Tuesday, April 26, 2011

yep.... MIA

Missing in Action doesn't even begin to tell the story! Where have I been?!

Well- all over actually. I have returned from my long, extended stay in Indy - back at home- which I can say is an amazing feeling. I have spent the past month getting reacquainted with my apartment, my long lost friends, my neighborhood, and my bed!

I have a current obsession with gardening and home projects. It seems I have become a "project girl".... in the past month I have refinished a few pieces of furniture. Last weekend on my way home from a fun weekend in Lincoln, NE visiting family - I made a detour to a cute antique shop - called Rusty Chandelier - and found a sweet $15 chair - it has GREAT lines... It has wood legs, arms and back and a creamish color seat. I plan on recovering it... but I am currently torn on whether or not to repaint it and whitewash it.. I will post pictures and get some opinions. Last week I recovered an old green chair! I bought it for $2 at my favorite antique store (now closed) - I purchased a remnant at Jo Ann's and completed it all for less than $10 - and it matches my bedroom perfectly!  I will post a pic of that as well.

So needless to say- I'm LOVING projects... and being home.

Sorry fellow readers - maybe you missed me - maybe you didn't... but I'm back!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Success Series Part 2: Networking

There is so much talk about networking. Social Networking. Professional Networking. And so forth. The law of averages touts that being we are so inundated with networking- it MUST be important. It must warrant an extra look…not just in blog form- but in yours and my own lives. Is it important to you? Or is it just another piece of the puzzle that you don’t really care about? Does it get left in the box? Knowing that it’s a corner piece to complete the final puzzle- but you can see the whole picture of the puzzle without putting that small, background piece in place…so you leave it.  But I warn you- that puzzle is not complete until you put the final corner piece in play.  Networking is the foundation of success. It can provide more opportunities than you can fathom. But like any good foundation- it has to be laid with intention – and carefully plotted. If haphazardly placed- it will crack, crumble, and fall apart after the first winter.

So how do we do this so called networking? Is creating a Linked In profile and adding all your Facebook friends enough? Can you just go out for happy hour with your pals at work and complain about the nasty customer you had to deal with today? How about only sending emails to an executive that you’re terrified of? NO! It’s not enough. It doesn’t touch the surface of being enough. Sure- some of those are good tools. But in the same breath- they are passive aggressive, they are the bare minimum…. Those examples are “dollar general” attempts. We need to work up to at least “Target” style effort… and aspire to “Nordstrom”esque Networking abilities. If you follow my drift- you can see that Networking has to be classy, it has to have a high end feel to it… but in the same breath- it depends on what industry you work in. If you work in Wildlife Management- you would be reaching for “Cabellas” – moving away from Wal-Marts fishing aisle.

Networking, as dictionary.com defines it is: “ a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.” Networking is not relegated to simply people within your company or office... Branch out - think outside the box. I have found it advantageous to build relationships with other vendors, carriers and even competition... the more knowledge you have in your arsenal- the better equipped you are to succeed. Think of every person you talk to on a regular basis as an opportunity to expand your network.

I like to believe that I have gotten where I am by means of building an excellent Network. At a young age I was working at DHL and was surrounded by knowledge and people who knew far more than I could ever hope to learn. I knew that my best resource would be tapping into those peoples skill sets. So, I did what I knew best... I started chatting them up... in different channels. First, I would seek out those that I knew I could identify with - be it personality, humor, location... etc. Then I found a way to relate to them. Some it was drinking beers and playing poker after a long day in meetings at a work trip in Minneapolis. Others, I found my best opportunity came during the quiet afternoons, when I would pick up the phone and pick their brain- and always leave room for personal questions- learn their likes/hobbies/family members names. When you can relate to someone- it makes it that much easier to reach out to them when you have a problem or simply need help.

