lia sophia Updates and News

lia sophia's Shifting Sands necklace

Last night, upon returning from the Fall Showcase, I finally made some progress to the lia sophia section on this blog. I guess I was feeling inspired.

What’s changed?

Now, instead of one long page, the main page has general lia sophia news and information while the rest has been divided into three sub-pages.

Specials now have their own page solely devoted to the great deals you can get currently through lia sophia as a customer, hostess and new advisor.

There are two additional pages that have come into existence as well. The first one is Opportunity, which has information to help you decide if the lia sophia opportunity may be right for you. There are lots of companies who aren’t hiring right now, lia sophia isn’t one of them.

The other new page is Theme Parties. Sometimes its fun to step out of the box and do something a little different, especially if your circle of friends has gotten a bit burned out on going to yet another home show. This list is far from complete, but suggestions are always appreciated!

If there’s information that you’d like to know about lia sophia that isn’t on there, let me know and I’ll do my best to help.

Now, if you’re interested in making purchases for Christmas, I have updated the Specials section to show the October special, but September’s buy 2, get 4 more expensive items at 1/2 price will still be available through this weekend (until Sunday at noon EST) by visiting www.liasophia.com/barbkraus and placing an order under the hostess Fall Showcase.

A Review in Brief

I know it. I’ve been a bad, bad blogger these past couple of weeks. I promise, my lack of posting is not because of a lack of things to write on but instead due to an excess of things to do. So what exactly has been going on? I’ll give you an overview of the major events.

14

Two weeks ago, the 14th, I attended a management seminar for lia sophia at which one of the wonderful folks from home office spoke.

16

On the 16th I traversed in the opposite direction to Okemos (just outside of Lansing) to attend IxDA Lansing’s kick-off event where we heard Dan Klyn speak on Information Architecture. IxDA, by the by, stands for Interaction Designer’s Association. The Lansing chapter is the first in Michigan.

17-19

The next morning, the 17th, I received word that my grandmother passed away. I left work early and headed down to my parents to be with and support my mom.

I was supposed to volunteer at Bluesfest the next day, but they understood why I was not going to make it. I headed home late the 19th.

20

The 20th was the popcorn kick-off for Pack 89, which I almost forgot about, and I met my Webelos den for the first time. I also caught the season premiere of Chuck. This is of note because my TV doesn’t actually get channels, so I had to go to the gym to catch it.

21

The 21st I received word that I would be in Detroit on Thursday and Friday as an extra for Transformers 3. I also came to the realization that I was on the verge of a panic attack due to the added stress from my grandmother’s death and the rest of the family traveling to Louisiana for her memorial service on the 22nd. I’m generally a pretty mellow person, passionate yes, but fairly calm, so it was a very strange feeling for me.

22

Because of all of this I took my office up on a bereavement day on the 22nd. I slept in, de-stressed and pulled together all of the materials for the Art Walk I was supposed to participate in on Friday, but would now be in Detroit for and was being covered for me by my good friend Holly.

I also attended the concert of my friends and fellow Union University alumi, Scratch Track, otherwise known as DJ Lee and Jason Hamlin. Since we hadn’t seen each other in person in 5 years, we hung out at Blackstone’s in Flint after the show. Where I met several of their other friends, family and a new band member, Danny.

23

I spent the night at my parent’s place since it’s closer to Detroit and hung out with my furry siblings, Buddy and Missy, who were feeling very deprived in my parent’s absence then headed down to Detroit. I signed a non-disclosure agreement as an extra so I can’t really say much beyond that it was very cool and I met some awesome peeps.

24

On a massive three hours of sleep I headed back the next morning then proceeded to do a lot of running. After we finished up for the night (about 14 hours later) I hung out with several of the stunt crew and another extra at The Town Pump, the Centaur and another place that I didn’t catch the name of but is supposed to have great Chicken Shwarma in downtown Detroit. By the time I got home it was about 3 am. I had a lot of caffeine that day.

25-26

Theoretically, I could have gotten online on Saturday, but instead I slept. My bed and I were very close this past weekend. We’d missed each other. The only things I got up for were hanging out with Holly to eat junk food/watch Whip It and go to church. I meant to get an oil change, but then I recalled I live in a small semi-rural town where most oil change places are open on Sunday.

Beyond…

So, that’s been my last week and a half or so. I also have started working on Indigo Dreams Design, a site in progress for my photography, handmade jewelry, etc. It’s far from done, but I’ve made some progress with it. Feel free to stop in, just keep in mind that there’s still a lot of missing beams and dust in that construction.

Blast, before I forget (again and this is why I’ve been such a very, very bad blogger), the lovely and talented Mrs. Humble over at Not So Humble Pie was kind enough to share my Tiramisu Brain and a school of fish cookies I made for my brother’s birthday in her Science Cookie Roundup #7.

