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Plan for today…

08 Sep

I am working on the backend of an e-commerce site today. This was something that got delayed because of the hurricane.

I’ll try to write more later if I can.

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From one storm to the next…

06 Sep

Everyone in South Carolina and Florida that I know came out fine from the hurricane.

It’s kind of nice that the hurricane prompted some correspondence and communication that hadn’t happened in a long time. Yes, I was fortunate to hear from some friends.

I am capable of handling a CAT 5, even if it had been a direct hit, you know. I’ve been in those shoes before. But nonetheless, I do really appreciate the concern. It isn’t often that anyone worries about me.

What is difficult, is when you go back to work and you get caught in the middle of a stormy fight between two people where you don’t deserve to be and don’t want to be.

Honestly, I would rather be in a hurricane. Hurricanes don’t hurt your feelings by accident, just your exterior.

I should be used to this by now, but I never seem to get used to it.

At any rate, that was my day. Tomorrow is a different day.

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I’ll be watching the weather today…

05 Sep

My mother is getting the hurricane today that we had.

I’ll be watching the weather. For all my friends on Hilton Head Island – batten down the hatches and watch out for falling trees.

I’m thinking about you. Also thinking about my friends in Myrtle Beach.

————-

Just let me know if you need the Calvary. They’ll let me in because I’m still a business owner.

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Hurricane update…

03 Sep

West Palm Beach down by where E.R. Bradley’s is (Flagler Drive) is flooding.

Things are rocking and rolling under the bridge at Stuart. A few years ago, I spent many nights on a yacht in the marina by the bridge. I personally think those waters tend to be rougher there than at say a marina like Ft. Pierce.

I just went through my old phone photos. This is the bridge I am talking about at Stuart. Looks totally different now on the weather channel…

Now this is too funny…I was scrolling back on my phone to find you the photo of the bridge, when on the same trip are these photos. There’s some good stuff in this old camera roll.

Those photos were from the years when I was driving my Porsche back and forth between Florida and Hilton Head. I was in a hurry to get back from that trip.

Look at the next photo. The software console I put into the car clocks the max speed at 102 MPH. Then look at the next photos on the camera roll. These are the photos from when the boat sank on Hilton Head. We were on the boat in Stuart when the Everglades boat sank in a hard rain. I wonder if that’s why I was driving 102 MPH?

But let these boat photos teach you that a boat can sink when slightly larger waves start lapping over the back end.

We felt like a bunch of ignorant yee haws when that happened. You gotta admit this stuff is entertaining now.

This is the boat we were staying on in Stuart. It was one of our flips.

I’m totally laughing at the last photo because the “a” is missing off of Carolina. Was it that we weren’t done with this boat or could we just not spell??? Mmm. Un huh…

This is very entertaining. I would not be looking through these old photos if I hadn’t been cooped up for so many days waiting on this ungodly slow hurricane.

You gotta admit that my life is never boring.

I’m still looking through the “picture story.” I’m not sure what came next. If I look at the photos, it looks like I drove us somewhere at night, because those are the blue lights from the Porsche doors and that’s a night shot of the dash.

Then it looks like the next day, we decided to haul the airplane out and give it a bath.

Then I find this one of G. before we had the Viking finished.

Evidentially, I washed the Porsche because it looks pretty good in the next shot. That’s all I can make out of the photos.

We must have actually taken the plane up after that because I find these photos of coming into the runway. Where the hell were we? Which airport is this? Anyone know?

Is this John’s Island, Vero Beach, Florida????

I’m positive we took off from Hilton Head Airport. Look at these photos. I can’t make out what’s on the radio but look at the hangar. That’s the hangar in Hilton Head.

That’s the Ready for Takeoff mode.

You know what I’m wondering? That’s not a shot from that ill fated flight where we had to make the Emergency Landing that wasn’t an official Emergency Landing because we didn’t want to pay for it? We had to land once in Beaufort when the right engine went out.

Yeah, I think that last shot was from that ill fated flight because look what’s next on the roll. This is a jump seat and my phone says it’s from the airport at Lady’s Island.

