Archive for the ‘Just plain fun’ Category

Maya: Shoes Always Work.

In Be memorable, Business, Experience, Just plain fun, Shoes on 05/01/2015 at 2:27 pm

Maya is one of my favorite people of all time. She owns Swank Productions, a ridiculously creative and luxurious event planning company based in Chelsea. We met when we were both the only non-industry people speaking at a User Experience conference in Toronto a million years ago. And although our meeting was brief, I have always remembered her passion, straightforwardness, and no-BS way of approaching life — and I try to see her as often as I can, because her energy is so contagious.

Way back when, the Sex and the City movies were coming out, and Maya decided she wanted to produce the launch parties for them. She wasn’t sure how to get her company in front of the producers. In her typical New York hustle fashion, she did some covert research, found out one of the female producer’s shoe sizes, and sent her a single Manolo Blahnik . . . with a note. “Want the other shoe? Meet me for coffee.”


And like that, she won her way to a meeting, followed by a contract, to create the launch party of Sex and the City: the movies. In her presentation: “Shoes always work.” True story.

I ❤ Maya. Happy birthday to you, my sparkle sister from another mister! xo

Jeannie: The Happiness Jar.

In Experience, Human behavior, Just plain fun, Parenting on 02/06/2015 at 12:22 am

Jeannie was one of our company’s first supporters and quickly became a rockstar in the digital media space. She owns a company called 360Connext that tackles the customer experience aspect of business. We recently met up for the first time in a long time and caught up on so much stuff — life, business, kids, projects.

And in our catch-up conversation, she shared something that she and her family have been doing for a while: the happiness jar. The premise is simple: write down what makes you happy throughout the year. Drop your happy slip of paper into the jar. At the end of the year, go through the jar and remember all of the times you were happy.


I love this idea. And the great thing is, you don’t need to start adding happy slips of paper to your happiness jar on January 1st. You can start being happy any day of the year.

(Photo credit: Tara Leaver)

Jon: DesktimeApp.

In Be memorable, Just plain fun, Networking, Super Helpful Info, Tech on 01/27/2013 at 4:17 pm

I met Jon at an event in town (I think it was 37signals related, which would explain Jon’s techiness). Our conversation went something like this:

Jon: What do you do?
Me: I make cupcakes. What do you do?
Jon: I make apps.
Me: Cool.

Then, I asked more questions and found out that Jon’s app, DesktimeApp, is actually really cool, really pretty, and really useful.

Desktime App Coworking

Whenever I travel, I’ve found it’s much more fun to work in a co-working space and meet new entrepreneurs, than it is to go to a coffee shop and share space with a potentially unstable person and a really loud steam machine.

Solution: DesktimeApp.

I’ve met so many cool people, discovered so many new places, and gotten such great feedback – all because of this tiny little web app that I keep bookmarked on my phone whenever I’m in a new city.

You may enjoy it too.

Jeremy: Say Anything If It’s Funny.

In Be memorable, Just plain fun, Parenting on 01/27/2013 at 3:38 pm

I met Jeremy Piven when Foiled Cupcakes catered an event at the Piven Theatre Workshop. It was 5,000 degrees at the event (a strategic move on the part of the organization to raise money for air conditioning), and everyone was steamy and shiny and just gorgeous, as you can see below.

Jeremy Piven Foiled Cupcakes

During his very pithy (due to the temperature) speech, Mr. Piven acknowledged his mom – a lot. The best part?

“My mom told me I could say anything to her, or to anyone, as long as it was funny. If it wasn’t funny, don’t waste her time.”

I’ve read studies that have shown that kids who exercise their sense of humor early learn to deal with their lives and society in a much more adjusted way. They’re better able to cope with challenges, not to mention smarter and healthier.

A sense of humor was never the first value in my home growing up, but I’d like to figure out how to make it one for my kid. Time to start checking joke books out of the library. Knock knock?

Sue: Don’t Sneeze.

In Health, Just plain fun on 07/08/2012 at 12:39 pm

Ms. Aldridge was my history teacher for both 10th and 11th grade. She was probably my favorite teacher through all of high school, not just because she was young and fun, but also because she made history about a billion times less boring than it could have been.

Aside from Louis XIV and trench warfare, one of the best lessons she taught me was outside of class, between Trig (Mr. Powers, ew) and Physiology (mink dissection, ew). I was probably complaining to her that I would never use mink physiology in my adult life (true statement) and that Mr. Powers creeped me out (truer statement).

In the middle of my diatribe, I almost sneezed all over her.

But before I could, Ms. Aldridge brushed her finger on the bridge of my nose, and guess what? My urge to sneeze totally vanished.

So whenever I’m in a meeting or in front of a group of people or just plain don’t want to sneeze, I use her trick.

I really have no clue what Sue is doing now, but if for any reason she ends up reading this, I’d love to catch up over brunch at Hobees!

Marlys: Find Your Season.

In Clothes, Just plain fun, Shoes, Super Helpful Info on 06/18/2012 at 9:47 pm

Marlys and I know each other from when we both worked in the youth organization for our church. It was our responsibility to plan activities that were both wholesome and entertaining for 12-18 year olds. Phew.

