June 22, 2015

My Step-Daughter Wants a Cat, and a Bunny, and a Gerbil

Filed under: Home,Married Life,Step-Motherhood — Emily Reeves @ 8:44 pm

I am a new step-mom, only eight months into this adventure that will last a lifetime. Though I never thought I wanted children, I have fully embraced my new role as a mom figure of an eight-year-old girl. Starting July 1, Sophie will be living with us full time, whereas we’ve only spent every other weekend with her until now. And I am looking forward to finding our rhythm and routine, learning and growing together.

Since the day we told Sophie we were getting married, she asked for a cat. She is going to be a master negotiator one day. We knew we were about to start a major home remodel, so we promised once that was complete, she could have a cat. As home construction tends to go, the process has taken much longer than we originally anticipated and it looks like it will be another four months before we move into our refreshed home. Gerbils, more than I would care to acknowledge, have kept the impatience at bay. Then last month, Sophie learned how allergic I was to cats after we visited some that were available for adoption.

So now she wants a rabbit. And I think that is super sweet because she doesn’t want me to have swollen red eyes all the time. The desire for a rabbit started today. In our world of instant gratification, she wants it now, much like Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate. Without knowing a thing about caring for a rabbit, there have been pouty faces and near tears tonight as we discuss all the research and work needs to be done to prepare. “This is hard!” she says before demanding again a set date for getting a bunny.

We’ve now Googled, set a date for a rabbit “knowledge test,” scheduled time to build a pen and taught her how to use Google calendar in the process. Still not quelled, we’ve distracted with a family viewing of a Jurassic Park movie.

I’m exhausted. #thisismotherhood

March 30, 2015

My First IKEA Experience

Filed under: Shopping,Travel — Emily Reeves @ 10:30 pm


I’m not going to lie: I was dreading the trip to IKEA. Big, overwhelming, crowded and just generally too much — this is what I was expecting. It just looks intimidating when pulling into the parking lot. Oversized and intimidating. Amy was on a mission to buy some items for her salon, Red Beauty Lounge, and I was tagging along for the adventure. Turns out, I love IKEA and will definitely be heading back there when it is time to accessorize my home.



The fact that Amy had been there before and was on a mission to retrieve very specific items definitely helped me not get too overwhelmed.

What? They have a childcare center in the store. And a restaurant. They are definitely expecting you to stay a while.

What? They have a childcare center in the store. And a restaurant. They are definitely expecting you to stay a while.

Amy was "experienced" with the process at IKEA.

Amy was “experienced” with the process at IKEA.

Ok, now we are ready.

Ok, now we are ready. Oh, and she matches the store colors.

With her long legs, I was practically running to keep up where her speed walk through the store. As we went, she explained how the system worked. Including the arrows that direct you through the store. Never veer from the arrows, says Amy.



We had fun along the way, and I even found a few things to include in the shopping basket.


About 10 minutes from Little Rock, Amy realized that she forgot to buy this chair. We will just have to put it on the shopping list for our next visit.


My stuff.

My stuff.

We made it to the checkout line with a full shopping cart and a flatbed dolly.

We made it to the checkout line with a full shopping cart and a flatbed dolly.

Rather than driving the car around to the front to load up, Amy decided to walk the massive parking lot pushing our purchases on the dolly.

Rather than driving the car around to the front to load up, Amy decided to walk the massive parking lot pushing our purchases on the dolly.

Our IKEA haul. And the massive mirror fit in the back of Amy's car. I've never seen her more excited.

Our IKEA haul. And the massive mirror fit in the back of Amy’s car. I’ve never seen her more excited.

March 29, 2015

This Little Lady Went to Market

Filed under: Beauty,Culture,Current Events,Personal,Shopping,Travel — Emily Reeves @ 10:30 pm



Floors and floors of shopping. Miles and miles of walking.

