BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: SEE IT SIDEWAYS

As a mother, I have an obligation to steer my kids on the right path. This is especially true in business. As my daughter Kelsey grows into adulthood, she is going to be faced with challenges, triumph, and adversity. She’s going to have to make big decisions, take chances and follow her dreams. I can only hope that my work experiences help mold her into the successful business woman that she will become.

I say this next thing with mixed emotions.

Today is the day that I take my own motherly advice. Today is the day that I take a chance on following my dreams. After eight years working for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, I have decided to leave my job and open my own digital marketing agency, SEE IT SIDEWAYS, with two other VERY talented marketers from Starwood. I have spent the past few years commuting across town and across country and today I embark on a new chapter.

The story of how this decision came to be is a page-turner. Best told over a few cocktails. In fact, when we told someone how SEE IT SIDEWAYS came to be, their response was, “Well, now you’ve got a story! Every successful person has a story. And now you three have one heck of a story to tell.”

If you believe that everything happens for a reason, and if you really believe that hustle and heart will set you apart from anyone and anything that stands in your way, then you believe what we believe: faith, hard work and true talent is the recipe for success.

You can follow our journey through the SEE IT SIDEWAYS instagram page, through this blog or you can connect with me directly. For those who know me personally, thank you for the support and for your friendship. For those whom I just met through this blog … welcome to my life as a working mom. Hang on tight because it’s about to get real good.

seeitsideways_marketing

A Day Spent Volunteering

many hats of a mom blog

Today, my work family and I spend the day volunteering at our local Toys for Tots distribution center. Every year, we pick a day and spend the entire time giving back to our community. It’s a great way for us to work together for a great cause.

many hats of a mom blog

We sorted through toys and toys (and toys!) and bagged them up for deserving families in need so they could have a magical holiday this year. It was amazing to see how many people donate items to Toys for Tots. Bravo, guys.

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

One lady donated like 30 beanie baby … poodles! Poodles were all over this place.

mom blogger

mom blogger

Don’t we look silly? It’s a good problem to have, surrounded by a gazillion donated toys for kids.

mom blogger

mom blogger

mom arizona blogger

Okay, I just had to post this. My friends are going to kill me because this was supposed to be a joke – I thought posing like we were taking Senior Portraits would be funny. I mean, look at Andrea’s heel point (far right)? Totally casual. I swore I wouldn’t post this, but then I did. Oopsy.

Get out and donate your time this season! Your community will thank you for it.

SIP Coffee and a Starwood Video Sneak Peek

The last few days have been a whirlwind. I was working with Full Lock Media (and some other extremely talented vendors and friends) to create a wedding short film to promote SPG Weddings. The past couple of days have been long, but I have enjoyed every second of the creative process. I now understand why they call it a ‘production’ – it takes a village. A very talented village to create a video.

spgweddingsvideo

One of the scenes called for our couple to meet at a coffee shop. My friend Teri (whose company helped create the script) found this really cool coffee shop in south Scottsdale called, SIP Coffee & Beer House. We had such a blast filming at this location.

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee is fairly new to Arizona (about 6 months) and is one of those coffee shops you go to in the morning and want to just camp out all day. I guess that’s a good thing, because SIP is also a Beer House, serving up live music and brews in the afternoon.

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP has great coffee (provided by Cartel Coffee) breakfast sandwiches that I’m still thinking about and a really cool, eclectic vibe. My favorite nook in the coffee house is an area right when you walk in … it reminds me of “Central Perk” in Friends.

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

Well done, SIP. You have created a very cool, downtown coffee shop that leaves everyone feeling like they are enjoying a cup of joe with familiar faces in a neighborhood hot spot.

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

Please enjoy this little photo tour of SIP and a behind-the-scenes glance into one scene from our SPG Weddings video shoot. I can’t wait to share the finished project with you!

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

True story. When Kapil, Jameson and Lee were not looking, I ate part of their breakfast sandwich. What? We were all close friends by this point and it looked so tempting. Plus, they were busy.

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

SIP Coffee and Beer House | Scottsdale Coffee Shop

Ironic that the guys huddled around this particular sign? They act like they didn’t plan it, but I think they had an idea. What a day this was! Special thanks to Full Lock Media for always being so professional, collected, creative, and such a joy to work with!

Sightseeing in the Big Apple

apple store

new york city

window shopping

new york city window shopping
In a New York Minute

I had 3 hours in between meetings to explore New York City. So, I did what any girl would do with limited time … I shopped 5th Avenue! I started at 55th and 5th and made my way up to Tiffany & Co., Apple, FAO and then over to Central Park, The Plaza Hotel, down to Bergdorf Goodman, then over to Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center. Then, I crossed the street to Saks Fifth Avenue before making my way to Louis Vuitton, Versace, and then back to The St. Regis New York.

Let’s just say I loved every single minute.

horse carriage rides in central park, NYC
central park
Horses, Central Park and a lot of Tourists

I’m not going to lie to you, there was a part of me that was willing to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park alone. But then I thought about it a bit harder and decided against it. What? It looked so inviting and intriguing. And then there was this person dressed as the Statue of Liberty, standing on phone books and this moment happened. God Bless them.

new york tourists

In and around Rockefeller Plaza

There is something so nostalgic about Rockefeller Plaza, even though I’ve never been here before. Ha! I think it’s because every year I invite this Plaza into my home with the Christmas Tree Lighting and holiday specials on television.

