November 9, 2013

Getting Dressed: Cocktail Attire

Filed under: Style — Emily Reeves @ 11:22 am

Because presentation is vital and how you say it can be just as important as what you say.

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{jumpsuit}
An evening fundraiser for Make-A-Wish.
Alice + Olivia jumpsuit; JCrew necklace; Jimmy Choo shoes; Marie Turnor clutch.

Getting Dressed: Soft and Loose

Filed under: Style — Emily Reeves @ 11:15 am

Because presentation is vital and how you say it can be just as important as what you say.

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{waiting room}
A morning a doctors appointments and an afternoon in the office.
Tory Burch tunic; Lululemon leggings; Frye boots.

Getting Dressed: All Black

Filed under: Style — Emily Reeves @ 11:09 am

Because presentation is vital and how you say it can be just as important as what you say.

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{kitty flats}
Office work.
JCrew sweater, necklace and jeans; Madewell jacket; Charlotte Olympia flats.

November 6, 2013

Girl Gives With Guilt-Free Shopping: The GO Exchange, TOMS Marketplace, Amazon Smile

Filed under: Culture,Giving,Style — Emily Reeves @ 9:51 am

I am a shopaholic. No doubt about it. But I also have a big heart, even though I don’t think about donating money as much as I think about spending it. When the opportunity is put in front of me however, I always add to my bill–at PetSmart, on the Tory Burch website, on the Bobbi Brown website, when ordering online from Pizza Hut–all of these brands have prompted me to add a few dollars to my cart at checkout, and I have done it without hesitation. I love having this opportunity because it makes me feel a little less guilty about the money I am spending on myself.

If every brand did this, we could raise significant dollars for organizations that do good and give back. This was an idea I actually pitched as a product at the G60 pitch competition in Little Rock several weeks ago. Then last week, Amazon announced Amazon Smile. When you purchase from Amazon Smile, you can select a charity and Amazon gives .5% to your bill to that organization. Brilliant! I am an Amazon Prime member and if I can find what I want or need on Amazon, I will buy it there before anywhere else. I might place three Amazon orders a week. Since they announced Amazon Smile, I have been using that site to place my orders and give to an organization close to my heart, Carry The Load (here is why). It is so easy. I just have to remember to go to the Smile site instead of the regular Amazon site (it is the same site and my cart carries over, you just go to the separate URL to trigger the giving addition to your order at checkout). I already loved Amazon and now I love them even more and will encourage others to shop there.

Even better than donating money is purchasing cool products that help people in need. There are two online stores where this is happening and I want everything they sell!

The GO Exchange is part of the Global Orphan Project (GO Project). I traveled to Haiti with the GO Project through their GO Adventures program over Labor Day weekend and learned a lot about the story behind the goods that they sell. All of the money you use to purchase the goods that they sell goes back to the organization to care for orphans around the world. I have purchased scarves, bags and bracelets from the GO Exchange. Not only are the products beautiful and stylish, they are a high quality. I am proud to wear, carry and use these products and am always anxious to tell the story behind the making of each product when I get compliments on them. And I know the money I spent is given to a good cause.

This week, TOMS announced its one-for-one Marketplace. I have long been a fan of the TOMS brand and written about the company in this space for several years (and own more pairs of TOMS shoes than I care to admit!). With the Marketplace, TOMS has curated products that have a platform for giving of their own and is selling them on the TOMS website. In exploring the Marketplace, I was pleased to find many brands that I already love and have purchased. Now they are all in one place!

My wish is that every brand that I buy from or interact with will give something to those in needs for the purchases that I make. And the world will become a better place.

Getting Dressed: Leopard

Filed under: Style — Emily Reeves @ 9:50 am

Because presentation is vital and how you say it can be just as important as what you say.

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{sweater weather}
Client meetings and office work.
Velvet dress; Coach boots (from last year); JCrew bracelet.

Getting Dressed: Blending In

Filed under: Style — Emily Reeves @ 9:49 am

Because presentation is vital and how you say it can be just as important as what you say.

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{fall green}
A morning judging a student pitch competition and an afternoon in the office.
JCrew turtleneck, skirt and belt (similar); Coach boots; Urban Outfitters jacket (similar); Louis Vuitton tote.

Getting Dressed: Wild

Filed under: Style — Emily Reeves @ 9:49 am

Because presentation is vital and how you say it can be just as important as what you say.

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{camo + leopard}
Casual Friday in the office.
JCrew tshirt and heels (similar); Chimala jeans; Urban Outfitters jacket (similar); Longchamp tote.

Getting Dressed: Fly Away

Filed under: Style — Emily Reeves @ 9:48 am

Because presentation is vital and how you say it can be just as important as what you say.

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{rain day}
Office work with a storm outside.
Anthropologie top; JCrew jeans; Hunter boots; Longchamp tote; Kate Spade and Paula Coles bracelets.

