewelry store on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. When they need for someone to model a diamond engagement ring, they come and get me out from behind the computer. I don’t want the attention going to my nails. I want it going to the ring.

This week, I actually modeled one that I would like. Most people don’t understand that carat weight doesn’t have to do with the size of the diamond (unless it’s a round). It really does have to do with weight.

Christopher had designed a ring with a 5 CTS Rectangular Radiant Diamond that was the size that most people would guess would be an 8-10 CTS. Two trillions were set on the sides. What I liked about this ring is that it wasn’t heavy. I felt like I wearing nothing. It was quite seamless and yet it was a stunning diamond ring. Sticker price was $110,000. It really looked like a $500,000 ring. It took one look from the client to decide to buy it for his wife. Good decision because it was gorgeous.

A lot of people want to know what I think of the 17 CTS. It’s a ring for someone, but that someone would not be me. The ring is too heavy and large for the way I live my life. The ring they just had me model would be more to my liking. It’s a big diamond that doesn’t feel like a big diamond. More carats does not necessarily make for a better ring. I hated the day we shot the 17 CTS on my hand because my hands were so swollen that day. They look at lot better now because I’ve been putting work into my skin and I got a gel that takes the swelling out of my hands.

It’s a shame that ring he just designed never made it to the front window because more people would have loved it.

There have been studies done that show that when women look at sparkly things they produce endorphins. I got my fix for that day.

My hands are photographing much better than they did six months ago.

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One of these days I should really tell her the truth…

14 Sep

You need to read yesterday’s post before you read this one.

One of these days I should probably tell my mother the truth.

She thinks that all the years that G. and I were together, that the yachts were for fishing.

I think we maybe fished on a boat 3 or 4 times in four or five years.

The yachts are not really for fishing. They’re for sex.

We’d leave town every weekend to go to Palm Beach to stay on the boat. We both owned businesses and it was the only place no one could find us.

I spent $7000 on gasoline one year driving from Hilton Head to Palm Beach every weekend. We’d fly the airplane sometimes but the plane could present problems. That’s a post for another day.

We designed a lot of things together (houses and boats) so we could have candid discussions about why boat designers did certain things on a yacht. We redesigned a 48 foot Viking and a 48 foot Ocean Yacht together. One of the first things we did was rip all the curtains off of it and put Limo tint on the boat. So we could see out and people can’t see in.

After he sold the Viking and we had moved on to the Ocean Yacht, I finally just said what we both were thinking.

“Hey Sir Docks-A-Lot. Can you get your assets over here so we can talk about this Ocean Yacht?”

“Yes.”

“This boat sucks.”

“Why is that?”

“Because Viking didn’t just built the old boat for sport fishing. They built it for sex. It had a big master, with a high bed, plenty of mirrors and two large bathrooms off of the master – one for you and one for me. You know those designers designed it that way for a reason.”

“You’re absolutely right. On the Ocean Yacht, the bed is too low. There are no mirrors, it has a rinky dink bathroom and the engines are gutless.”

“Our love life has not been the same since you sold the Viking.”

“I agree. This boat sucks. Selling the Viking was a mistake.”

“Agreed.”

And so that’s how two designers talk about the reality of yacht design.

Next time you go to The Palm Beach Boat Show, start looking for the sexy features. Those boat owners are a lot happier. I guarantee it.

And my parents thought we bought the boat for fishing.

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Providing an education on the important things in life…

14 Sep

If my mother didn’t have me, she would not be educated on the important things in life.

I call her every day in the car on the way home from the office.

Today she is telling me her woes about her friend Karen being so upset about the dance costumes that were chosen for them to wear on stage in their next production.

“I mean so was so upset. She just went on, and on and on about how we just can’t wear those pants because we look like hookers. And Armando is not changing his mind about the costumes.”

“Mother, ”

“Yes?”

“Someone needs to tell Karen that you ARE a bunch of hookers. The production is Moulin Rouge. That’s what it’s about. I think someone should explain that to Karen. You are supposed to look like a hooker.”

LOL. I can’t believe I had to say that…

It was like a few months there was a dance and she went and the ladies she was with were all upset over not being asked to dance.

“What color was your dress?”

“Black.”

