March 20, 2015

I Take My Handbags Seriously

Filed under: Photography,Style,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 10:30 pm

I don’t think I am alone in my search for the perfect travel bag. For the last 15 years, I have traveled for work and have purchased countless bags to hold my personal essentials plus work needs (laptop, cords, notebook, pens, etc.). And I have never been satisfied. I have tried two bags — one for personal, one for business — the right combination of bags can work, but the wrong combination can be disastrous. Putting everything in one bag was too heavy and the bag typically looked bigger than me (I decided if anyone commented on the large size of my bag, it was decidedly too big for me). Then, different types of travel require different needs from bags: business meetings, day trips, conferences, foreign travel, etc. Through all my purchases, travels, trials, sore shoulders, aching back and foul moods, I can confidently say I am an expert on purses and business bags for women’s travel. I know a little bit about a lot of things, but I know a lot about handbags.

I can look at a bag and tell you if it will be comfortable on your shoulder for a long period of time – rolled vachetta leather is beautiful, but that stitched seam is going to dig into your shoulder eventually. If it will fit underneath an airline seat comfortably — too structured and it won’t slide under, too loose and everything slides around inside. If it will hold a 13″ laptop and all of your personal essentials without having to unpack the entire purse to get to one thing — getting it in can be a work of art, getting it out gracefully is quite another. If it is stylish and feminine. There are a ton of bags that are great for travel, but they are ugly. There are a ton of bags that are stylish, feminine and functional, but they are terrible for travel. It is surprisingly hard to find one that works for both. Many have tried. All have failed.

At this point, you might think I am leading up to revealing my perfect bag. But sadly, that is not the case. I have yet to find my “perfect for everything” bag. Instead, I have found a series of bags that have dedicated use cases. The perfect travel handbag, however, remains elusive.

The biggest challenge in my search for the perfect travel bag is self-inflicted, of course. I take an “always be prepared” approach to life. Which means that I carry a lot with me on a daily basis, and especially when I travel. Through the years, I have managed to cull the items I carry, and technology and innovation have helped as items have gotten smaller, lighter and have multiple functions now.

I am traveling back from Austin, TX as I write this post, so travel bags are top-of-mind. My carry-on bags surround me as I sit in the airport and they are most definitely less than ideal. I am carrying a slim Tumi black nylon backpack for my computer, notebook and purse essentials (this one isn’t exactly what I have, but close). For work travel when I need a separate bag for my computer, I am a big fan of this backpack. But it does not hold a lot.

The second bag I am carrying-on is a bag inside a bag. This is because the bag I chose as my second carry-on could not hold everything I needed, but I wanted it along as my conference bag (and I love it — the Kelly Moore Saratoga — more on it below). So, I put it inside a large canvas Landsend boat tote (and yes, my name is embroidered on it), then threw all the other miscellaneous items in on top. As much as I love the Landsend boat totes, they are not good for airline travel (in my opinion) and I would normally never have carried it this way. But I was desperate, tired from packing for a seven-day trip and it worked.

My requirements for the perfect travel handbag:

  • Big enough to hold a 13″ computer.
  • Structured enough so that things stay approximately where they are placed in the bag.
  • Internal pockets for easy access to phone and keys. And big enough to hold an iPhone 6+ securely.
  • Comfortable straps to wear over my shoulder like a tote. Optional cross-body strap that can really be used as a cross-body strap – strong, slightly padded, long and adjustable.
  • Zip top.
  • Lightweight, but durable.

Things my travel bag must be big enough to hold:

  • 13″ computer and charger
  • iPhone 6+ and charger
  • Wallet
  • Reusable glass water bottle
  • Notebook and pen
  • Snack (granola bar or small bag of nuts)
  • Sunglasses in hard case
  • Glasses in hard case
  • Make-up bag with: pocket-sized Kleenex pack, chapstick, lipstick x3, small powder compact, hand lotion, small pill box, small brush.
  • Kindle e-reader
  • Keys (3 sets: car, house, office)
  • Headphones
  • Mints
  • Koozie
  • Scarf
  • DSLR camera, sometimes
  • Tech accessories, anything from an iPhone tripod, to phone camera lenses, etc.

