July 30, 2014

Today In Shoes: Happy and Powerful

Filed under: Daily Highlights,Style — Emily Reeves @ 6:55 pm

Tall, bright and pointy.

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My Kind Of Party

Filed under: Girl Gets Geeky,Personal — Emily Reeves @ 1:00 pm

To quote my Godmother when planning a beach vacation, “You can snorkel, boat, or beach-comb. Or sit inside and read like Emily.”

I found this phrase on a sweatshirt in my Pinterest feed. I was so me, I had to recreate it as a poster.

I like to PARTY.And by -party- I

July 29, 2014

Today In Shoes: Happy and Playful

Filed under: Daily Highlights,Style — Emily Reeves @ 7:55 pm

Shoes set the tone of my day. They establish my attitude. And without fail, wearing heels makes me feel confident. Bright colors make me happy. Black makes me feel sophisticated. Pointy toes make me feel powerful. Round toes make me feel playful. It doesn’t matter if I am having a bad hair day, am feeling a little overweight, or I have bags under my eyes: my shoes always fit and make me feel good. Yes, I have an extensive shoe collection. And for all the reasons listed, I never feel the need to defend my obsession with shoes.

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Working Girl: Modern Day Trapper Keeper

Filed under: Business,Girl Gets Geeky,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 7:40 pm

I come with a lot of baggage. My daily tote bag. My travels. And even to meetings. I say that I am high maintenance, but that I can maintain myself. And usually can maintain all the people around me with all the stuff that I carry with me. Over the last several years I have tried to lighten my loads, but that each attempt barely lasts: I start gradually adding the things that I might need. Or have needed in the past and don’t want to be without.

In a 40-hour work week, I spend, on average, 15+ hours sitting in meetings. In meetings, pens run out of ink, tablets run out of power, my lips get dry, I realize I need my glasses, notebooks run out of paper. Any number of things can happen. Since my motto is “always be prepared,” I want to be prepared for these situations. This means I don’t have to leave the meeting to find a pen, or paper or a charger. I like to believe that it makes the meetings more focused and productive.

Walking into a meeting with a stack of stuff balanced in my hands is distracting and makes me feel (and look) unorganized. Walking in with a tote  bag is overkill and embarrassing. I found a couple of pouches that worked for my purposes, but my stuff wasn’t organized inside making it hard to find the things I needed when I needed them.

After a friends posted a picture of the Mod Mini from This Is Ground on Instagram, tagging it as a “modern take on the Trapper Keeper,” I knew I had to have one of these. Sophisticated and stylish. A variety of inserts to fit my specific needs. Organized and easy to carry. Everything contained and just as I need it.

I have only had my silver Mod Mini for a week, but I believe I have found my perfect meeting companion.


July 26, 2014

Book Review: Show Your Work

Filed under: Book Review — Emily Reeves @ 2:50 pm

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I can’t remember how I was first introduced to Austin Kleon’s work, but I’ve been following him ever since. Books, keynotes, Twitter, enewsletter and his blog all feed my hunger for his words of wisdom. I picked up this copy of Show Your Work at SXSW this year, but just now picked it up from my nightstand to read it. And I read it all in one sitting this afternoon.

In the book, he addresses the question of “getting discovered.” It is about so much more than that though. It is about the creative process and the work that goes into the end product. The value of the work that goes into the product is just as important as the delivered work, according to Kleon. Especially for building an engaged audience who feels apart of  the work that you are creating.

I loved this book and recommend it to anyone needing creative inspiration.

Book Review: Creativity, Inc.

Filed under: Book Review — Emily Reeves @ 11:12 am

After reading this review of Creativity, Inc., by Ed Catmull,  from my boss, I was excited to get my own copy and delve into its stories and insights. The opening of the book immediately connected with me as Catmull explained his career path and the challenges he faced moving from a role of directly being a film-maker to more generally being creative culture leader. In his words, “As I turned my attention from solving technical problems to engaging with the philosophy of sound management, I was excited once again — and sure that our second act could be as exhilarating as our first.”

With my pen in hand, ready to underline and take notes, I excitedly plowed through the 300-page book. I feel like I marked up well over half the book — it was that good and relevant. This is a book for company leaders seeking advice from an experienced manager on how to engage creative teams, yet keep them disciplined and interested. I was able to draw many parallels to the book Good to Great, by Jim Collins, as a modern-day bible for creative leadership and taking a business to the next level by “getting the right people on the bus.”