Networking is never done -there isn't a set time frame for its completion. I would hope that I continue to see every meeting as an opportunity to continue to network. So what happened when I moved on to Netflix, then Machinery Link and now Touton? Well- I didn't lose the numbers of any previous employers- or solid contacts. I kept them. I reached out to them to inform them I was moving on and would like to keep in touch. But you ask- what happens when they quit emailing/calling you? Well- I pick up the phone. I send an email. I REACH OUT. Don't give up. To this day- I still have the very same, amazing contacts/now friends as I did when I first began my professional career. And the upside to all that is they know me and my work habits, they know what makes me tick and can give solid advice as to what move to make. What's better is if I am ever in a town near any of these people- I make a point to grab a cocktail or lunch... face to face is the best way to form a relationship.

Remember- every meeting, event, happy hour is an opportunity to grow your network. You NEVER know who or what they might know... so yes- I do believe that its not always WHAT you know - but WHO you know. Just be sure you can back up the who with the what. But that's a conversation for a different day.

And with that- I'm out - off to meet another airport. But before my flight I made time for a lunch with a Frenchman from our office who is visiting- sneaky how I scheduled our flights for the same time  - eh?! Am I nervous yep... excited... hell yea!

OH and remember - this is all in my own opinion- and what has worked for me...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

music...the source of instant happiness

i have a love for music. i cannot get in my car without turning on the radio. i am missing my car because i love my XM... but for now - i'm dealing with indy's stations. i am obsessed with my pizzle (iPod)... and it seems i have a hunger for new downloads whenever i log in to my computer!

do you feel like music can change your day? i do. sometimes all i need, when i'm overwhelmed at work, is a ride in the car- the right station and a coffee run. i come back refreshed and centered. i can't say that i'm defined by a certain genre.. i literally love it all. some days all i want to listen to is "the highway" - get my country fix- roll down the windows and cruise. other days i switch it over to "the spectrum" and alt rock it up- with my skinny black jeans, brown boots and hair in a hat! other days i admit- i rock the big sunglasses and play the drums on my steering wheel to bruno mars and dumb box gaga!

music can alter mood. it can change my day. it makes me think of people. a song can come on and i'm instantly taken back...
  • jack and diane takes me back to signatures karaoke
  • black betty reminds me of my boys
  • ace of base brings back lake mills days
  • who let the dogs out - senior year football
  • the general - ZOO BAR along with king of the road
  • kol - lunch trips with a good friend
  • huey lewis- jumping on the bed and singing with my bro B
  • peaceful easy feeling- dad and softball nights
the list could go on and on! music soothes me. it centers me. and i always know exactly what i need. i do apologize for all you passengers who have to hear my "FAVORITE SONG" everyday... and it's NEVER the same!!!

Do you have a favorite "happy song"?

p.s.- i still make mix discs- and give them funny names... like "help me tie my bow tie"!
p.p.s. - i love concerts. i attend a lot of them. they make me happy!
above: i am enjoying justin moore at the summer country concert series at kc power and light district

living it up at the NADAS concert in KC at Record Bar

Friday, February 25, 2011

Free as a Bird...in INDY

Its Friday. This Friday I am NOT in an airport. I am not packing Kenny or Brazil. I am spending this snowy, icy weekend in Indy.  What will I do? I have no idea what I will do. That’s the beauty of being me – most days… I feel like I can entertain myself just fine… I’m not sure how I was graced with such a talent – but I have no problem being alone for a weekend and finding something to do.

Currently my thoughts for this weekends’ agenda – I’m considering the following activities:
·         Hunting down a fun, local breakfast spot
·         Hunkering down in a coffee shop and reading/working
·         Hitting up a movie at the indie movie theater across the street
·         Finding a fun wine bar and making friends with the bar mates
·         Sleeping in one day and waking up to coffee in bed
·         Throwing on my heels and grabbing a nice steak at a steak house
·         Wandering around Broad Ripple shops

I feel like that’s a good start on my list of options. Any, all or some of those should keep me entertained...so.... those are the things a single gal in a new city - with no responsilities and no dog does...

I have come to know a few people that have a fear of being alone- or being alone in a city they do not know. I am unsure when it happened – but I have few qualms about hopping in the company Camry and driving until I find something interesting. I throw on a pair of shoes that entertain me, grab Brazil –or whichever small country bag I’m carrying at the time, crank the tunes in the Camry and start cruising. Generally I start in search of a fun store to simply peruse – and then my next stop is an interesting food place – local preferably….