This is St. Helens’s Island.

You know now that I think about it, I don’t know why they us drive, fly or own anything with the amount of mechanical mishaps that we have had. Think about it – we sunk the boat, two right engine failures on that Comanche Airplane, and I ended up losing the engine and having to replace it on my Porsche. And it only had 60,000 miles on it. Everything we touched was “special” and went South…

We are a bunch of Yee Haws. LOL

Honestly, why do still have driver’s licenses? LOL

I swear to God it’s all a true story.

I think that people who are problem solvers just tend to gravitate to things that have problems to solve. That’s what I think.

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Cabin fever…

03 Sep

I am stuck inside again today because the storm hasn’t really moved yet. This is the longest pre-hurricane I can remember.

So once the house was clean and the laundry was done, I’m looking around thinking, “What else can I do?” So today I was cooking. I might as well cook all my lunches for the week. I made crab and lobster cake sandwiches, potato salad and baked ziti.

I am enjoying a cup of that Black Currant tea I ordered.

I can not wait for the gym to reopen.

I have an 8:30 a.m. appointment tomorrow for my car to get fixed. They recently put in a new airbag and something must have gone wrong because all the warning lights in the car are on and my ABS isn’t working properly. So I am leaving it sit for now since the dealer told me not to drive it. I wouldn’t want the airbag deploying on me. It’s also telling me there’s something wrong with it. They had the dash out of the car so who knows what’s going on.

Later today I’ll try some server connections.

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Update…

03 Sep

Hurricane Dorian is still 85 miles away from us. There’s not much I can tell you because it has stalled over the Bahamas for so long. Of course I am sure that everyone is thinking what I am thinking – the people of the Bahamas are obviously on our minds. I don’t think there will be much left of the islands.

We’ve been getting the wind gusts periodically and some occasional rain.

I think the big dilemma I have this evening is because this storm is moving so slowly, should I try to go to bed this evening or should I just stay up. It has moved so slowly.

That’s the update. There’s not much to report at this hour.

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I’m ready for Hurricane Dorian…

01 Sep

Everything is in order at my home. It’s been secured the best it can be. For those of you new to the blog I live in Palm Beach County, Florida.

I’ve tried to think of a plan for everything and make sure everything is where I can locate it.

If you know anything about me, then you know I do not take careless risks with property like some people I know. My Mother knows I have an excellent head on my shoulders. As she would say, “You do what you think is right and the hell with stupid people may ask you to do.” And I shall, don’t worry about that. She actually quoted the movie Forrest Gump. “You can’t tell stupid what to do.” This is true Mother Dear. Right now, only she and I need know what that refers to…and no, we are absolutely not talking about the weather forecasters. I’m trying to be polite and not naming names and stories right about what has to be one of the stupidest things we’ve ever seen.

I also cleaned my entire house. If I’m going to be in it, I like it spotless. At the end of a long hard day, I made a nice dinner so that I have leftovers for tomorrow.

My mother and I were talking on the phone tonight. I told her, “Remember I said a week ago I had a headache that I hadn’t had since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. And here we are with another CAT 5.”

She remembers well that I told her that a week ago. She also remembers 1992 when I rode out Hurricane Andrew. Since that time I’ve been though a few more hurricanes but nothing like Andrew.

Back when Hurricane Andrew hit, I worked at Florida International University in South Miami. I was the first state employee called into the University after Andrew. In it’s aftermath President Mitch Madique, Blanca Riley and I put together a presentation to let the board know that we were going to get the National Hurricane Center. And we did. We were so motivated to do it after Andrew.

There’s a lot of stories I could tell you about that time frame but that’s for another day.

When I was pulling together items that I might need for Hurricane Dorian, I found my steel toed boots from New Orleans. I bought these when I was going to build that theme park and I was looking at all that land filled with gators, snakes and all kinds of nasty. Hurricane Katrina had left it’s mark on that land.

At any rate, I’m ready. I’ll keep you posted as long as I have electric and Internet. I will lose the Internet before I lose electric.