My favorite takeaways and associated quotes:

Team matters.
“Getting the team right is the necessary precursor to getting the ideas right.”

The story matters.
“For all the care you put into artistry, visual polish frequently doesn’t matter if you are getting the story right.”

Passion matters.
“It was unthinkable that we not do our best.”

Mistakes matter.
“The silver linking of a major meltdown is that it gives managers a chance to send clear signals to employees about the company’s values, which inform the role each individual is expected to play.”

Honesty matters.
“…without the critical ingredient that is candor, there can be no trust. And without trust, creative collaboration is not possible.”

People matter.
“The responsibility for finding and fixing problems should be assigned to every employee, from the most senior manager to the lowliest person on the production line.”

I highly recommend this book to leaders in creative companies and those just generally interested in the “behind-the-scenes” business and insider stories of Pixar Animation.

July 21, 2014

Dogs Make Office Work Better

Filed under: Business,Getting Healthy — Emily Reeves @ 9:37 pm
Bea's corner in my office.

Bea’s corner in my office.

In April, a new member joined our family. Another four-legged member, to make three dogs in our home. My two older dogs are large Labs named Betty and Blanche. This new dog is a petite Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Beatrice.

I love all my dogs equally. But Beatrice gets special privileges because her size and demeanor allow for her to accompany me places. And the office is my favorite place to bring her.

There is not an official pet policy at our office. I am sure one would quickly be invoked should too many animals start appearing and distracting frequently. But for now, Beatrice comes in about three times a week and I like to think she has become our unofficial office mascot.

I like to call Beatrice my service dog. She makes my day more enjoyable and less stressful. But she also helps reduce the stress of those who work with me and around me. I am not alone in this observation. Studies show that dogs in the workplace may lower stress, and make for a more productive-and enjoyable-company environment. While national polls indicate that less than twenty percent of all workplaces allow pets, well-documented evidence points to the benefits of animals in the office.

The specific ways that pets can improve health and wellness in the work place:

  • Stress reduction. Research that has shown the positive effect that pets can have on cardiovascular health, autonomic stress responses, and blood pressure.
  • Forced breaks. Dogs need potty breaks and walks during the day, and their humans are required to take them out. Without this trigger, too many of us would stay at our desks for hours on end. Studies have demonstrated the value of taking frequent, short breaks as a way of increasing productivity, and pets make us do just that.
  • Friendlier environments. The same instinct that leads you to spontaneously break out into puppy-talk around your pooch may lead you to be more amicable to your colleagues and your customers. In pet-friendly workplaces, employees reported feeling friendlier to one another and finding that customers had a more positive impression of the company.
  • Improved staff morale and worker productivity. People don’t mind working longer hours when they don’t have to run home to walk their dogs. Happier employees result in enhanced job performance.
  • Increase in sales reported by store owners who take their dogs to work.
  • Dogs can serve as a crime deterrent.
  • Source, source, source

I never thought I would be the “bring-your-dog-to-work” person. And though I sometimes feel a bit like Dr. Evil as Beatrice sleeps in my lap and I stroke her back as I sit in meetings, I hope that I will always be a “bring-your-dog-to-work” person.


Favorite App of the Week: BarkCam by BarkBox

Filed under: Girl Gets Geeky,Technology,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 12:59 pm

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Rarely do I download an app and use it more than a few days or a couple of times before its novelty expires. I thought that BarkCam by BarkBox would be one of those apps. But given the fact that I take many, many pictures of my three dogs, BarkCam has become one of my favorite apps.

First a bit about BarkBox: it is a monthly subscription box with toys and treats for your dog. I have been a subscriber now for a while for my Labs and recently added a second box for my small Cavalier King Charles Spaniel addition to the family. I have never been disappointed in the box goodies, and neither have my dogs.

BarkBox also has a blog called BarkPost. It is a compilation of all news dog-related, the heartwarming and the entertaining. It is one of my favorite updates to see in my Facebook news stream.

Then last week, BarkBox introduced the BarkCam app. This camera app makes sounds just before the shutter clicks. The noises get the attention of your pup and the perfect look-at-the-camera face that is so hard to capture. You can select from several different sound effects, including a duck quack, a doorbell and a dinosaur. Once you’ve captured the image, the app has tools for adding filters, thought bubbles and icons like bow ties and sunglasses.

The app is free and only available for iPhones currently. If you have cute dogs and tend to take photos of them, this app is worth the download.

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