For those of you that struggle being alone in a new city –or even your own city… take my advice- get yourself ready- go to a restaurant that you’ve been dying to try or that the locals recommend and pull a seat up at the bar and enjoy…. Make small chit chat with others at the bar- as I’m sure they too are business travelers looking for a dinner companion… you will surprise yourself at what you can learn and who you can meet.

Cheers Friends…
I’m sure I will have a few other posts this weekend- as I have some free time ahead of me.
For those of you traveling- be safe and give the airports my condolences…for I shall miss them this weekend.

Friday, February 18, 2011

another friday....another airport...

well folks... it's friday... you know what that means - another airport... not a "new" airport- but ANOTHER airport! its 6:44 p.m. est and here i sit- the master of getting from the company car - parked ever so carefully in economy parking- next to the shelter of course - through security, now with a coffee in hand - in 19 minutes. thats  new record for IND. today is special- all the southwest flights were already booked by 735 a.m. est on monday- so i am taking a frontier flight - via MKE to KC!! I will get in at 11 p.m. - well midnight for me... that whole time change thing! so- i brought some work with me - but what fun is that? so instead i have rented Secretariat on my iTouch and may or may not have purchased dirty dancing for $3. i have a feeling that today i am in for mindless movie watching and reading.
let me tell you the trick to weekend travel to and from your extended stay hotel to your very own apt... pack a large purse- in my case we name them after small countries- and tonight's lucky winner is Brazil. so- pack brazil- with everything you want while sitting in your seat - nothing is worse than those people who put their carry-on in the overhead compartment and then want something 10 min later- but they are in the middle seat- irritating!
tonight brazil contains:
  • nook
  • iTouch and headphones
  • cellular device
  • chapstick
  • bottled water - PURCHASED once you're thru security
  • advil
  • wallet - with ID
  • drink tickets- very important!
and along with brazil - came my messenger bag/briefcase - kenneth cole - gifted to me at college graduation by a set of second parents- so smart - knowing it would come in handy! - thanks kev and cheryl!
so- inside kenny is:
  • laptop/charger
  • iTouch charger
  • change of clothes- yoga pants, tshirt, cardigan and undergarments (important in case mke screws me over)
  • make-up - all powder products- i hate that plastic bag rule
next- be sure you wear shoes you can slip on and off- ladies, your knee high boots are cute- but when i have to catch you while you are unzipping them mid security check- i'm frustrated. so tonight's pick was a cute pair of slip on brown leather booties. i'm wearing nice slacks, a comfy t with a cardigan - please remember- you have to take the cardigan off at security - and scarf....have boarding pass in hand with id - because i was smart and printed before i arrived at airport. also- i have selected my seats and pleased with my awkwardly uncomfortable, leather chair for the next few hours. this morning when checking in online (company uses travel agency to book tickets - so that's done and paid for) i was able to splurge $10 to have a row to myself and extra leg room in business select - hell- why not.
so- drop car in economy- grab kenny and brazil - write down section/row and shelter of parking spot- jump on shuttle...get dropped off at terminal - stroll to security - breeze on thru- grab venti, iced, skinny, vanilla latte - grab comfy chair - plug in laptop and blog away.  start to finish- 19 min...it took me longer to compose my blog.
being prepared and mindful of what you're doing at the airport for weekend travel and can alleviate all the stresses of rolling from the office in indy to my bed in kc.

for the first 2 weekends while in indy- i stayed put- in my hotel room- partly due to weather- and partly due to the fear of stressful quick trips to and from indy to kc... thinking it wouldn't be as relaxing as one hopes. but - to be honest- it is so refreshing- to sleep in your own bed, see your friends, visit the Quaff, lay on your very own couch... then get on a plane and head to work. i think you all know that he missing link in the perfect weekend is Lena- but that's another story! but now that i know- how easy it is- and quick it can be done - i'm prepared to tackle the next month as a transplant in indy.

now that you are all aware of the contents of kenny and brazil - i'm gonna post this entry, shut down the laptop and finish my venti in preparation for boarding.. cheers friends... its FRIDAY! and i'm about to put this airport in my rear view mirror! CHEERS.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Success Starts With Setting Goals

A good friend mentioned that I have enjoyed success at a young age... and thought that it might be something worth blogging about. I agreed. It allows for my own reflection on my career thus far and also gives me the opportunity to share my voyage! With that in mind- I am going to be writing a Success Series...