I have a “tentative appointment” first thing Wednesday morning for my car. A few days ago all the dashboard warning lights came on and the car maintains that the ABS system is among the items not working properly. I don’t intend to drive this car in the rain until I can have it looked at properly. The car was recently recalled because of the airbag so they had the entire dash out at that time. I am wondering it it’s related to that work. I’m not sure. We’ll see.

Have a good night. I’ll let you know what happens on the home front.

I also spoke to Mother Dear about, “Get ready because it’s coming to Hilton Head as well.”

She knows. She’s already painting another room in the house. Every time there’s a hurricane, she paints one room of the house. It keeps her busy. Her house is built very, very well and is located in a very tucked in neighborhood in Blufton. She always seems to be well protected in storms. The last hurricane I went up and helped but this year, I’m getting it first.

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It was not a good day…

31 Aug

It was not a good day and that’s all I have to say about or their might be a different kind of hurricane on this blog…

and if you know me, you know it’s very, very unlike me to say that.

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Problem came up last night…

31 Aug

The accordion shutters across the dining room can not possibly bolt together. The doors are so misaligned, there’s no way to get the holes lined up.

So I was working on a different way of securing the doors. I’ll rework it tonight.

Today I am going to Palm Beach to the Worth Store and we’ll have to have a discussion about whether the files should be moved off the ground.

I don’t think they really know where this hurricane is going to go yet. It might stay off the coast, it might come onto the coast, etc.

Nicky will be battening down the hatches at Monica’s. And I’ll be at home for this thing.

I’ll call my mother later today in South Carolina. She’ll be getting this storm as a Category 2 after it’s done with us.

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It’s pretty much done…

30 Aug

I finished getting the antique hurricane shutters up. I discovered that there were never any shutters for the bathroom and one kitchen window.

On the metal accordion shutters that cover the glass wall of the dining room….they were not easy. They obviously had not been closed in a long time. On one side the bottoms were completely out of the track and stuck Armed with my W-D40, I sprayed all the tracks and then tried to move them.

They were really stuck. I pulled, I pulled I pulled. Then I went in and got a hammer. These doors are massive. A six foot tall man would of had trouble with these, let alone someone my size.

And with each whack it was…

GET

Whack.

IN

Whack

THERE

Whack

YOU

Whack

SON

Whack

OF

Whack

And then I threw my weight into it.

BING! Swoosh!

And I got them closed. I was sweaty, dirty and fed up. I looked at the bolts. The washer is square so I had to use my channel lock pliers to get the nuts off the bolts. They don’t look galvanized to me so I will go through my bolt and washer collection and see if I have replacements. I need to wait to for daylight tomorrow because I need to line the holes up and bolt it shut.

And so that’s how I made the decision that after this storm, I am calling to get quotes to replace all the windows with hurricane impact windows. I’ve had enough of this monkey business. It was the last major, major item on my list to do and I’m just going to have to do it somehow.

So everything on the lake side, is now shuttered.

My mother asked me if I could leave town. I can’t. Monica, Christopher and Leo are at the Baltimore Antiques and Art Show. Nicky and I are the only ones left to watch after the store on Worth. Nicky is just 21. There’s no way I could leave town.

This is why I’ve got to replace these windows. If these go, they go. There’s nothing I can do. I’ve secured them the best I can.

The inside is ideal. Every wall is a firewall (no drywall) except for one outside wall.

That’s where I am at with it.

A hot shower never felt as good as it did tonight.

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There’s a hurricane coming and already the adventure has begun…

29 Aug

The whole window came completely out in my hand.

Most people don’t realize that I’m a very complicated woman.

There’s a hurricane coming and a good chance it might Palm Beach County.

I’m supposed to fill in for M. on Saturday and open the store on Worth Avenue. Of course I was there today.

I came home from the office on Worth Avenue, peeled off my Ralph Lauren dress, my staw hat, my pearls and sandals and then set about putting up my hurricane shutters.

You see I bought this property, gutted it and renovated everything – except the windows. I was told there were antique hurricane shutters in a locker on the second story. I live on the first story.

