Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a Pirate’s Life for Me

I imagine that the majority out there will very quickly tire of hearing this, but I really do have the best job in the world.

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I mean, in what other possible world could I get paid to do things like hang out with awesome people, eat free food, and drink beer… all while dressed like a pirate wench?

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Of course, Elite Events are but one facet of this job, which has me doing all kinds of stuff — from marketing to business owner education to public speaking to writing — but since events are the easiest to show (and show off, hehe), I figured I’d share a few pictograms from my event last night at Heavy Seas Alehouse in Arlington!

The kinds of events that I plan range very far and wide (I’ve done everything from 20-person wine dinners to a 800-person mini-festival!) but ones like yesterdays are by far my favorite. You know, ones that are not too big and not too small, which gives everyone a real chance to mingle and get to chat with one another, and are all about promoting a great local business. And, of course, it always helps to have a fun theme to boot!

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Anyway, you probably get the picture so I won’t drone on for too much longer about how much I love my job. But, I mean, you can’t really blame me for wanting to talk about it, right? Also, I didn’t want to make this post take a floppity jillion scrolls to get through due to having too many pics, but check out the slider at the top of this post to see additional photos of the event, taken by my fabulous brother and sis-in-law (and you can see ALL the photos from the event here.)

If you’re interested in getting in on awesome events just like this where you live, just head on over to Yelp.com/Elite and see how you can get on the squad! After all, pirate-themes are just the beginning. I mean, I haven’t even gotten around to planning my Harry Potter or Hunger Games Elite Events yet…

The Good, The Bad, and the Crazy

My big, huge, spectacular, monstrosity of a promotion — Yelp’s Passport to Mosaic — is almost upon us, which means that with each passing day I have somehow become even crazier than I already was. Impossible, I know, but here we are.

Yelp's Passport to Mosaic!

I am SO excited for this thing to kick off, because logically I do know that it’s going to be awesome and that the majority of the work is already done. HOWEVER, I think we all know by now that logic is not exactly my strong-suit, and thus every other hour in the day is peppered with a mini-panic attack over the fact that I’m trying to pull off EIGHT events in SEVEN days because dude, that is a lot. In a good way. But still.

The Good:

RSVP response for all of the events has been really good (I hope some of you in the area are considering coming out for one or two!), and we’re getting some good media promotion out of this! A lot of the logistical stuff is being totally handled, like managing RSVPs, communicating with the business owners, and getting things printed. I also spent three hours yesterday afternoon literally going door to door over at Mosaic just to make sure everything was hunky-dory with participating businesses.

The Bad:

Swag bags, man. Every time I do an event where there are gift bags/swag bags/individual gifts of some kind, I always swear I’ll never do them again. After all, they are painstaking and time-consuming to put together AND incredibly difficult to transport… and yet, here we are! My Elite Event on Sunday is the big kickoff for the entire week, so I wanted to do something to make it feel really special. And since I already had so many awesome businesses interested in participating in the promotion in general, a lot of them also wanted to contribute something! Plus all the awesome Yelp schwag that we’ve got going on to start (can we say Yelp luggage tags? So cute!) So really, it is awesome, because these swag bags are gonna be too legit to quit, but at the same time, it means that tomorrow afternoon, my intern Lendsey and I will be packing swag bags until the end of time. Eep!

The Crazy:

Remember all that awesome media coverage that we’re getting for Passport? Well, included in part of that is the fact that I’M GONNA BE ON TV!! AHHHHHHH!! That is totally the definition of crazy, is it not? Let’s Talk Live DC has asked me to come onto their show and talk about Passport. It’s my first TV spot, so I’m obviously just a liiiittle bit nervous. But it’s that kind of super excited, shaky nervousness that will hopefully translate into me seeming REALLY ENTHUSIASTIC about this promotion. Which, I am. So hopefully that’ll all work itself out.