The first edition in the Success Series is: Goal Setting

I continually count my blessings... I have been blessed beyond belief- with family, friends, Lena... and so much more. But I count my blessings in regards to having experienced success at a young age. Since my graduation from Simpson in 2005 - I have climbed ladders and learned a lot about myself in that run. I have worked for amazing companies- DHL Express, Netflix, Machinery Link, and now Touton. It's my belief that every single one of those companies are extremely successful in their own right. The amazing part - is that I worked in management at each of those companies...

It may seem as if I have jumped around a lot - but I was taught at young age to set goals for yourself. I think that started back in high school when our volleyball/softball coach requested that we WRITE DOWN our goals. I have stuck to that rule my entire life...especially in my professional world.

When I start with a company- my first few months are to get my feet under me- learn the operation and pick something and become an expert in it. That might sound generic - but I was told that its impossible to learn everything about an overall operation- but pick something- and do it better than anyone- and be THE expert. When you learn all you can about a particular aspect of the operation/company- you become the "Go To" person. Being the "Go To" person is imperative. It gets your name out there - inside and outside of the company. People come to you- and then respect, trust and look to you.

Once you learn the operation- in the broadest sense of the word- and have decided what it is that you're going to become an expert in- you can begin to decipher what your goals are in the organization. This can take a matter of months or even a year- depends on your learning curve, the depth of the company and the scope of your job. Write down your goals- put them somewhere you can see them...I generally write them in my Planner...

Your goals can be whatever YOU want them to be... My goals generally are centered around moving up within the organization- always looking for the next step - and learning how I can grow or be groomed to take over a new challenge. When I'm not challenged or not looking towards the next step - I become stagnant- and my work falters. That was the case at Machinery Link- it was a small company - which I liked- but there wasn't a next step for me- there wasn't an opportunity for growth - thus the quick move to Touton. I absolutely require a next step- or something to attain. However, everyone is different - for some of you; learning new tasks or expanding your knowledge base is what you crave... just determine what you REALLY want. For some its as simple as a title or the opportunity to travel for business, or learn all the jobs in the operation... Just figure out what you want.

Once I have set my goals- I then attach a timeline- this doesn't have to be a hard and fast rule...but something to keep you motivated and moving towards success.

When I started at DHL - I had NO clue what I was doing- but was fortunate to work with GREAT people and have an amazing, talented boss and coach. After a few months in - as the p.m. supervisor- he set goals for me- he told me I could have my own station someday...he helped me get there- and it came sooner than I expected. This success set the tone for the rest of my career...to this point! I learned that no task is too foreign- it all feels like a new language for the first few months- but hard work and determination will take you where you want to go.

What are my goals for Touton you ask? I'm not sure- let us get moved to KC and let me get my feet under me- I'm still treading water and it all feels like french at this point...LITERALLY!

Next up on the success series: NETWORKING

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Day in the Life…of hotel living

Now that I am working on my third week of hotel life- I thought I would share a typical day with you… oh- and I’m on East Coast time- and things seem to run a bit later…I’m still trying to adjust.
7 a.m. – wake up (this is the latest I have gotten up in 2 years on weekdays)
8:00 – head downstairs to hotel lobby for breakfast
8:30 – arrive at work – generally 3rd one here! 9 a.m. seems to be the official start time out here
1 p.m. – head out for lunch… lately it seems I have lunch meetings 3 days a week – so that’s fun.
6 – leave work
6:30/7:00 :
  • Head to gym (not only is it good for me- it keeps me occupied
  • Or have dinner meeting with work folk or prospective new hires: inevitably this happens at least once a week
  • Head back to hotel for a reception in hotel lobby- Mon – Wed – generally free food from TGI Fridays, Don Pablos or McCalisters – which everyone takes back to their rooms.
9:00 – shower if gone to gym or climb into sweats and pour a glass of red and do homework for work or watch mindless TV.
11:00 – bedtime….read at least one chapter – keeps my mind off how much I miss my bed and dog!