I will save myself the embarrassment of showing all the bags I have purchased and tried over the years. There are too many and entirely too much money has been spent on these bags. But for the right bag, I would pay more than a reasonable person should. I want a bag that works and get compliments. Is that too much to ask?

One purchase that accompanied me to SXSW and one that really feel good about is the Kelly Moore Saratoga camera bag in grey. I recently made a serious upgrade to my camera game and bought my first DSLR. I was looking for a bag to carry it in that wasn’t an ugly man-ish camera bag. Kelly Moore makes wonderfully designed, feminine and multi-functional camera bags. I love the Saratoga because it looks like a purse, and can actually be used as a purse when you remove the camera padding. The straps are cushioned and comfortable. It has a padded cross-body strap as a carry option. And when I learned that the company is based out of Ruston, Louisiana, I was sold (I am from Shreveport, LA so it felt like I was supporting my hometown because it is close-ish to Ruston!). While the bag wasn’t big enough to hold all my travel essentials, it was the perfect size for a day bag.



I really can’t say enough good things about the Kelly Moore bags and website. They show pictures of the bags from every angle, being carried different ways by different models, with stuff in them and empty. It is an online bag-buyers dream site. I am seriously considering the Kelly Moore Ponder in black as my next purchase in hopes that it can be my ultimate travel bag.

July 21, 2014

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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September 17, 2013

Video: KATV Interview on Digital Trends

Filed under: Current Events,Digital Strategy,Technology,Video — Emily Reeves @ 7:59 am

This morning I sat down with Chris Kane at KATV to talk about some of the latest digital trends: crowdfunding and short-form video. Watch the discussion here:
KATV – Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

April 26, 2013

Girl Gets Geeky: I’m Learning to Code

Filed under: Girl Gets Geeky,Personal,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 7:37 pm

I am learning to code. I can’t prove it yet, because I am still learning. And part of the reason I am writing this is because by putting it out there I will feel an obligation to continue my education so I can ultimately prove to you all that I am following through with my resolution to learn to code.

I don’t need to learn to code. And it is a skill I’ll likely never use to code a site for a client. I may play around with it on my own sites. But I really want to learn to code so that I can better understand the skills needed to hire for the department I now manage and so that I can better understand the possibilities for digital communications in a world where anything is possible if you now the programming languages, how to manipulate data and are familiar with the platforms and channels that people use regularly. In short, learning to code will make me smarter and help me come up with better, more innovative communications ideas for our clients.

April 22, 2013

The Value of TED

Filed under: Culture,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 8:14 pm

I’ve recently discovered that too many people I know are unfamiliar with TED videos and the knowledge and inspiration they convey to viewers in 18 minutes or less. If you don’t know TED, go there now and start exploring. I promise you will feel at least a little inspired by the people and their presentations that you find there. My feelings won’t be hurt if you leave this blog post now to go there.

TED started out as a conference for sharing ideas around Technology, Entertainment and Design. It has evolved over the years into an online community with videos free to the world to watch as well-renowned leaders in their industries share their knowledge and experiences with the viewers, and still includes conferences around the world. All in short, 18-minute or less videos. We all have time for this at least once a day. And in our high-pressure jobs that require creative thinking on a daily basis, TED videos can provide just the inspiration we need to spark an idea, motivate us to action and generally just make us feel better about the world around us.

As TED has grown, they have embraced local communities that want to hold their own TED conferences. These local TED conferences are not official TED events, but they follow the strict rules of TED that allow them to use the TED name and the videos from these events end up within the TED community. These events are called TEDx.

I had the opportunity this weekend to attend my first TEDx event. It was TEDx Hendrix College. The theme was storytelling and included five speakers with diverse backgrounds and from all over the country. I wasn’t disappointed by my high expectations for TED; I walked away inspired, I learned new things and was moved to become engaged in organizations I might not otherwise have known about. It was a Sunday afternoon well-spent. I hope to see more TEDx events organized in central Arkansas and expand our knowledge and experiences.