For years I have heard people talk about going “to market” to see the latest trends for the upcoming season and buy for their stores. It always seemed so exclusive and exciting. So I jumped at the chance to go this weekend with my friend Amy Hester who owns Red Beauty Lounge, a salon that sells gifts. A road trip to Dallas for shopping and some girl time sounded perfect.

In the center of the #dallasmarket. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Market is overwhelming, to say the least. Especially for two market virgins like Amy and me. Spread across three buildings, the tallest of which had 15 floors made it hard to figure out where to start. But first there was the parking dilemma: we didn’t even know where we were supposed to go in, so we were having trouble figuring out where to park. As the navigator with Google at my fingertips, I discovered $8 valet parking. Best decision of the day.

I had envisioned a trade show-like set up. And while there were temporary stores that were similar to trade booths, most of the vendors were set up in shared showrooms, behind glass windows and doors like permanent stores. We were on the hunt for jewelry and cosmetics. While the map directed us to the seventh floor for jewelry, it wasn’t the artisan jewelry we were seeking. We found what we were really looking for in the temporary booths and buried within gift stores on other floors.


Not what we wanted.

Found what we were looking for and Amy makes some orders!

Found what we were looking for and Amy makes some orders!

Over the course of the six hours that we made our way through the buildings and stores, we walked a mile and a half. Amy and I worked out a system where I scouted while she made orders, then led her to the next vendor that I thought she would like. It was a good system. One catch: I had a “courtesy” badge, so not all the vendors took me seriously since I wasn’t the one with the buying power. I wanted to go all Pretty Woman on them and say, “You work on commission, right? Big mistake. Huge.” But I resisted.

Notice the "courtesy" title.

Notice the “courtesy” title. And Dean shouldn’t have an “s.”

Of course, I could be found sitting a lot while Amy shopped. I am still having some pretty bad back pain.

Feet up. In my current favorite sneakers and my new favorite camera bag/purse.

Feet up. In my current favorite sneakers and my new favorite camera bag/purse.

At the end of the day, we felt as if we had been successful. Though we learned a lot that Amy can apply to her next market trip. And we decided that the Dallas Market Center app could use some significant improvements to provide a better shopping experience.

We were exhausted by the time we got back to our hotel and had a little slumber party complete with wine, pizza delivery to the room and pay-per-view movies. It was perfect.



March 28, 2015

Music Makes Memories

Filed under: Advertising,Marketing,Video — Emily Reeves @ 10:30 pm

There are two commercials running right now — both for insurance — that I stop and watch every time they play. It is the music in both that initially drew me in, but it is the clever execution that keeps me watching and giggling every time I watch. Yesterday I was getting ready for work and I could hear the tv in the living room that my husband was watching. The UnitedHealthcare spot below came on and I heard him laugh when it was over.

I am not currently shopping for insurance of any kind, but I remembered the brand names associated with both of these commercials. When I heard one connect with my husband, I started thinking about why these two were so memorable to us:

  • Music. Both “Push It” and “Time of My Life” are songs from my teenage years. I remember them fondly. I could sing all the words to Salt-N-Pepa’s songs and I must have watched Dirty Dancing 300 times.
  • Clean Humor. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for dirty humor. But these commercials are funny without being stupid, silly or dirty. I don’t feel guilty smiling when I watch these spots.
  • Surprise. I haven’t seen Salt-N-Pepa in years. The Geico commercial would not have been as good if it was the song without the artists. The UnitedHealthcare spot wouldn’t have been as funny if the couple had not crashed on the table. It made it believable and something we could all connect with because it could happen. Making the perfect lift would have been funny, too, but not as memorable.

Having worked in the advertising business for 16 years, I have become jaded and cynical when it comes to viewing ads. It is nice to come across a couple of spots that can still connect with me.

March 24, 2015

Book Review: Better and Faster

Filed under: Book Review,SXSW,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 10:30 pm

I experienced Jeremy Gutsche at SXSW this year. I say experienced because he was a performer and I was pleased to have been on the first row of this performance. I walked straight from his session to the SXSW bookstore to purchase his Better and Faster book. I read it cover-to-cover in one day.