October 26, 2013

Book Review: Without Their Permission

Filed under: Book Review — Emily Reeves @ 4:53 pm

Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed by Alexis Ohanian (co-founder of reddit) is a book about entrepreneurship online. Ohanian tells the story of how reddit came to be, as well as the hipmunk, his venture after reddit through to becoming an investor and mentor to online startups. He ends the book by talking about his involvement to prevent SOPA and PIPA from becoming law and his passion for the open Internet to remain open. I learned a lot about SOPA and PIPA that I did not understand, but the true value of this book for me was the advice for startups and entrepreneurs. Ohanian has a straight-forward and honest way of writing that makes it easy to understand. This is yet another resource I wish I had read before starting my own business this past summer.

My favorite words of advice from this book include:

“All links are created equal.”

“An open Internet means a platform where what you know is more valuable than whom you know.”

“Everyone who creates something online has lost control of their message but in the process has gained access to a global audience.”

“You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible. Most startups that fail do it because they fail at one of these. A startup that does all three will probably succeed.”

“Make something people want.”

“Don’t be afraid to show your users that you give a damn. It should shine in everything you do, fem the design of your website to the way you respond to feedback emails.”

“Magic happens when you give a damn.”

“…you must be ‘relentlessly resourceful’ as a startup because you have so little going for you.”

“…pure hustle…”

“In the early stages, surrounding yourself with the right people is infinitely more important than having a good idea. Your relationship with your co-founder(s) is what’s more likely to make or break your company than the idea itself.”

“Find your customers right now and talk to them.”

“If you are not willing to really understand the industry you’re aspiring to reinvent, don’t bother starting a startup. Having industry experience is not only invaluable for building a great product or service, it also shows investors the dedication a successful founder needs to have.”

“Give more damson than anyone else, because there aren’t a lot of things a startup has going for it, except that its founders and employees certainly care more than the competition. And that makes all the difference.”

“If you’re looking to build a website and you’re not a builder, you’re more than likely going to have to try to become one.”

“Awesome people feed off one another and combine to form something greater than the individual parts.”

“These days, everyone you meet is part of the media.”

“I try to write emails in fewer than five sentences. Precision with impact is one of the most effective writing skills one can have.”

“Do or do not…there is no try.”

This is yet another book I highly recommend for those interested in starting a business based online.

Getting Dressed: Loose Fit

Filed under: Style — Emily Reeves @ 4:35 pm

Because presentation is vital and how you say it can be just as important as what you say.

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{Friday comfort}
A day at the office, behind my desk playing catch-up.
JCrew turtleneck and heels: Chimala jeans; Johnny Was poncho.

Getting Dressed: Cold and Grey

Filed under: Style — Emily Reeves @ 4:29 pm

Because presentation is vital and how you say it can be just as important as what you say.

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{chill in the air}
A day of meetings and an evening moderating focus groups.
JCrew sweater, coat and heels; Current/Elliott jeans; White + Warren scarf; Longchamp tote.

October 23, 2013

Book Review: Do The Work

Filed under: Book Review — Emily Reeves @ 10:30 pm

I have been on a bit of a Steven Pressfield kick lately with a third book in a row by him, this one titled Do The Work. Like the War of Art, in this book Pressfield writes a manifesto encouraging creators to push past the barriers that are keeping them from creating. This is a short book and a quick read. With quips like, “Don’t Think. Act.” and “Be Stubborn.” Pressfield gives us permission to be ourselves in our work and stop trying too hard to meet others expectations.

My favorite quotes from the manifesto include:

“Don’t prepare. Begin.”

“Start before you are ready.”

“Let the unconscious do the work.”

“Outline it fast. Now. On instinct.”

“Figure out where you want to go, then work backwards from there.”

“Panic is good. It is a sign we are growing.”

“Start (again) before you are ready.”

Now, go do the work.

October 22, 2013

Book Review: A/B Testing

Filed under: Book Review — Emily Reeves @ 9:31 am

A/B Testing by Dan Siroker and Pete Koomen, founders of Optimizly wrote this book as a 101 guide to testing elements of digital communications. Through full case studies down to short examples, the book teaches which elements can be tested in communications, how to do it and most importantly, how to convince your colleagues to let you do it.

Everything online can be tested and should be tested against pre-determined goals and objectives for the communications. After reading this book, there is no valid argument for not testing. Even for those that worry testing delays the project, in truth, it makes the development process more efficient because the end project is more effective.

Notable passages:

First determine “What is your website for? If you could make your website do one thing better, what would it do?”

“Pinpointing the specific actions you want people to take most on your site and that are more critical to your business will lead you to the tests that have an impact.”

“If all you measure is clicks, you’ll have know whether the content of the actual post is good. More telling metrics might be call-to-action clicks, comments, shares and repeat visits.”