One week, Marlys taught the girls that everyone has a color season. With the right colors, your hair, skin and hair will all glow, your imperfections will be diminished, and you’ll look bright and vibrant. With the wrong colors, your eyes, skin and hair will look drained, your imperfections may be highlighted, and your face will just be blah. You can figure your color palette out here on this website for college kids (they really should teach this concept earlier than college, but whatever.)

This was monumental information for me. I immediately went home and purged all of my white and black, and started replacing my wardrobe with beige, chocolates, oranges, and fiery reds. When shopping, I now quickly scan the racks for colors in my season, and ignore anything that doesn’t fall within it. It saves me hours of sifting through racks for no good reason. And I never buy t-shirts in every color anymore, ever, just because they’re 3 for $25.

Marlys, my wardrobe thanks you for the orange scarf, turquoise earrings, gold sequin tank top and mustard cardigan that’s now a part of it.

Caleb: The Oatmeal.

In Just plain fun, Tolerance on 02/12/2010 at 8:58 pm

I had a really rough day today with my bank. A bank I never chose to do business with, but a bank that swallowed up a bank that swallowed up another bank that my husband originally chose to do business with over 10 years ago, before we were even married, no less.

I posted this in my Facebook status update:

And my friend Caleb posted this rant from The Oatmeal to cheer me up.

And it worked.

Caleb, you are seriously cool for a million and one reasons (the fact that you wear cardigans and dark shell glasses and still go out on dates with your wife even though you have a baby top the list), but this one really made a difference in my day today. So thank you. 🙂

Mrs. Dunn: Save a party.

In Experience, Human behavior, Just plain fun, Networking on 02/10/2010 at 10:10 am

A few weeks ago, Sydney and I went to the most random dinner ever with the most random group of people ever. It had serious potential awkwardness written all over it.

But then I remembered a game my 4th grade teacher Mrs. Dunn made us play on the first day of school to get us all to start talking to each other:

1. Talk about yourself, your accomplishments, your life, your goals, your dreams, your fears – for two minutes.
2. No embellishing allowed – just straight facts.
3. Those listening shouldn’t be judgmental.
4. Stop after two minutes.
5. Allow the others in the group to do Q & A / follow up on any interesting points for two minutes.
6. Move onto the next person.

By the end of this game (and before our dinners even showed up), I had something in common with everyone. No joke.

Mrs. Dunn, thanks for coming to our rescue – 21 years later. If you’re reading this, could you please remind me what the name of this icebreaker is? Because right now, it’s just called the 2-minute-bragging-game. And I’m positive you had a better name for it . . . .

Cousin Noriko: A lesson in plastic origami.

In Create, Human behavior, Just plain fun, Organization on 11/11/2009 at 10:01 pm

I have four girl cousins who live in Japan. We’re not BFFs (language barriers and geography have sort of prevented YaYa Sisterhoods), but we do bond over the important things: 90210, Mariah Carey, and Harry Potter.

The last time I went to visit, I stayed with my cousin Noriko. Her 2-bedroom condo was 300 square feet. Her kitchen was maybe 5×5 at best. Her dishwasher sat on the counter like a toaster oven. Her laundry machine and dryer were the same unit (throw clothes in, wash, rinse, spin, heat-dry cycle – no need to change machines). It was the perfect poster condo for IKEA. (Ironic side note: the word for “condo” in Japanese is “mansion.”)

By necessity, everything’s teeny tiny and serves a practical purpose in Japan. I even saw it in the way they store their plastic shopping bags from the supermarket:bags

I’m pretty sure she’s converted over to reusable bags by now, but holy jaw-drop.

If anybody wants to get together over lunch sometime and learn how to fold plastic bags, I’m happy to give lessons. Because it’s just THAT FREAKING COOL.

Tom: Relationships + numbers = fun.

In Be memorable, Business, Dancing, Experience, Human behavior, Just plain fun, Marketing, Strategy, Take action on 11/08/2009 at 11:58 am

Tom Krieglstein (@tomkrieglstein) is one of my new favorite people. Among the many things on his list of accomplishments, he owns and operates SwiftKick – providing the training and tools to student leaders to engage others in their college experiences.


He invited me and Nate to his presentation on Dance Floor Theory at UIC. While his speaking style was engaging and his content captivating, one thing that stood out as absolutely brilliant was this:

“Anything is fun with relationships and numbers.”

It doesn’t matter how well-planned your event is. If it a) is not attended by enough people and b) doesn’t allow people to bond based on their common interests, chances are it won’t be fun. And fun is memorable.

I need to remember this, not only among my company’s internal staff relationships, but also among customers. I’m positive people across Chicagoland could really connect via their love for cupcakes, and with numbers, they could do something amazing for the community. I’m not quite sure what this could be, but I’m definitely open to just about anything right now. As long as it’s fun. And legal. 🙂

Does anyone have any ideas? (And thank you, thank you Tom! You’re so FAB!)