Tuesday, July 22

Workaversary

One day you can’t find the drinking fountain and boom—a year passes. Today’s my glorious, fire the confetti cannons, one year anniversary at Steelcase. It’s been fun, it’s been hard, it’s been an adventure.

I was lucky enough to do some traveling in my first year. I went to New York for a SEO conference, Boston for a meeting and today to Ann Arbor for another meeting.

In my first five months, I tried to bury myself in my responsibilities and tried hard to measure them. No one was pulling regular referring traffic from search engines reports, so I started tracking that to measure our SEO progress. We didn’t have an easy way to gather sales that came in as a result of email marketing efforts, so I worked with a coworker to start tracking that. I led a project to redesign the site and started capturing conversion rates, which has helped us get a better idea of overall site health.

That’s all been easy potatoes compared to the last seven months. Now I’m diving deeper—mapping our customer’s purchase path, analyzing tools we’re using and determining their worth, and talking with vendors to leverage our relationships.

One huge lesson I've learned this year: not being an expert in something doesn’t mean you can’t become one. In some areas I needed to become one, and in those cases it's better to cannonball in instead of hanging back on the pool deck cautiously.

This next year is going to be a big one for my team. I’ve been tasked to think like a business woman (which I’m not), a tech nerd (which I’m not), an ecommerce expert (which I’m not) and an online shopper looking for high-end furniture (which I’m so Ikea’ing not). There are plenty of pools to jump in to.

There’s a lot of opportunity for growth within my position and team—and that’s thrilling. There’s a lot of room to stretch myself beyond what I was hired on to do—and that’s scary and exciting at the same time. No two days, two months or two quarters are the same. I have a feeling by next July I’ll report no two years are the same either—you know, except for the location of the drinking fountains.

Wednesday, July 16

While You Were Sleeping

We have two front-facing windows in our apartment—one in the bedroom and the other in the office. Outside both is a view of lush branches from a nearby tree. Apparently lush and comfortable branches as each morning a team of birds populate it to squat and squawk.

In the bedroom, our sleepy heads lay two feet away from the chirping. When all you want to do is sleep past 6 am, the birds are a constant annoying alarm clock without a snooze button. Six in the morning from the office window is a different story. I sit at my desk with coffee in hand watching the birds ruffle their feathers, peck at the outside wood walls and hope they stay a little longer.

This has been my routine for the last two weeks—rising early to get some work done. What kind of work? Sometimes it’s emailing wedding vendors, or downloading the new Lady Antebellum song. It could be unloading and reloading the dishwasher or folding a load of laundry. It’s often reading the morning news and replying to messages I didn’t get to yesterday.

It’s my personal work hour to tackle any mental to-do lists before the day starts; or to simply sit still while the sun come up and the birds chirp before diving into my day.

Friday, July 11

This Is How I Feel III

Fellow blogger Roo's "This Is How I Feel" posts are some of my favorite Internet things. Occasionally I borrow her idea and post GIFs that express what's happening in my world. Here's how I felt this week:

When Ben caught me eating the box of dinosaur shaped mac and cheese bought especially for him


When—after a gazillion flip flopping ideas—I finally decided on bridesmaids dresses


When I realize I have an unwatched CBS Sunday Morning on the DVR

 
When I suggested to Ben an impromptu Monday night trip to the beach

 
When a fellow-beach goer overheard me making a theme song for the dive-bombing seagulls


Tuesday, July 8

Monday Vacation


Is it a seagull or a plane?

Lying on a beach towel staring up at the wispy clouds, it took me a while to decide. It took even longer to get to the beach last night, even longer than that to shed my mental to-do lists, and even longer than that to relax out my kinked up feeling of go-go-go that always arrives when I return from a vacation.

We spent the long holiday weekend on the east side of the state bouncing from (poorly played) games of Frisbee golf to family barbecues to visiting grandparents. I could have sat down to relax, I just never really did. The Sunday after a weekend away is never a day of rest for me, it’s a half-day sprint to grocery shop, do laundry, make lunches for the week and to find a soft spot for my crash landing.

By Monday morning I was ready for another vacation. When Ben arrived home from work that night, that’s just what I suggested. Lake Michigan is a quick 45 drive away. We had our toes in the sand at Holland State Park before we sit down to dinner most nights.

You know what we did next? Nothing. We walked along the beach, people and seagull watched, (poorly) played Frisbee and lay on that dang beach towel until we couldn't lay on it any more. We walked to the lighthouse and watched a stunning sunset fizzle out behind a tidal wave of clouds.

Now a backpack of beach towels and water bottles sits on top of a suitcase with weekend dirty clothes. But for some reason, I don’t mind it.

Wednesday, June 25

The Dress

Not every Saturday morning is worth springing out of bed for—last Saturday morning of wedding dress shopping was.

I was up early to shower and cook breakfast for my mom and two girlfriends. We ate English muffins, eggs and bacon; drank mimosas (plus packed a travel "to-go-sa") and drove to a bridal salon outside of town.

While I wish my out-of-town bridal party could have been there, I’m thrilled I could share my shopping experience with my mom and two local girlfriends. Their support, encouragement and friendship is worth celebrating far and beyond a day of dress hunting. I'm really glad I could include them in the wedding by inviting them to something so personal. I’ll raise my mimosa to that.

Happy bride-to-be in my dress
The funny thing about wedding dresses is that they all look like white sleeping bags on the rack. None of the four or five I tried on wow'ed me until I put one on I just didn't want to take off.

There was no immediate "THIS IS IT!" moment, but several small ones that were too reassuring to ignore. It felt confirmed after the 5th time I asked how it looked when Ashley said "we're just waiting on you!" It’s comfortable, classic and just feels like me. It didn't hurt it made a few members of my shopping entourage tear up, too.

All this time I've been elbow deep in writing checks and booking vendors has been fun—but the dress feels like I'm actually, really, honestly going to get married. Holy cow, I guess I am.