April 8, 2013

Girl Gets Geeky: @LittleRockSW = Life-Changing Experience

Filed under: Girl Gets Geeky,Personal,Technology,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 10:22 pm


Last weekend, I participated in the first Startup Weekend Little Rock, and my first Startup Weekend ever. I joined this event with some trepidation: I am a bit of an introvert and I knew this was going to be a weekend that would require me to meet new people and form instant rapport to be able to work together for 54 hours. I also worried I wouldn’t have much to contribute to a group since I am not a designer or a developer. However, I am intensely curious and am passionate about technology, innovation and learning from people smarter than me. And I do know marketing and communications, can create order from chaos and problem-solve pretty efficiently. So I entered the event on Friday night, still not sure how or if I would participate for the rest of the weekend. I ended up staying all weekend, working on a fantastic project, making new friends, learning a ton and claiming second place with my team for the project we built.

Startup Weekend Little Rock was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I might even go so far as to say it was life-changing. Let me tell you why.

I learned to think differently. So often, we get into our comfort zones and routines. We work with the same people every day. And I work with a lot of talented people every single day and we produce amazingly creative communications for our clients. But because we have our routines and know each others’ strengths and weaknesses, we tend to not push each other as far as we could, or learn new things as often as we could. It happens to the best of us. An event like Startup Weekend removes all of that knowledge and forces its participants to fill gaps by learning on the spot and get even more creative because resources are scarce and time is scarcer. The outcome is not a perfectly polished product or idea. The outcome is a better version of yourself.

I made new friends. Had I not been brave enough to enter the room and participate in this event, I likely would have never crossed paths with 75-percent of the people that were in attendance. And everyone I met this weekend has added value to my life in some way. By learning their personal stories, learning about their skills, learning from their knowledge, being inspired by their passion: everyone had something to contribute and we bonded over the experience. I know for sure that I will stay connected to my new friends.

I stumbled into a really great business idea. And if that business idea becomes a real product, one day I’ll be able to say, “I was there and I got to help!” Our team leader had a great idea. I loved his idea. But he had no team. For a while on Friday night, the team was just the two of us. And we both shrugged and said, “let’s try to do this.” By Saturday afternoon, our team was seven people because the idea really was a great one. It just took longer for others to realize it. I am super proud that Jody had a great idea and we were able to help him take it to the next level. I believe he has the passion and the energy to take it and make it. His energy inspired me and if he needs my help, he has a friend in me that he can call any time. And I’ll be able to say “that’s my friend and I got to help!”

Yes, it is a bold statement, but Startup Weekend LIttle Rock changed my life in a great way.

March 30, 2013

Video: A Really Boring One

Filed under: Advertising,Girl Gets Geeky,Technology,Video — Emily Reeves @ 3:14 pm

I am trying to learn how to use my GoPro camera better and how to use Final Cut Pro, so I’ve been doing a little experimenting. A couple of weeks ago, I set up my GoPro on a Gorilla Pod tripod attached to the top corner of the bookshelves in my office and set the time lapse to shoot an image every 60 seconds. I did this for the full five days during the week and no one noticed (or if they did, they didn’t say anything). I only captured three to four hours each days as this is how long the wifi backpack battery lasted. Every time I had to get the camera up or down, I had to crawl on a stool and doing that during the middle of the day usually meant someone would see me and ask what was I was doing. So, I didn’t recharge during the middle of the day to capture the whole day. Therefore, the half-day recordings.

If you are curious as to how I spend my days when I am not traveling, this will be really interesting to you: I sit at my desk working all day. Sometimes people come in and talk to me. Sometimes I leave to talk to other people or go to meetings. You can see me eating my Brown Sugar Cinnamon PopTart and drinking my Red Bull each morning. Like I said, this is a boring video. But I have put too much time into figuring out how to use the technology to not share it.

Office Time Lapse March 2013 from Emily Reeves on Vimeo.