I put my jeans on, got the ladder out and went up and got the shutters. Then I saw the first problem. All the shrubs that are planted around the windows for security, I’m now going to have to get into with a small step stool to put these up. Well long sleeves and pants and bug spray, here it goes. Then I discover that the antique hurricane shutters are spring loaded. I really wish my hands were stronger. Nonetheless, I got the hang of it and I figured out how they go onto the windows.

Well the adventure comes when I get to starting on the master bedroom windows on the golf course. I have almost complete lost any shred of daylight at this point. I can hear that people have screen doors open enjoying the lake and what must be their dinner.

So I climb the ladder and start to put one of the upper shutters on the window. When all the sudden the shutter immediately falls. I catch it with my left hand and then the entire window comes off the casing and falls out and I catch it with my right hand. So both hands have more than they should handle and I’m standing on a ladder and I’m not holding onto anything. Just my balance.

I think I let every four letter word fly. To all my neighbors, I’m so sorry you had to hear that…I’m sure they are wondering, how does she go from high heels, jewelry and champagne to this?

I’m a very complicated woman, trust me. There are far more sides than you will ever know.

I finished getting the shutters on the guest room and four panels on the master. I put the window back into the casing but the whole thing is not trustworthy. I am feeling a little like Wile. E. Coyote at the moment.

I still have the whole master, two bathrooms and the kitchen. The reason I have to start now is because I won’t be available to do this on Saturday. So I have to do a little bit each day with the hour or so of daylight that I have left when I get home. That’s why I am starting now.

I’ve been through several hurricanes before. The first was hurricane Andrew. My brand new house was a month old and I didn’t have shutters. So I had to put plywood up. I thought having shutters of any kind would be easier than that experience. But you know, shutters don’t really help if the whole window falls out and there’s not even a storm yet. I still have to get the dirt out of tracks so I can close the big metal accordion shutters over the sliders in the dining room.

None of this is good news for my neck of course. I am already feeling it. I woke up at 4:30 this morning because the bariatric pressure was so aggravating my neck. I had the feeling it was a hurricane and not a tropical storm. I am very accurate at predicting the weather. Put tonight’s adventure on top of it and it’s not a comfortable mix.

But you know, I will say I was smart about choosing this location. I always have to worry about all my precious servers and my connection to them. In the event I lose power at home, it will be restored before anyone else, because I am on the electrical grid of JFK Hospital.

M. and Frankie are at the show in Baltimore. So that’s why I’ll be going into the store on Worth this weekend. We aren’t worried about the store because it has bullet proof glass.

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It’s going to be several weeks before the Paris photos…

28 Aug

It’s going to be several weeks before I’ll have a chance to edit the Paris photos.

I’ve got an e-commerce site to finish. I’m actually thinking that if we get hit by a tropical storm this weekend in South Florida, it would give me chance to finish it. And I’m building out that Inventory Management System I told you about.

I have thousands of photos that I shot with my professional camera in Paris. I’ve only looked at the first 800 photos and my arm was tired just from flipping through the shots.

———————

Answers to questions about yesterday’s posts:

You wanted to see what the 17.57 CTS D Flawless Diamond looks like – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT2AA8F50gM

What does the world’s largest Paraiba Tourlamine look like – https://images.app.goo.gl/7FjZkzfp77PSaarQ9

As for the belt with the largest Opal Doublet, we’ve never released a photo publicly so I can’t show you that right now. It is however in the store on Worth Avenue. The Paraiba and the belt, are both Guinness Book of Records holders.

Have I ever worn the pieces? The answer is yes to the Paraiba and the diamond. They are both extraordinary pieces, I can assure you.

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The Economy and My Immediate Role…

27 Aug

First let’s talk about the economy.

Today marked a flag that saw back in 2007. The flag today was regarding insider selloff. That’s when executives of major brands are selling off their stock.

Back in 2007 and 2008 I was building a theme park with a group of people. I knew before anyone else at the company that we were headed for a major recession. Computer science people in charge of servers noticed changes in the analytics and changes in the traffic patterns. Those changes occurred before everyone started putting two and two together.