So make sure you watch me make a fool of myself on live TV — Monday, 3/31 on News Channel 8! (808 in HD.) The show airs from 11 AM to 12 PM. Eeeeeeee!

Though some of the nittier, grittier parts of this promotion still have yet to be completely ironed out, I guess that when I really sit down and take stock of everything I’ve done, and everything I still have to do, things aren’t quite as overwhelming as I thought. So basically, just the simple act of me writing this post has worked wonders on my mental stability. Which is good! Because while I’m sure that my weigh-in on Friday will be totally awesome this week, I’m not sure that being unable to eat from stress is the way to achieve my weight loss goals, hahaha.

And on the plus side, going on TV Monday means I have a legit excuse to get my hair redone! I’m actually going in this afternoon… anyone wanna take guesses on what color I’ll come out with today? Heheheheh.

Whirlwind Week

Oh what a week, what a week, what a mighty fine week!

When I last left you, I was on my way to not-quite-sunny-but-wonderfully-temperate San Francisco for a week of Yelptastic shenanigans with the other 150+ Community Managers from ’round the globe. We called it #CMWeek14 and, as you can imagine, it was just as awesome as you’d think.

 

1. Goodies from the hotel welcome bag; 2. Beer + dark chocolate sea salt popsicle at the welcome party

There was a lot of learning, waaaaayyyy too much eating, a decent amount of me trying not to be the awkward “new kid” in front of so many seasoned Yelp vets (obviously I failed at that one, ahaha), and just generally a whole lot of good times.

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1. Sushiritto: IT EXISTS; 2. Personalized latte from the Yelp barista

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I am extremely blessed to have this job. I mean, to not only be able to do things that I love everyday, but to work with such amazing, talented, creative, and awe-inspiring individuals to boot? Those of you who are Yelp Elite Squad members in other states (maybe even countries?) know exactly what I’m talking about.


My Regional Team: NC, DC, MD, PA, and VA in the hooooouse!

Our days pretty much consisted of nonstop sessions, group lunches and dinners, and then me being dragged into the party hardy fray after all of that. Don’t get me wrong, it was a BLAST, but I rarely go that hard on my own turf, let alone with a wonky time difference thrown into the mix. The night we took over a karaoke bar was 100% worth it alone, but believe you me, I suffered afterwards.

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In fact, it seems like the second I set foot back on northern Virginia soil, my body was like, “BWAHAHAHA. AND NOW I SHALL HAVE MY REVENGE.” I got sick, and I got sick harrrrrd. Maybe it’s just the symptoms of CM week withdrawal, but it feels more like bubonic plague.

Of course, the train never stops rolling these days, so I didn’t let a little thing like being on my deathbed stop me from pulling off another swell Yelp Elite Event! On Sunday, just two days after I got back from SF, was Yelp’s Social Petworking!



Since having Daxter at an event has pretty much been my goal from the very beginning, it wasn’t too hard for me to rally for this one. That said, I’ve pretty much spent every other moment — both waking and sleeping — in bed, trying to shake this dang plague.

And why is it so important that I will myself back to health? Because tomorrow I’m off AGAIN! This time, it’s back to Macon, GA for my niece Mia’s FIRST BIRTHDAY! (Do you guys remember when SHE WAS BORN?! Yeah, an entire YEAR HAS PASSED SINCE THEN. Crazy.)

Life, man! It’s happening! Oy!

Anyway, that brings you all back up to speed, and with this next trip being hopefully a little less pedal-to-the-medal (I can’t imagine Mia wanting to go balls to the wall on her first birthday, but you never know…) I’ll be able to get back into the groove with blogging, eating, weight loss, and all that good stuff.

On a related note, I gave up potatoes for Lent this year, so let’s see how that goes, shall we?

The Pros and Cons of Working From Home

So, as you guys know, my new job has altered my life quite a bit. Not in any kind of bad way, kind of the opposite — for once in my life, I absolutely LOVE my job! (Though I don’t scream it from the rooftop toooooo much, since I don’t want a mob of angry government contractors chasing after me with pitchforks for being immodest, haha.)