As you can tell- its pretty mundane. I try and venture out to new restaurants for dinner or happy hours… but I miss having friends to meet up with and a dog to play with! The kitchen in my hotel suite is poorly furnished for cooking…but I make some attempts.
I am going to work on getting in more Skype dates with the parents, Lena and friends.

Side notes:
  • My neighbor next door snores so loud it vibrates my bed – AWESOME. I’m considering leaving a bag with breath right strips on ITS door.
  • Cleaning staff continually puts my wine glass in the dishwasher –even after I leave notes NOT TO… I guess I have to hide it…
  • I have spoiled myself with NICE sheets at home …the bottom sheet on my hotel bed continually comes off every night...super irritating.
  • Sometimes I consider propping my door open with a brick- a la college days- just for some social interaction! But I talk myself out of it- I don’t want to be the creepy girl in the hotel.
  • I enjoy waking up – knowing I can leave my bed a mess and come home to a “made” bed – I wonder if my neighbor Kelly in KC wants to go in with me on hiring this service for our apts?!
  • My social neediness is kicking in- I have found myself weighing options of throwing a mixer at the hotel- complete with cool posters on each door. I mean- St Patrick’s Day is approaching!
  • You never know how much you miss your very own coffee cup and smell of your own home…until you drink out of hotel cups and wake to hotel smell every day.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Need Input

Hello Readers..
I need your input - I feel like my blog is not taking the direction I had previously wanted...no- that's not accurate- I don't think I actually knew what direction I wanted this blog to take. I know that I do in fact enjoy blogging- but now feel like I should follow the rules of my professors/teachers that were once given- HAVE A TOPIC! I need a direction to take this blog.

I enjoy reading friends' blogs that have themes/direction, be it: being a mom, foodie, travel, fashion.....

Now I am ready... ready for direction. I have gotten my feet wet- now lets get down to business.

So friends- please help... what do you want to hear about? I'm not opposed to changing the theme/direction as life moves on... but right now- in this moment - What should "Life Happens" focus on?

Here are my current ideas:
  • Life Happens While Traveling - Business Traveling
    • Focus on airport musings, extended stay hotels, food, overcoming cabin fever
  • Life Happens at Happy Hour
    • Focus on what wines are interesting, fun on a budget
    • Local beers
    • New cocktails
  • Life Happens on a Budget
    • Where I'm finding deals for - home/clothes/make-up etc...
Many of you readers KNOW me... so- maybe you have better ideas... sure- I will still write about my daily life- maybe put snippets in...but I feel like i need a direction...

Weigh in kids.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

things i'm loving...

So... I have a few things that I'm loving these days....thought I would share...
And being that I am currently living in a hotel - I have to find joy in the small things. And in an attempt to make my hotel feel like home- on a dime; if you know me- you know I make every space feel homey... so I have scoured sales/clearance racks and made some great discoveries!

  • Alamos Malbec - $9.99 a bottle
  • Houndstooth Sherpa lined blanket - seriously the best (next to mom's quilts) to cuddle up with (kohl's clearance)
  • Febreeze Soy Blend Candle- generally I'm a Yankee girl...but it was on clearance and spices up the hotel!
  • Trader Joe's everything. But their cheese aisle and wine selection is top notch!
  • The National - music... gritty, heartfelt songs
  • Skype
    •  Look me up april.zobel
  • New TV show- "Off the Map"

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011... A New Year...New Opportunity