I haven’t seen the same patterns happen yet but I am obviously wondering if it will happen.

For the past 1 3/4 years I’ve had a major client that operates in the luxury good sector. When I say “jewelry” people mistakenly think of something like a Kay Jewelers. I can unequivocally tell you this business model is nothing like a Kay Jewelers. Kay Jewelers targets people with incomes of $75,000 to $100,000 per year and their parent company owns many of the mall spaces that you know like Jared’s. Their stones are small. The jewelry is factory made. Quality is not the hallmark of these kinds of stores.

The business that I’ve now worked with for years deals in large diamonds. The kind that most jewelry stores can not obtain because they don’t have that kind of industry credit. Most are looking for five to 10 carats because 5 CTS is where investment grade begins. The jewelry is handmade. The store has several Guinness Book of Records pieces. Those stones are the largest that the world knows about. Everything is 18K or Platinum. We have a 17.57 CT D Flawless Diamond. There are many only 10 diamonds in the entire world that are this size and perfection. We are not and never will be the Kay Jewelers of the World. They are located on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. I recently visited the Champs Elysees in Paris and I can tell you it has nothing on Worth Avenue.

Where this gets very tough comes on two fronts. One is that the diamond industry has already been struggling with prices that are set by Debeers. The diamond industry is pretty much a monopoly. Debeers controls the supply in order to control the price. They only approve 100 buyers. Even the buyers say that they can’t buy a diamond from Debeers and be able to profit off of it right now. It’s a very tough industry.

Translate that to the online world. I can absolutely tell you that large diamond rings and jewelry good enough for royalty is not purchased through a web site. People use the web site and social media to look and decide what kind of jewelry they would like. They watch us very closely for style and for how that jewelry is displayed with fashion. The photography work is very important. The new website put in place over a year ago has been crucial for gaining in traffic. We do see gains repeatedly. What I find is that people like to look online and then when they want to buy, no one buys a 10 CTS diamond without seeing it first. So a lot of what I do is the credibility card. The introduction. The trend setter.

In many ways, this kind of business is the same as selling the world’s mega yachts. And if you know that business you know that recessions can be very hard on luxury goods. But the one thing to keep in mind is that diamonds are hard assets. They don’t wildly fluctuate in value like a stock that you may own in a portfolio. The size and quality of a diamond determines if it is investment grade.

I had to make a decision recently about whether to stay or go with this brand. I have a lot of loyalties because I care about the family that built this brand. It is a business that truly needs every talent I have to offer, which are diverse as you know. I have worked very hard for 30 years to have a diverse and excellent skill set. I am staying and I am sticking it out knowing that if we end up in a recession, we may very well put every genius idea into this and still take a beating just like 2007-2008. I sincerely hope that it doesn’t happen. But if it does, I think businesses like that need people like me.

It’s never an easy decision when you let one client take over all your time. If I look at the people involved, for me it’s a relatively easy and sound decision because we’ve managed to work through some very difficult challenges. And I’ve been handed some enormous challenges from which I don’t back down. Do I still represent other businesses? Yes. But make no doubt, there’s one brand that owns the majority of my time.

Let me count off the areas of impact that I’ve had and what I need to continue:

The new web site – this made an enormous impact on our traffic. There are still many areas that we want to change and restructure. There are also upgrades to the server and software that I need to make.

Photographing, building out and scheduling of all the social media content. We would be nothing without the people who follow us and encourage us to do it. I work hard to try to spin things in a fresh approach.

The print advertising in covers, ads, special sections because sometimes people just want to hold it in their hands. And when you’re in the context of an expensive magazine, it does exactly that – it puts you in context.

Where we’ve fallen down is not putting enough effort into digital marketing. We’ve also not done email marketing because that can’t happen until the inventory management system is finished. That is the mother of all beasts as far as I’m concerned. That system will catalog the inventory and tie it to the web site, the accounting system, and will serve as the in store POS. When we took this on, I had no idea that I, as one person would have to build out the whole thing. We could not import the data because the old record keeping did not hold up on the test imports. So the data had to be manually put into the system for the best accuracy. Of course, I’ve had to learn a tremendous amount about jewelry on the way in this journey.

