bubblesToday marks a day for new beginnings.  It’s about closing the door on one chapter, and opening the door to the next.  The old closing/opening door analogy rears its simple-minded head.  Couldn’t I have thought of something more exciting?  No.  Because truthfully, I’m a little wiped out after the last few weeks.

As some of you may know, today is my last day with my current employer, the brand strategy and design firm Lippincott.  I’ve spent an emotional two weeks saying goodbye to the people who have been like a second family to me.

I’ve worked here for the better part of a decade.  It’s been my home away from home.  Well, here, or Cincinnati, OH, Milwaukee, WI, Bentonville, AK, and all of the conference rooms around this great nation that have welcomed me with open arms. And a frightening display of extension cords and projection screens.  Those, I will happily leave behind.

The life of a consultant is akin to the life of a traveling sales(wo)man, which isn’t the best arrangement for a mother of three young kids.  The time felt right to steer this ship on my own, to venture out and explore the world as an entrepreneur.  Over the summer I’ll be building a business that uses the branding lessons I’ve learned in the field, applied to the blogs, startups and small businesses who often need this advice the most.  Given the number of bloggers who visit this site, some of this information may find its way here.  So stay tuned, lots of exciting things to come.

But what is a celebration without a fabulous new dress?  Well, my dress in this case, is an updated blog design that has much of the same look and feel as its predecessor, but is cleaner, easier to navigate, and just a little bit more fun. 

After all, I couldn’t be preachy about good design when I still had some gripes with the existing look and feel.  That’s the problem with working in a design firm – you ask for an honest opinion, and you get “weeeeelll, it does have mismatching colors, and I can see the repeat in your background which drives me a little crazy, and that menu bar is really the focal point when it shouldn’t be, and those social media icons are just too big….”

And unfortunately, or fortunately, I agreed with all of it.  So here is the first branding lesson of many to come: Know your limits, and know when and where to get the help you need.  It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, and in one of my upcoming posts, I’ll show you how.

So, here’s to fabulous new dresses.  And fabulous new beginnings.



Photo credit: Creative Commons “Fir0002/Flagstaffotos”

He loves old navy

Poor Jack, doesn’t realize that Old Navy they don’t give out bacon treats. Just look at him waiting so patiently, dagger through the heart.

This week we had a few themes going on for Wordless Wednesday, not intentionally of course, but some connections that occurred include: things that went missing (bacon, my neck), adventures with pee, and adventures with too much alcohol.  But of course we end on a good note so that you don’t report me to child protective services.

RODNEY: "Why are you sending one word responses to my emails?" ME: "Obviously because I'm in a cab holding a hot plate of macaroni and cheese with one hand.  And that just took me half an hour to write.  Dammit." Alternate caption for this picture: "Woman with floating head carries mac 'n cheese."

RODNEY: “Why are you sending one word responses to my emails?”
ME: “Obviously because I’m in a cab balancing a 5-lb macaroni and cheese in one hand. And that just took me half an hour to write. Dammit.”
Alternate caption for this picture:
“Woman with floating head carries mac ‘n cheese.”

ME: "Why am I crouching in this nasty corner with pee and graffiti?"   RODNEY: "Why are you crouching in that nasty corner with pee and graffiti?" ME: "Because I was trying to jump out and surprise you but it didn't work."

ME: “Why am I crouching in this nasty corner with pee and graffiti?”
RODNEY: “Why are you crouching in that nasty corner with pee and graffiti?”
ME: “Because I was trying to jump out and surprise you but it didn’t work. Have a nice day at the office.”

Any guesses

On the topic of pee, here is a picture that I posted on FB, with the caption “any guesses”. NO people, it was not full of pee. Do you think that I’d post a jar of my pee on FB for all the world to see? And do you think that I’m severely dehydrated? And no, it was not whiskey either. Or kombucha. It was bacon grease, heading straight towards some roasted potatoes or chocolate chip cookies. 
Again, on the topic of pee, the beauty of the can is deceiving.  What it tastes like, particularly after it's been warming at your desk for a few hours while you sip and work, is....well, you know where I'm going with this.  And why was I drinking at the office again?  Oh, right, office party that evening.

Again, on the topic of pee, the beauty of the can is deceiving. What it tastes like, particularly after it’s been warming at your desk for a few hours while you sip and work, is….well, you know where I’m going with this. And why was I drinking at the office again? Oh, right, office party. Was concerned for a second that there wasn’t a reason.

continue reading



You may have seen one of my recent Wordless Wednesday posts where I alluded to an event that happened over Father’s Day weekend.  I don’t care if they’re essentially harmless.  Cicadas are the most frightening bugs I’ve ever seen without the safety net of a 2-inch thick shatterproof zoo tank.