Its funny... we are 32 days into 2011 - and I have yet to make a resolution. But I wonder why we choose January 1st to make resolutions- I think any day is a great day to make a resolution or change... but I guess it makes you think about where you're going in life - and take stock of the last year.  Lately I've been on a reflection kick- maybe its the new job, maybe its that I'm approaching 2 years in a new city - and loving every second... or maybe its simply a new year....
2011 has thus far brought about amazing change and opportunity. I was blessed to apply, interview and accept a job offer in 5 days- in the first full week of the New Year. Changes like this - when they happen so fast- leave you little time for reflection or even a second guess.
But now- its February 1st and I am sitting in Indianapolis in a hotel- THE ICE storm rolled in last night- and our offices are closed...so here I sit. Reflecting. Thinking. Pondering.
I left my job at Machinery Link a little over a week ago- and started with my new company - Touton last Monday. I left my dog with my parents on January 20th - talk about the HARDEST thing I have ever had to do- I'm a baby!!! I left KC on the 23rd for Indy - and will be here on and off until mid-march. That sounds like a lot of changes!
Let me break it down. The previous blog entry describes the job hunt. So that's covered. And let me explain- Indy... currently our US offices are located in Indy - but we are working on moving them to KC - our hope is to be up and running by the first of March- but that all depends on contractors. So- in the interim- I'm chilling in an extended stay Marriott on the north side of Indy. It was a great start with the company- they flew me out, picked me up in an Escalade...set me up in a nice suite... things could be worse! And they will fly me back every other weekend to KC... this weekend may be out of the question now- due to weather... YUCK!
Things with the new job are great. I'm loving it. I of course am missing my apartment and fun life in KC... but am enjoying the time to dig into the new job...and really learn the operation. Its so far from what I have previously done- but I also love that aspect!
Now- what I DON'T love - is not having Lena with me. My good friend Lyndsey and I dropped her off with my mom and dad a few weeks ago- and I know she is having a blast...but gosh darnit- I miss that wiggle butt! Its crazy how much you can love an animal and rely on them for happy moments and simply- how your life revolves around them! Lena was one of the best things to ever come into my life... and I just keep telling myself that now I'm spreading the Lena love with mom and dad!

Dear 2011 -
Thank you for giving me hope and promise for the good things to come this year. You started out with a bang.. nothing like getting off on the right foot! I have promise and faith that along with hard work, and hope - this could be one of the best years yet. Thank you for the opportunity- and thank you for the amazing friends and family that leave me speechless on how wonderful they are. And thank you for my Little Lena...
Cheers to a New Year and New Promise...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I'm here. I'm back. For now!

So- lets recap. Christmas has come and gone. We welcomed in 2011...and today is 1-11-11... I feel like that's an omen or something... at the very least - its a really cool date!!!

The holidays were amazing. Great time spent with family and friends. Its so wonderful getting home for Christmas. I am already looking forward to next year.

Now lets talk about the big news...
I have a few things to mention...I did not dislike my job at Machinery Link.. but when I evaluated where I was at and what I was doing- I kept coming back to the realization that I would not be improving my life/career at Machinery Link. There just wasn't a "next job"... or promotion. I'm a very goal oriented person- and I had no goals to reach at Machinery Link. I was becoming unhappy- and it was noticeable... so- I made a change. I have to attribute what happened next to being a "God" thing... it all happened a week ago...

Last Monday night I spruced up the resume... I applied for 3 jobs. On Wednesday afternoon I received an email from one of the companies- asking if I could interview Thursday at 6:30 p.m. - so of course I obliged. I interviewed Thursday night- and on Friday at 10 a.m. I had a job offer!!! Wow. I am still in awe. Typing it makes me see just how crazy it is! After some discussion- I accepted a new position with Touton USA as a Logistics Coordinator - Its hard to accurately describe what my job will be - but essentially I will be managing the US facilities for the import and export of commodities Touton trades...

The job is located in Kansas City near the airport - which is great... no move for me! I was so excited for that news- as I have fallen in love with the life I have created in KC. I start the 24th of January.... making my last day at Machinery Link the 21st. I will have 4 or 5 weeks of training in Indianapolis - as that is where their current headquarters is- Touton hopes to be headquartered in KC by March 1 of this year. I expect life to be a whirlwind the next few months! Hang in there with me, friends!

And if you are wondering- Lena will be cared for - by my awesome parents - and a few others have volunteered - she just might be taking an extended vacation - traveling the US!

Thanks for everyone's continued support - I'm very excited for the upcoming changes in life!