When I first started two years ago, I couldn’t tell a Ceylon Sapphire from a Tanzanite. I, like every other person not educated in diamond, thought that carat weight pertained to size. The larger the carats the bigger in diameter right? Not true. That’s only true if it’s a round diamond. If it’s not round, carat weight doesn’t pertain to size.

And one of the largest challenges has been to identify and market to potential candidates for the Guinness pieces. I built the mother of all databases on wealth, who it belongs to and their home addresses. Even in the context of modern data mining techniques, that information doesn’t necessarily come easily. But I found it, identified it, classified it and now I’m working my way down a list. It’s a very expensive and personal thing to send a complete packet on a Guinness item. If you received one, it means you were hand selected for that particular piece based on a number of criteria.

There has also been trade show planning and sometimes representation.

There are also times when I’ve had to step up to the plate to be the model. It’s totally ironic that I’ve been single for over 25 years and yet now had probably over 100 of the world’s finest engagement rings on my hands. Some time I’ll have to write a post about which ones would be my pick and why based up what I know about the stones.

And then there’s the hardest one of them all – on rare occasion I have to step in to sit at the front desk and sell when everyone is out. That’s when you start pulling all this information that you’ve typed into the web site and records from your head as you look at piece and explain it to someone. You’re not explaining something that someone would buy at a Kay Jewelers. You are explaining an important piece of jewelry. One that is complex and with a history.

I have learned through the years to never underestimate the value of the people who sell these kinds of pieces every day. It takes a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. It’s just like the details that I have to know about servers, coding, SEO, SMM, pay per click, photography, print production, layout and design, marketing of any type. What I do is very detail and specific as is what they do.

If this economy does turn south again, what we are up against will not be easy. But at least we truly have a team of experts. And as I’ve said before, I’m not one to shy away from a challenge. People that have not failed have not pushed themselves far enough. I learned that with Hard Rock Park and then I tested what I already knew – that I was capable of even more and that’s what I did if you look at my track record. We failed because of what happened in the economy in 2007-2008. You can let something like that bring you down (which it will for a temporary period of time) or you can learn from it and become strong and let it propel you forward.

So with all that said, you might now understand why I would choose to stay in an industry during a challenging time. I sincerely hope that we are not heading into that kind of period again.

I’ve had many people tell me that I make it look easy. Trust me, there are many parts of what I do for a living that are not easy.

But there’s one thing you can be sure of :

Challenges that test your character, can later define you.

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Finally, the fun stuff…

25 Aug

A nice glass of Perrier with fresh lemon and then I set about the tasks that I do every weekend which I enjoy. Selecting my clothes, shoes, purses and jewelry for the week.

And planning my menus for the week. As well as planning my workouts. My cooking is far fewer calories than eating out.

I made a very nice Sunday dinner and enjoyed a few minutes in the dining room while I mentally noted what I wanted on the menus this week.

Dinner was stuffed chicken breasts with broccoli and a light cheese with vegetable pilaf.

I went for my monthly massage earlier in the day. It was very nice. I had time to remind myself that I haven’t yet looked at all the photos I took in Paris, let alone edit them.

In the afternoon, I had time to call a girlfriend and get caught up. I told her I brought back tea from Versailles and I wanted to plan a high tea luncheon. Just a girls afternoon, it will be fun.

I’d like a little reading time this evening. And a nice bath…

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It’s the backend stuff that clients never see…

25 Aug

They are all items that had to be done. I cringe when I think about all the other web sites that need the same thing.

On a client site, I had to upgrade the PHP from 5.6 yo 7.0 because the toolsets we use no longer support PHP 5.6. One third of the Internet has this same issue. That’s a lot of web sties. Then I had to provision the SSL because there is no point in configuring the e-commerce any further until SSL is attached. It changes your settings and ports.

This is the nitty gritty stuff that clients never see that is necessary to keep items running.