“That’s why no one asked you to dance. You can not wear black, beige or gray to a dance. Understood? It must be a bright, vibrant color preferably with some bling.”

And the next dance, they followed my advice and she got to dance.

My mother and her friends have lived very sheltered lives.

Believe me, they are learning who to ask for advice. When it comes to something that’s important in life, I always know the answer.

I have not lived a sheltered life, despite my mother’s best efforts.

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My day…

13 Sep

Well I’ve been to the gym three nights this week. I come home from work, I change and go. By the time I get home it’s 10:30 at night.

I love it but I can’t do it every night. So tonight I came home and cooked. There were some things I wanted to experiment with in the kitchen. I bought this pasta, that is not pasta. It’s gluten free and make of chic pea flour. I made a cold pasta salad with red peppers, carrots, celery, onions, a lite oil based Cesar dressing and parmesan cheese. I ended up really liking the “noodles.”

Then I had bought a chicken this week. So you know how it goes where you have to get creative on all the things you can do to a free range, organic chicken. So one night I made lemon pepper chicken with fresh lemons and brown and red rice with chia and kale. That was really delicious. So tonight I took the easy way out that I hadn’t had in the longest time, I diced it up and tossed it in a really good barbecue sauce to go with the pasta salad. Tomorrow I’ll stuff the leftovers into pita bread for lunch.

I took M. in a blackcurrant tea bag so she could try my afternoon tea. She likes it. I love black currant.

I see there’s another storm coming. It’s been really windy the last three days. We’ll see what happens.

And so I enjoyed a hot bath and for the rest of the evening I will continue watching my show on Netflix.

I know it sounds like a mundane, routine evening, but I really enjoy this kind of thing. I love going to the gym, the spa and then that steaming hot shower with jets on my neck. But I can’t do it every night. So I have to mix it up a bit.

At work, I’m building out a web site with new inventory. I’ve got another back cover to put together tomorrow, a slew of operational issues, legal paperwork, photography work for social media, etc. You know my routine by now.

And with that I will bid you good night.

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What did I do with the guitar during the hurricane?

10 Sep

Some people wanted to know what I did with the guitars during the hurricane.

For those of you new to the blog, here’s the history.

I own the world’s most famous “1956 Shell Pink Fender Stratocaster”. If you Google those exact terms, you’ll see it’s number 1. Here’s the search results https://www.google.com/search?q=1956+shell+pink+fender+stratocaster&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS721US721&oq=1956+shell+pink+fender+stratocaster&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i61.8814j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

I used to have quite the collection. I now only have four guitars. I don’t play any of them anymore because of my neck. But they remind me of things. The shell pink strat is the most famous. It’s a real 1956. I have a 1957 Fender 50th Anniversary Edition Reissue that I gave to my stepfather when he was diagnosed with Leukemia. He played the guitar in his rock and roll band for four years before he died. He gave the guitar back to me right before he died. He was my step father for 38 years and I was there when he died.

So those are the two guitars that I care about – because they are associated with people and the guitars are highly collectible. I keep the white one on display to remind me of my stepfather, AL. The shell pink one was always an icon associated with me – not for playing. The guitar iconically represents for the following reasons 1) for collecting guitars and knowing an instruments history and provenance 2) for my work with Hard Rock (although the guitar did not come from them) 3) for my attitude about always trying to be number 1 and 4) because iconically the shell pink strat was most famously associated with Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix is an icon of God given talent that none of us really understand. There are certain people in the world who are given gifts beyond explanation. He was like that. He could not read or write music. He was left handed and played the guitar strung upside down. Wrap your brain around that for a moment. It’s impossible not to respect him in light of all that.

Hendrix actually had two shell pink strats. He played the “left handed” version. It’s now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The right handed version went missing. He didn’t play that one.

I was once photographed with the shell pink guitar standing in front of the Porsche that I redesigned and replaced the electronics inside. Hands down, anyone who meets me tells me that is their favorite photo. That photo represents different things to different people. The men find it very sexy. For the women, they tell me it symbolizes empowerment and intelligence. (I am referring to the one where I face the car and the focus is on the guitar.) There are other shots where I face the camera and with the guitar but the photos don’t quite have the same symbolism.

For the white guitar, I can tell that I don’t keep it because it’s collectible, I keep it to remind me of someone.