I went to the Top of the Rock to take some pictures, but there was an entire school (literally, 75 students) in line waiting their turn so I figured it would be a while before I got up there. The next morning, as I was blowdrying my hair and watching Jennifer Hudson perform on the Today Show, I thought … I could totally run down there right now and see her. I love being close to the action and New York City puts you right into the heart of it.

radio city music hall new york city

rockefeller center

rockefeller center
The Shops (and hotels) along 5th Avenue

My boss would be so proud. I hit up every luxury retailer and stopped at some of the most influential hotels in the business. I don’t know what it is about The Plaza Hotel but I love this place (hello, Home Alone 2!). It reminds me of Christmas. The Plaza is much smaller inside than I thought it would be, but super charming all the same.

As a Retail major, I have a soft spot in my heart for good visual merchandising and retail displays. I stopped at every window and just admired the creativity in the windows. The stories people are able to tell through artistic expression and merchandising is amazing. But, let’s talk about the fact that there was a line wrapped around the building of Abercrombie & Fitch. A line! At Abercrombie? Not sure I understand that one.

the plaza hotel

bergdorf goodman

new york city window shopping

window shopping  in nYC

window shopping | NEW YORK CITY

window shopping | NEW YORK CITY

window shopping new york city

michael kors in new york city

the st regis new york hotel

Where it all Began

I ended my self-walking tour at St. Regis New York, where it all started. This was the very first St. Regis hotel built in 1904 and since it just went through a multi-million dollar restoration and redesign, I was so anxious to experience it first-hand. I am still pinching myself for the opportunity to have stayed here. Let’s just say there is an entire blog post dedicated to my pictures of this beautiful hotel. Here’s a little sneak peek.

st regis new york

And then … (you still with me?)

Looking back this, I had no idea that I took this many photos. I am such a casual photographer. Meaning, I literally snap a photo of something I see without taking too much time to set the shot. I like to capture exactly what I saw, and how I saw it versus taking time to do staging. Here are some photos from my morning commute from The St. Regis New York to The Chatwal hotel (near Times Square). I was on my way to a day full of inspiring meetings around St. Regis and Luxury Collection 2015 brand planning.

new york buildings

new york buildings

new york city broadway

new york city subway

new york times square
What I Learned

I had no idea how much inspiration and freedom I would feel while walking through the city. I was overwhelmed (in a good way) with all of the sights, sounds and people. When I first stepped out of the cab, I felt like a suburbia dork with my camera in tow, but I quickly adapted once I realized that anything goes here. You just have to stay strong, find your place and dive in head first.

I already miss it and I only got to see a small fraction of the entire place. There is so much more I want to do. Times Square, Meat Packing District, The Brooklyn Bridge, breakfast at Le Meridien Parker, shopping in SoHo, Upper West Side exploring, a Broadway Play. Next time I’m bringing Ryan because there is a sandwich at Carnegie Deli and a patch of grass at Central Park with our names on it.

Until we meet again, New York …

View my photo tour of The St. Regis New York

The Working Mom Hat: Just Run Away

Today started out productive and then one nasty email after another came flooding into my inbox. It was be-totally-rude-and-mean-to-others day and I didn’t get the memo. I worked from home today and didn’t get up from my desk but 30 minutes to eat lunch. One of those days.

About 4:10pm I got another email. It was from a client. It ended with “Sorry for venting but …” To which I wanted to scream, “Pick up the phone, don’t email this! Why are you complaining. We’re not saving lives! I’m a human being not a customer complaining inbox!” You’ve been there.

Since I don’t want to get fired, I didn’t do that. Instead, I closed my computer and decided to run away from it all. I grabbed my running shoes and booked it to the gym. I grabbed my iPod, plugged in and tuned out. I ran. And ran. And ran. And let me say this, I am not a runner. Not in the least! I’m not good at it at all. Ask me how fast I run a mile? Go on. Like, 15 minutes.

But today … today, running felt good. I just ran away from all of my stress. Then, came home, picked up the kids, scrambled to make dinner, got yelled at by a 3-year-old and screamed at by a 1-year-old. But, it didn’t matter. I had run it all off. For whatever reason, my kids’ screaming didn’t bother me, as much. I just sipped on my wine and smiled.

In fact, as I write this, my husband is  upstairs giving my son a bath and he (my son) is screaming at the top of his lungs. I can tell that scream. It’s the scream he does when you pull him out of the bath and try to dry him off and put on his diaper. You would think we torture the child. But, nope – we’re only trying to keep him clean so daycare doesn’t label him The Dirty One.

I better go help my husband out, but thought I would share with you my thoughts. Next time you’re stressed to the core … run, run, away. It really does help.

rise and runrunning quotevia

The Working Mom Hat: Work It Out

Going back to work was hard. Taking Colton to daycare is going to be harder. And leaving both kids for a four-day conference will be the hardest. One side of me is emotionally torn up about the entire bit, the other half is looking forward to a Heavenly Bed and nice heels.

work outfit

The Working Mom Hat: Hotel Holidays

Last night, I flew into Orange County super duper early – for a five-hour meeting – then flew back late that night. I got to see one of my favorite hotels decorated for the holidays, which was lovely. Everything St. Regis does is beyond expectation and the holidays are no exception.

Remember the last time I was here?

 Before our meeting I caught a glimpse of their famous oceanfront view.

A little coffee break by the fire? Sure makes going over a marketing report much more relaxing.

This beautiful sand castle greeted me at the door. Can you believe it … this is sand! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. One more week until Christmas. Eeek!