March 13, 2013

Girl Gets Geeky: Wearable Technology is Cool, but Not Stylish Enough

Filed under: Girl Gets Geeky,Style,Technology,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 6:08 pm

The idea of tracking how much I move and sleep, keeping up with my heart rate and blood pressure, and being able to share that info if I choose, is appealing to my inner geek.  Though I don’t know what I will do with the data, I like collecting it, reviewing it and comparing it day-over-day.

Last year at SXSW, I purchased my first Nike FuelBand. I was excited about this technology because I was already a Nike+ user, so I would be building on that account and activity. Then, several weeks ago I was reading about the Jawbone UP and liked what it had to offer for tracking sleep patterns, too. So I bought one of those to try out.  And then, an iPhone app called Moves started getting some attention for tracking your steps while running in the background of your phone. So I turned that on, too. This means that I have had three devices tracking my movements for the last several weeks. I wondered how they would compare to each other.

Both the wristband products are rubber. The Nike FuelBand comes in three colors (Black, White Ice and Black Ice) and the Jawbone UP comes in eight colors (Onyx, Mint Green, Light Grey, Blue, Navy Blue, Red, Orange, and Hunter Green). Both of the bands that I purchased are black.

My technology laden wrists.

My technology laden wrists.

The Nike FuelBand works “through a sports-tested accelerometer” to track daily activity including running, walking, basketball, dancing and dozens of everyday activities. It tracks each step taken and calorie burned.

The Jawbone UP “uses a precision motion sensor and powerful algorithms to passively track and quantify your steps, distance, calories, active time, and idle time. It calculates calories burned based on your age, gender, height and weight, along with activity intensity and duration. UP uses Actigraphy to track your sleep, monitoring your micro movements to determine whether you are awake, in light sleep, or in deep sleep. [The] band uses cutting-edge MotionX technology to track activity, giving it superior accuracy.”

Moves uses the iPhone’s built in sensor and location information to recognize activities, routes and places. The data is uploaded to their servers, which do most of the complex processing to produce daily stats and storyline. The app is always on, running in the background.

All the devices/apps have different features and sharing abilities. I am not doing a full review of all the functionalities here.

The perfect time to compare the three was during my days at SXSW over the last week: I was walking around a lot and always had my phone with me. Because the common denominator across all three technologies is number of steps, that is the number that I tracked for comparison. Here are the results:


  • Jawbone UP: 7,969 steps
  • Nike FuelBand: 6,376 steps
  • Moves: 5,974 steps


  • Jawbone UP: 5,658 steps
  • Nike FuelBand: 4,416 steps
  • Moves: 3,986 steps


  • Jawbone UP: 3,813 steps
  • Nike FuelBand: 3,409 steps
  • Moves: 3,203 steps


  • Jawbone UP: 5,915 steps
  • Nike FuelBand: 4,837 steps
  • Moves: 4,705 steps


  • Jawbone UP: 4,833 steps
  • Nike FuelBand: 4,011 steps
  • Moves: 4,086 steps

Other than the fact that I am not moving the recommended 10,000 steps per day, or even close to that, it is interesting that there is a pretty significant difference between the step counts  of each device. I wanted to like Moves best because it is on my phone and doesn’t hinder my style. But in reality, I don’t have my phone in my pocket every minute of the day and that likely explains it being on the low end of the step numbers each day.  As for the difference between the Jawbone UP and the Nike FuelBand, I take the FuelBand off each night to sleep and I keep the UP on since it tracks sleep. This could explain some of the difference in the numbers.

Behind Moves, I wanted to like the FuelBand best because it completes/complements my existing Nike+ profile. But in the end, I like the UP the best because it is (1) a little less obvious than the FuelBand on my wrist and (2) I think the sleep data is the most fascinating.

Regardless of performance, I hate wearing both devices. I much prefer to have more fashionable items around my wrists:

How I prefer my wrists be dressed.

How I prefer my wrists be dressed.

And these rubber bands just aren’t pretty enough for the girl in me. I want someone to design a band that can blend in as part of my jewelry or be wrapped with a customizable cuff or is thinner in some way. Until then, my wearing of the bands might be hit or miss going forward.