The other two I have a regular strat and I have a Yamaha acoustic that also belonged to my stepfather. It was one of the guitars that he purchased. I grew up listening to his music. He was a Ph.D. with a hobby for music and always played in a band.

So during the hurricane, I obviously take them off of their stands in my dining room. It’s the only time they go in the case and then they go on the top shelf in the “bunker.” That’s the closet that is comprised of 3 firewalls.

So that’s what I do with the guitars during a hurricane. Where ever I go, they go. It’s not a monetary thing.

In terms of the shell pink strat – after I got the guitar, wrote about, made artwork and owned it for years, Fender decided to make their first 1956 Shell Pink Reissue based off of that guitar. She is special. And she is worth it.

There are two things that are really special about the color Shell Pink. It’s the rarest of all the Fender Strats because they didn’t make very many of them. And the second is that Jimi Hendrix said the Shell Pink was the only guitar that he couldn’t set on fire. It was truly the guitar of a genius. And a very rare one.

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I’m not used to it, but I appreciate the concern…

10 Sep

The Atlantis Police department called today to make sure that I had arrived home safely from Paris and had come through the hurricane unscathed.

I thought the phone call was such a nice thing for them to do.

Nick is in Greece but he also texted me many times during the hurricane. I assured him, as I did the police department today, that I was fine.

Everything is good.

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It will be a coffee day…

09 Sep

I woke up at 2 o’clock in the morning and couldn’t get back to sleep.

One of the things that was bothering me was that one of the last items on my list for e-commerce site hadn’t been done yet. I needed to put in new contact forms and connect them to the email addresses.

So I got up and finished that task. It leaves me with three things to complete – the e-commerce system works but it needs the taxes by state and the shipping for the 3 possible sizes of boxes and envelopes. The SSL is now fully attached and I resolved some server issues that the latest versions of things caused.

I asked the owner to research the taxes (because they ultimately have to send in the taxes collected) and also to come up with the shipping zones and amounts because he’ll be able to weigh the packages he intends to use.

Since I’ve been up most of the night, I think I’ll make scrambled eggs for breakfast before I head into the office on Worth Avenue today. On my schedule for today is to get out a couple of hundred letters and marketing packets related to the Guinness Book of Records Paraiba and the 17 CTS Diamond.

After I get that done this week, I’ve got to build another site, because there will be a spinoff company. Then the existing site needs a code update and a caching engine needs to be installed.

I’m building my list for the week.

I think it’s January or February when the special PBS has been working on in regards to the store on Worth will run on television. Jacqueline Journey came to the store and they shot videos and then I sent her a bunch of materials. They are going to cover the history of the business and what we’re doing with the Guinness pieces.

When I get off work, I’ll be headed over to spend a couple hours at the gym. I didn’t have time this weekend. It’s something I look forward to doing.

I’m anticipating I’m going to need a couple of cups of coffee today. However, I should sleep well tonight.

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It was a challenging weekend…

09 Sep

They came and I received the first quote for my windows. Let’s just talk about one door. In my dining room, the whole wall is glass because it’s an enormous door. Just to replace that door, they quoted me $15,000. That has nothing to do with the rest of the windows.

I need to do some more thinking and research. Right now, I am comfortable with what I spent on renovations. If I wanted to sell it, I could get the money back. But if I were to spend the kind of money that was just quoted, I don’t think I could get it back on a sale. And I’m just not the type of person who would make that kind of decision. I’m going to have to do some additional research and get creative over how I could get some of that cost down. It obviously was not what I wanted to hear. I would love to do away with the hurricane shutters, but not at any cost.

I worked most of the weekend on building out an e-commerce site that I had sold recently. They are so much work to put together. Part of the worst of it still has yet to be done – tax rates and shipping rates. When we didn’t have to charge tax on Internet sales, this was a lot easier. When you have to program in the tax rates and shipping rates, it becomes a lot more work. There’s nothing I can do but plow through it. It is what it is – e-commerce sites are a lot of work. If people only knew what a developer has to do, they would appreciate us so much more for our abilities.

I know, it was such an “unexciting” weekend.

The only fun I had was shopping for a birthday present for a friend. I enjoyed coming up with a creative idea. That was fun.

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