There’s another company on the same server that needs the same steps. I cringe at the thought of the functions that might break if we update a site that old. That’s the problem with updating old sites, if there’s a mandatory upgrade, that upgrade can break the functionality of the old site. Then you can end up with a bunch of work that needs to be done.

It’s kind of like code enforcement for your house. Say you just wanted to add a kitchen island and the next thing you know, code enforcement is telling you that you have to upgrade all the electrical in the kitchen to meet code. It’s just like that kind of situation.

Well I’ve done what I can do on the upgrading for this weekend. There’s a time period that I have to wait before I start building out the e-commerce in entirety. So that now moves to next Saturday.

Now it’s time to take a break and get a massage today.

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To answer your questions…

24 Aug

Sometimes when I have a friend who is asking questions, I know the other ones have similar questions.

Question 1 – Which magazine covers did you do this year? Just give me the notable list.

Answer – Well there was the 2 page spread in Rolls Royce. There was the back cover of Palm Beach The Island design magazine. The Palm Beach Guide. The only magazine on the ship The World – there’s a back cover, a 15 page insert and I have an article on style. The World is the ship where the billionaires of the world own the apartments. They spend their time traveling the world. There’s only one magazine on the ship. Those same ads also appears in magazines at The Mandarin Oriental, The Biltmore, The Chesterfield, Delta Sky (for club travelers) and other locations.

Those are the notables that come to mind. This year there might be a shift in ad spend and we might run digital campaigns. We ran some last year but not nearly enough to get us where we need to be.

Question 2 – Did you forget to buy anything in Paris. Any regrets.

Answer – Yes, actually I did but I’ve now ordered them. Two of my favorites are Black Currant Tea and Black Currant Jam for putting on English Muffins. I meant to pick them up. I forgot but I ordered them.

Question – Are you ignoring us this month?

Answer – No, I am just swamped with work because I am double booked. I try not to do this but it was really necessary. I still love all my friends and I think about you. No worries.

Question – I loved that green dress. How did the date go? What’s the story?

Answer: You already know this story. We’ve actually known each other for a couple of years now. He calls me to go out when he’s in town. I think it’s like four or five times a year. He has excellent taste. He’s very good looking and brilliant. What’s not to like? He always takes me to the nicest places. We have a lot in common. Our dads were both electrical engineers. His hobby is photography. He loves the camera the same as I do. He took a family company public and retired at 36. Then he went to Harvard Business School and started a company for himself. Before he went to Harvard he was a chemical engineer. He spends a lot of time in the New York area. And he travels the world much of the year. We met a couple of years ago because he owns a home in my neighborhood. Right down the street. We are both entrepreneurs. You know this story you’ve heard it before.

That’s enough questions for this weekend. I’ve got to go. Client work is calling today.

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It was late when I got in…

23 Aug

I got home after 10 p.m. last night. I put a full day in working on building the new inventory management system on Worth at the jewelry store. It’s a massive project for one person. I am actually adding in the inventory as I go. Soon, M. and I are going to close the store and devote 2 weeks to the yearly inventory. I am determined to finish this because this has the ability to revolutionize the way we do business.

I came home night grabbed my stuff and headed to the gym. When I got home it was after 10.

I am facing another time pressed weekend. But then I knew this was coming. I want to try to finish the client site that I started a few weeks ago. And then I’ve got to make some time for me. There will be the usual – laundry, cleaning, bills, etc. But then on Sunday I am scheduled for a massage and to get my nails done. They hurt if I don’t get them done every two weeks.

I wouldn’t mind a late night swim either.

This weekend’s schedule doesn’t leave much time for rest and no time for seeing friends. I am hoping the weekend after will be different.

As they say, “No time for the wicked…”

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The good news is also bad news…

21 Aug

Addendum Note – I filed for Homestead and received it last year. If I hadn’t I would have been looking at a 24% increase if you work the numbers backwards. I didn’t buy this property to flip. But if you’re going to flip a property that’s why it absolutely has to sell within 10 months or you lost.