But even though I seriously love it, it has come with a LOT of changes to my lifestyle. For one thing, I’m busier now than I have EVER been. Which means, as you already know, blogging has had to take a backseat, and progress on my sequel to Terra has been much, much slower than I anticipated. Probably the biggest way that things have changed, however, is that I’m now working from home, which is simultaneously the best and worst thing to have happened.

I’m sure that those of you who have never worked from home probably think I’m crazy for even thinking the word “worst” right now, but just hear me out. There are a lot of pros to not having to go into an office every day, absolutely. But there are quite a few cons as well. Let me ‘splain:

Pro: No alarm clock.

Well, no alarm clock other than the fluffy white schnauzer who wakes me up around 9:30 every morning, that is. But still, it is REALLY nice not having to schedule my morning around how long it’s going to take me to battle DC traffic into the city.

Con: No bedtime.

Of course, the other side of this is that I also don’t have any reason to force myself into bed at night. Which means oftentimes, I’m working late and staying up even later. A 2 AM or later bedtime is not uncommon ’round these parts nowadays.

Pro: I set my own schedule.

Need to go the grocery store? Have a doctor’s appointment? Want to go meet some friends for happy hour? Want to take the schnauzies to the dog park? I can do ALL of that! Which is honestly probably the best part of this whole kit ‘n’ caboodle. I don’t have to schedule PTO if I need to run an errand or take care of something, I can just go do it. I set my own schedule, and as long as I’m getting crap done on a weekly basis, it’s all good in the hood. Now, if only I could actually force myself to make working out part of this schedule o’ mine. I really have NO excuse anymore, other than that this new job hasn’t made me magically hate exercising any less, hahahaha. But hey, at least I’m walking the dogs a lot more!

Con: I am working pretty much non-stop.

So here’s the thing: When I’m not running errands or going to get my car’s safety inspection done or taking the dogs for a walk, I am probably working. I still have NOT figured out a way to shut my brain off from working, even when I really should be “done” for the day. I see a work email notification ping up on my iPhone and I simply MUST CHECK IT.

Nights? Weekends? Fageddaboutit. I have constant, unfettered access to my work email at all times, and I have events and festivals to either attend or work most a lot of the time. Ergo, it really does seem like I am ALWAYS working. It is not uncommon for me to pull my laptop onto my lap first thing in the morning, while still in bed, and not really close it until late at night. I check my phone to make sure there aren’t any new emails right before I go to bed a lot of the time. And it’s not that I do these things because I have to, I know logically that the email will still be there in the morning, that people will be okay if I don’t take care of something OMGRIGHTNOW. But I just can’t help it. It’s a bit of a sickness, really.

One of the tips I got when I was in San Francisco last week for training is to initiate a “laptops down” rule, which I think I definitely need to do. I know this is something I actively need to work on, especially since there are other things happening in my life that I want — and NEED — to devote time to… sigh.

Pro: No more dress code!

Okay, let’s end this on a high note, since I really don’t want anyone to think that this isn’t an awesome situation for me. As mentioned, I sincerely love this job, it’s perfect for me, and I am also still new to working from home, so I’m sure that I’ll get a better handle on things the longer I do it. Plus, there’s still at least one more pretty awesome pro left for me to discuss!

While this is also sort of a con, since my dress code is now pretty much just “pajamas,” I won’t lie, I really, really like not having to think about what I’m going to wear from a business or business casual perspective. Plus, I can do stuff like this now:

And really, having purple and pink hair is a pro that kinda outweighs everything else. 😉

Do you work from home? What are your tips/tricks for establishing a regular schedule and not working ALL THE TIME?

Exciting Announcements

Hi there, amigos! I hope you all have had a great weekend/week so far. I had yesterday off from work in honor of our brave veterans, and today I have a couple of exciting pieces of news for you all!