Here are some more details from the incident:

It was our first sunny day after a long week of miserably cold and rainy June weather.  We were heading out to the lake.  Emma was already in her swimsuit.  Music was thumping, windows were open to the warm breeze.  Here, see for yourself, and please disregard Emma’s black eye.  It is only her second.  And I use the word “only” because she really should have had nine of these by now given her deadly combination of fearlessness, immature coordination, and really bad luck.

Looks like a good time, right? So imagine that you’re cruising along the highway, enjoying life, drinking your coffee, singing angsty pop songs.  And then you hear a scream.  The most blood-curdling scream you’ve ever heard. Worse than the scream you made when you watched the teenage couple from Psycho II sneak into the basement of the Bates Motel and run into Mother. 

You turn around and you see a giant cicada on your little one’s carseat.

It’s the size of your fist and it’s crawling towards her.  And your eldest daughter is watching the whole thing go down, screaming her head off.  And now the baby is screaming because she doesn’t know what’s going on but screaming is contagious. 

Thankfully, you’re a mom.  You know what to do.  You tell everyone to calm down, that it’s just a bug.  And you gently try to swish it out the window.

That is not what I did.
continue reading



Has anyone ever seen one of these things?  You might have passed it by in the grocery store, and headed straight to the freezer section where you discretely speed-dialed customer service, wanting to report the rotting fruit at the front of the store.  But it’s not rotting, it’s actually edible, and pretty darn good! (That is, if you’re into oranges, because it’s essentially an orange’s less attractive, but really nice sister.  And yes, you should feel bad for it.  I do.).  So if you really want to embarrass your children, send them off to school with one of these nestled into the lunchbox and don’t expect to be greeted at pickup with a flurry of hugs and kisses. 

ME: OK guys, here’s the….what is this called again?

LAUREN: Uh, Ugly fruit!

ME: Oh, no, she just called it an ugly fruit.  That’s so mean.  Do you think it’s an ugly fruit?

LAUREN: Yeah, it looks ugly, but, actually, I think it tastes good.

ME: Have you had it before?

LAUREN: No, but I think it tastes good.

SAM: (Holding it up) I’m going to marry you!

ME: Oh, Sam, that’s so nice of you, what a gentleman.  Why are you going to marry it?  Because you feel bad for it? 

SAM: (no answer, just a confused look.  Maybe he said “I’m going to carry you.”)

ME: What does it smell like?

LAUREN: Hmmm, it has a strong smell.

ME: It’s like a genie in a bottle, if you rub it, it will smell even stronger.

ME: What does it smell like now?

LAUREN: I think it smells like a stroooong orange.

continue reading


MacandcheeseThis post is about mac ‘n cheese.  But it’s more than that.  It’s about friendship.  It’s about love.

We have a friend.  Let’s just call him Roby.  Could be Robert, could be Toby.  Could actually be Moby, but I don’t know Moby.  Although I do like his music.  But for reasons that will become clear shortly, I’d like to protect our friend’s identity.

I went to a birthday dinner last week for Roby, and during dinner, gifts started to fly across the table. I sat there, paralyzed, realizing that I’d forgotten to get him something.  This, after neglecting to make him the mac ‘n cheese I’d promised for assembling two bunk beds I’d ordered on sale from Walmart.  That had just a few pieces really, maybe between 500 and 5,000.

Roby is a good friend, you see.  Probably the greatest friend you could ask for.  Such a close friend that he became ordained by the Universal Life Church and served as the pastor at our wedding.  Rodney returned the favor several years later by marrying Roby to his beautiful wife Rihanna (again, protecting the innocent here).

Our wedding day was perfection. We got married on a hidden beach in Mexico on the Pacific Coast, not too far from Zihuatanejo, surrounded by beloved friends and family members.

The alter was simple.  It wasn’t a formal affair, just the three of us standing together, flanked by our bridesmaids and groomsmen, our guests a few feet back, fanning themselves in the golden glow of sunset.  My heels sank into the mat on the sand, making the height difference between me and Rodney even more awkward and pronounced.  At one point I became panicked and confused, thinking that I was marrying Pablo Escobar, but relief swept over me when I looked up from the billowing white suit, and saw Rodney’s smiling face looking down on me.

In between us stood Roby. 

From the get-go, he enchanted the audience with his deep baritone. I never realized that he possessed such a voice, but he was clearly inspired, moved by the occasion.

“Good evening…” he boomed from the mic. 

What Roby didn’t know was that in the center of his crisply-pressed linen pants, seeped quite a significant pee stain.  How big?  Bigger than a quarter…maybe not as big as a sand dollar.  But pretty sizable given his perch.

I don’t proclaim to know what men do when they’ve finished their business- if there is a thwack-thwack that needs to happen before the underwear gets pulled back into position.  Or a gentle shake.  But clearly this hadn’t happened.  No thwack. No shake. 


continue reading