That’s how you become a victim of your own success. It has to move quickly. If the holding costs don’t get you the property tax will.

———————

The Palm Beach County Property Appraisers office released the increased values. As a county, property values went up about 4.7%.

My home’s value went up 14%. It went up far more than the county average. That’s the good news and the bad news. Yes, I know how to pick a property and I know what to do with it. This was a good investment of my money and my skills. I gutted the property when I bought it and redesigned it. The bad news is the tax bill obviously.

——-

I have been so go, go, go all week that this evening, I am going to relax a bit. I’m going to do a hot bath and soak in the salts, a little spa music, some beauty treatments, a little televisions, a little magazine reading, some herbal tea and a good night’s sleep.

My home is my sanctuary and the place where I relax and I love it.

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It was a late night last night…

21 Aug

I went straight from the office to a class that talked about the changes in data for Facebook Marketing and changes to the algorithms.

I didn’t get home until after 9 p.m.

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I have reading to get caught up on…

20 Aug

Going through the mail now that I’m home…looks like I have some reading to get caught up.

I put a full day in at Palm Beach today, went to the gym and then had dinner at 9:30. It seems late to get dinner but with my schedule, what can I do?

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I had such a nice time last night…

18 Aug

This is how the dress turned out. It was a very lovely fun, evening. I had a great time.

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So how do I look?

17 Aug

I decided to go with the dress I bought in Paris for my date tonight. How do I look?

Laura Kerbyson - Dress from Paris

Here’s a shot with the eventing bag I also bought in Paris. This is getting hard – holding the bag, holding the camera….

And here’s a quick makeup check….the kitchen has better lighting.

Laura Kerbyson

We are going to Flagler Steakhouse (that’s a Breakers Restaurant) and then we are going to The Breakers afterwards.

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Here’s my plan…

17 Aug

Once I got back into this project today, I saw how much imaging work has to be done. I am working on the imaging today. It’s not simple imaging because there are a lot of skews involved in the layers. There’s a lot of photography work.

Tomorrow, I hope to sink some new images into the structure. I am also going to have to copy an intricate asset and then rip it apart to rework it. I can do it on the backend without anyone seeing what I am doing. I think it’s going to take 2 more weekends to complete. When I finish with all that I have to build out the e-commerce portion. The only thing that’s saving me time right now is that I setup this server years ago so everything is where it’s supposed to be.

I have to allow some time tomorrow to grocery shop and go to the gym. I’m just thinking about allocating the time it’s going to take.

As for this evening, I have a major dress dilemma. The gown I brought back from Paris needs to be hemmed. I can wear it but it will drag. So that leaves me with the question, “Do I wear another gown out of the closet and save the Paris gown for later? Or do I wear it anyways?” If I wear another gown, which gown do I wear?

I don’t understand how you can have 2 closets of dresses and you can’t figure out what to wear?

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Plans for Saturday…

17 Aug

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

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

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

That’s the news for now.

Have a great Saturday.

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

15 Aug

I knew this would happen.

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

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

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

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

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

Got to go…time to work out.

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There are thousands of photos of Paris downloaded…

14 Aug

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

Aerial View of Paris

Aerial View of The Louvre in Paris

Aerial of Louvre

Versailles

Versailles

Versailles Gardens

sacre-coeur

Locks in Paris

Ok, then here are a few of us…

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

Laura Kerbyson in Paris

Laura Kerbyson in Paris

My mother, Lin at dinner…

Lin

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

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

And no trip to Paris is complete without this…

Eiffel Tower in Paris

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

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Brief recap of Paris…

12 Aug

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

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

These were some of the highlights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Madam is returning from my tour…

12 Aug

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

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

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Au revoir…

04 Aug

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

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

02 Aug

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

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

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

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

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My trip to Paris…

01 Aug

I leave the first of next week.

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

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

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Why the new gym philosophy works…

30 Jul

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

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

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

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

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This is a very, very serious post…

28 Jul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s my point in today’s post.

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Check it out…

28 Jul

I love this.

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

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

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

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

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

LOL

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

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Last night…

26 Jul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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