So first off, I have some relatively exciting (day)job related stuff. Part of the reason I’ve been so busy, and not blogging as regularly/in as timely a manner lately (er, beyond the whole “I’m publishing a book thing“, hehe) is that I’m actually transitioning into a new position at work! I’m not 100% in my new job yet, I’m in kind of a dual-job limbo right now, but that means there’s a lot of running back and forth (my new position is in a different building a couple blocks away from my old one) and a lot of training and whatnot. Still, a lot of changes and things to keep me busy, which is kind of a good thing!

My second piece of news may actually be a little upsetting to some of you. See, for years now, I have been a devoted Apple fangirl. Early adopter of each new iPhone model I’ve been eligible for, I’ve also been in love with the Macbook I got my senior year of college (even after I accidentally cracked the glass display with the heel of my foot… oops), Apple has never let me down. And yet, this weekend, something happened…

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Whoops?

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Yep, I am now the proud owner of an Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook. 13.3″ screen, white and aluminum, and like, 3 pounds. Sa-weet.

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Complete with Windows 8, I tested this puppy out for the first time a week or so prior, and was immediately smitten. I thought I’d had my heart really set on getting a Macbook Air, as my old Macbook has been increasingly slow (and, you know, cracked…) but was going to wait a while before doing so. As it turns out, however, my old laptop had other intentions. Recently, the wifi stopped working on my laptop, so I knew it was time to start the replacement process.

Sean and I stopped in the Microsoft Store at Tysons a week or so ago, to check out their new Surface tablets. While we were there, I started looking at the new laptops, all fitted with Windows 8, and was seriously blown away. The new system is really intuitive, looks GREAT, and was just a lot of fun. Plus, the aesthetics of some of their new machines (especially my new Acer), really give Apple a run for its money. I know that for some of you, looks are the least important part of a computer, but c’mon, nobody’s immune to a really sleek-looking comp. We left the store that day and the cogs were already turning, trying to weigh what I already knew about Macbooks (sleek, fast, great design, reliable) with what I liked about the new PC Ultrabooks.

We went back to the store this past weekend to check them out some more, and after spending over an hour in the store (and watching a Windows 8 demo, etc), I knew what I wanted. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the best part!

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Yep, my new ultrabook has a TOUCHSCREEN. A super responsive and awesome one, too. They say that Windows 8 really was made for touchscreen, and I believe it. I love getting to scroll through things with a swipe of my hand, and it really feels seamless. That said, if you are considering getting Windows 8 installed on your non-touch computer, I’ve heard that it’s a fairly disappointing experience because all those buttons just scream “TOUCH ME!” (Um, in a non-sexual way, obvi.)

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I painted this WITH MY HANDS. Well, and with a ridicuslouly overpriced touchscreen paintbrush that I couldn’t NOT get. I mean, c’mon. I know I’m no fine artist, but dang it if touchscreen doesn’t make it fun to try.

So, there you have it. A couple of exciting snippets for you. Oh, I had a third one, too. Slightly less exciting to normal people, but to people like me who are obsessed with food, this one is a good’n. I’ve officially started testing out new Thanksgiving recipes, which means it is GOOD EATIN’ TIME in my casa.

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Last night’s dinner extraordinatire involved a new recipe for mashed potatoes that I’m trying out (I determined that my Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes recipe is still the reigning champ though).

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I paired the ‘taters with a side of maple and bacon brussels sprouts (amazeballs as always!).

Sprouts

And a pork chop with a cinnamon apple and onion chutney (or something). Which was effing delicious.

Pork Chop 2

NOMs all around!

Are you a Mac or a PC? I like to think at this point, I’m a bit of both! I’ve got my PC desktop, my old Macbook, my new ultrabook, and my iPhone 5. Not to mention my brother has his PC dekstop, plus an 11-inch Macbook Air, plus an iPad (and an iPhone 5 as well). Our house is not only biracial, but bicomputersal as well.

Okay, that was lame. I’m done.