“Data is what matters.”

“You have to have a rule that if anybody feels strangle about testing something, you test it.”

“We usually give folks some pretty straightforward advice when they ask about how to improve their calls to action: verbs over nouns. In other words, if you want somebody to do something, tell them to do it.”

“Consider weekly, monthly, or quarterly results-sharing meetings with key stakeholders.”

“A/B testing is by nature interdisciplinary and cross-departmental. Collaboration is key.”

“Always Be Testing.”

“One of the reasons why A/B testing is so important is that there are no universal truths when it comes to design and user experience. If universal truths existed, then A/B testing wouldn’t: you’d just look at the rulebook.”

“The truth is that every business is different; you won’t know until you test.”

“Maintain records about who tested what and when, how the test was set up, and what the result was. This will enable your organization to work collaboratively to build up a set of collective wisdom and best practices.”

The book is complete with an appendix of recommended elements for testing. This is a definite must read for any website strategist, designer or developer.

(Thumbs up to Dustin Williams for the recommendation.)

October 19, 2013

Book Review: The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

Filed under: Book Review — Emily Reeves @ 9:02 pm

I picked up The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin on a whim in an airport bookstore months ago. I’ve pick it up and put it down a dozen times since then and just finished it tonight. Not because it wasn’t a gripping book, but because it is written in a way that allows you to pick it up, read a few pages, get inspired and go do something. The Icarus Deception is about overcoming your fears and the things that are holding you back to create “art.” And “art” is liberally defined; in fact, the cover description says “Steve Jobs was an artist. So were Henry Ford and Martin Luther King Jr.” We can all be artist and share our creations with the world if we stop holding back. I am walking away from this book with these directives: speak up, make connections, take risks and work hard on the things you love.

Here are my favorite passages from the book:

“If your team is filled with people who work for the company, you’ll soon be defeated by tribes of people who work for a cause.”

“Courage doesn’t always involve physical heroism in the face of death. It doesn’t always require giant leaps worthy of celebration. Sometimes, courage is the willingness to speak the truth about what you see and to own what you say.”

“Correct is fine, but it is better to be interesting.”

“It’s what we wrestle with every single day. The intersection of comfort, danger, and safety. The balancing act between vulnerability and shame. The opportunity (or the risk) to do art. The willingness to take responsibility for caring enough to make a difference and to have a point of view. Moving your comfort zone when the safety zone changes isn’t easy, but it’s better than being a victim.”

“A lifetime spent noticing begins to turn into the ability to see what others can’t.”

“Anyone who cares and acts on it is performing a work of art.”

“Success can be just as fraught with danger as failure, because it opens more doors and carries more responsibility. The alternative, though, is to be invisible and to deny your dreams. How can we even contemplate this?”

“Complaining is stupid. Either act or forget.” – Stefan Sagmeister

“Habits of successful artists: learn to sell what you’ve made, say thank you in writing, speak in public, fail often, see the world as it is, make predictions, teach others, write daily, connect others, lead a tribe.”

“…whatever happens, things are going to be fine in the end, …pain is part of the journey, and without the pain there really isn’t a journey worth going on.”

“The biggest black mark on your working resume is the road not taken, the project not initiated, and the art not made.”

This is a great book to keep on your desk and read a few pages at a time when you need a little inspiration and encouragement to take a risk and do something you believe in.

October 16, 2013

Book Review: The War of Art

Filed under: Book Review — Emily Reeves @ 8:01 pm

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield is one of those books that keeps popping up on recommended reading lists that I come across. So I finally picked it up and read it. And I am so glad that I did. I loved it, it was a quick read and it feels like a kick in the ass (just like the quote on the cover says it is).

The theme throughout the book is overcoming resistance. Resistance comes in many forms and keeps us from achieving works of our art, whatever those may be.

Here are my favorite quotes from the book:

“Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it. Master that fear and we conquer Resistance.”

“Casting yourself as a victim is the antithesis of doing your work. Don’t do it. If you’re doing it, stop.”

“The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”

“The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

“The professional tackles projects that will make him stretch. He takes on the assignment that will bear him into uncharted waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself.”

“The amateur has not mastered the technique of his art. Nor does he expose himself to judgment in the real world. If we show our poem to our friend and our friend says, ‘It’s wonderful, I love it,’ that’s not real-world feedback, that’s our friend being nice to us. Nothing is as empowering as real-world validation, even if it’s for failure.”

“A professional accepts no excuses.”

“A professional recognizes her limitations…She know she can only be a professional at one thing. She brings in other pros and treats them with respect.”

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Begin it now.”

“We’re too distracted by our own nonsense.”

“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”

If you are having trouble getting started with anything, read this book. It is wonderful motivation to get off you ass and just get started.