Rather than espousing theory and principles for building businesses from ideas, Gutsche provides real examples that are not the overused Apple, Google and Facebook stories of success. Those brands are included, of course. But there are more stories about individuals with a solution to a problem that grew into a business than there are big brands that everyday people can’t identify with as a real opportunity.

The theme throughout the book is that change will happen and spotting trends on the horizon will keep you or your business relevant. The book provides charts, diagrams and steps for identifying business opportunity. I was inspired and making notes as I went along. And Gutsche’s Trend Hunter website is going to be a new regular read for me.

March 23, 2015

Book Review: #GIRLBOSS

Filed under: Book Review,Business,Startup & Entrepreneurship — Emily Reeves @ 10:30 pm

I started and finished #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso in one sitting on a Saturday morning. Sophia is not only a great storyteller, but has a fascinating story to tell. She is honest, doesn’t try to be something she is not and her writing style makes her feel more like a friend than a CEO of a company she built by herself.

I am not a Nasty Girl customer, but will certainly be shopping there for my next purchases if for no other reason than I want to support a company that I like. The style is pretty awesome, too. At 36 years old, I’m just not always confident I can pull off some of those looks!

Though Sophia didn’t start out with aspirations to be a public figure and role model, she has embraced those roles for entrepreneurs of all types. She literally started selling clothes on eBay because she had a knack for finding vintage pieces and needed to make a rent payment every month. Startup stories like this are the best ones, in my opinion. It seems that the startup community is now too focused on technology, having a quick growth (and exit) plan, and quick frankly, too full of young, arrogant guys. Sophia bucks all these trends, plus many other “requirements” to start a new business, which is what makes her an inspiration.

At the core of the advice she gives throughout the book, the consistent message is work hard. This is so refreshing coming from someone who falls squarely into the “millennial” generation that thinks they should be given rewards rather than earning and seemingly eschews hard work and starting at the bottom to gradually make a way to the top, only if it is deserved.

This book was practical, but entertaining. It was proof that starting with nothing but hunger, a passion, and a willingness to work your ass off can lead to success.

March 22, 2015

Virtual Reality

Filed under: Culture,That's Just Cool,Video — Emily Reeves @ 10:30 pm

I am not ashamed to embarrass myself, apparently. At the office on Friday, our digital team came together to experience Google Cardboard’s virtual reality for the first time. I never thought I would enjoy the experience, or really even understand it. I was wrong. Though still not perfect, the experience was pretty cool. And fun. While most of our digital team members were reticent to get too into it for fear of embarrassment (especially since we were livestreaming through Meerkat), I went all in.

Virtual Reality Dance from Emily Reeves on Vimeo.

March 21, 2015

A Small Bag of Perfect Makeup

Filed under: Beauty,Personal,Style — Emily Reeves @ 10:30 pm

I am known to carry a lot of luggage because I want to be prepared for any situation. I have recently been working to lighten my load given back pain, shoulder pain and just the general feeling that my “stuff” is more of a burden than a resource.

It is for these reasons that I was so interested in the new makeup line, Stowaway. The tiny tubes are perfect for carrying around, tucking nicely into my bag. There are not too many choices, which makes shopping easy and keeps me from buying more than just what I need. On top of all those positives, the products are affordable. So I bought a kit and took it with me on a seven-day trip to Austin for SXSW.



The Stowaway products did not disappoint. I used them everyday and only added loose powder, an eye shadow base, and a neutral nude-colored eye shadow from my full size makeup collection to complete my daily look. Now back from my trip, I am still using the products as my daily makeup. I feel like I am wearing less makeup and have a fresh and clean look.



The products were created by makeup artists and it is clear they thought about exactly what is really needed, how to keep your skin healthy and creating sizes of products that you could actually use before they expired. I can already tell these are products that I will buy again and again.