Thank you, Mrs. Humble!

Tonight is the Fall Showcase for lia sophia and Partylite at Guido’s Coffee Lounge. If you live in the area feel free to stop by, check things out and chill for a bit. There’s more information in this post. After that maybe things will calm down a bit. We’ll see.

8 Keys to Success

As I was catching up on my alerts e-mails for the last week or so (I’ve been out of the office since Tuesday), I came across a link to this great video from Richard St. Johns on Penn Olson’s blog from TED 2005 and decided to share it with all of you. It’s only about 4 minutes long, so grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy.

What is TED?
TED, short for ‘Technology, Entertainment, Design’, is a small non-profit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. They do two annual conference every year, plus a number of local conferences, all with remarkable speakers and subjects. These speakers are recorded and their talks are available free of charge on TED’s website. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to drop by and check out what they have to offer. Videos range in length from a few minutes to 30 or 45 minutes long.

Fall Showcase

Next week I’ll be having a Fall Showcase for lia sophia and Partylite at a local coffee shop. If you’re in the area I’d love to have you stop in to browse the Fall/Winter lia sophia & Partylite collections as well as enter for a chance to win a great doorprize!

Here are the details:

Fall Showcase
5-9 pm
September 28th
Guido’s Coffee Lounge
Woodard Station Lofts

This is a great chance to get some of your holiday shopping done with our awesome September specials!

lia sophia is offering buy 2, get 4 more expensive items at 1/2 price! Here’s an example.

Partylite has a variety of items at 76% off, plus special pricing for multiple dozen orders of candles and 1/2 off any item with a $40 order.

All orders placed at the event will receive 10% off their total.

I am extending this to the online shows (lia sophia/Partylite) as long as the orders are placed prior to the 28th. The hostess name is ‘Fall Showcase’. If you’re ordering online I will do this manually before finalizing the order. It will not show in your automated total.

Questions? Feel free to drop me an email or ask below.

Death, Grieving & Family

My grandmother died last Friday. We knew that it was coming, even that it would be soon, but it still managed to take us by surprise. My mother describes her sometimes as having a mischievous streak and I couldn’t help but think that it was her breaking expectations one last time.

What surprised me most was that I cried. It’s not that I’m an unfeeling or unemotional person. It’s simply that I didn’t know her well. Perhaps in this day and age of internet and communications things would have been different, but when I was growing up we had the greater amount of the United States between us and she wasn’t one to write letters.

A couple of times we made the trek to California and likewise she made it to Michigan on several occasions before her health prevented it, but our relationship was not the stuff of lovey dovey Lifetime movies. By the time I reached college her health was already failing and I felt like neither of us knew what to say to each other on the rare occasions that we met.

I know that she liked pink and carnations. She had a diverse taste in jewelry and enjoyed resetting pieces that she had inherited. She always had pets, especially dogs, and took in any number of strays over the years. She traveled and worked and dyed her hair red.

What I remember best are the interesting gifts that she sent – hard cover classic Arthur Conan Doyle, an encyclopedia, a silver coffee service, collectible dolls and the 13 dozen pink carnations that I got for my 13th birthday. Then there’s my engagement ring. Though I’ve yet to meet the man I’ll marry (at least to the best of my knowledge), it was passed on to me from her back when I was in high school. It’s not perfect, but it’s beautiful.

Grandmother was an interesting person, at least, from the stories my mother tells that’s the picture I get and I realized as I contemplated her death that I mourned not the woman that I knew but that woman that I never got to know. Now I never will. I’ve known it for years, but death has a finality that illness and nursing homes did not.

Tomorrow they will hold a small viewing for her down in Louisiana followed by a memorial service at the nursing home she’s been at for the last five years. I won’t be there, but what I know I will remember and despite our lack of deep relationship, a part of her will live on through my mother and through me even if I don’t always recognize it.

Adventures at Arts, Beats & Eats

This past Monday my mum and I trekked down to Royal Oak to partake of Arts, Beats and Eats. For those who are unfamiliar, its an annual festival that brings in concerts, restaurants and artists both from the local area and other parts of the United States.

This is actually the first year that the festival has been held in Royal Oak. Previous it’s been in Pontiac, so the flavor was a bit different this year from when we went last year.

We chose to attend on Monday for a variety of reasons, the largest being that we were otherwise occupied on Saturday and Sunday, but we also wanted to catch the Kansas concert. It really ended up working out in our favor, because while it was crowded on Monday it was nothing compared to the crowds earlier in the weekend.

Now, I’ve read a lot of complaints about the crowds and the parking and such, but I guess my mum and I tend to expect such things and view it all as an adventure. It also was a bit dreary Monday deterring some and we employ such techniques as walking behind the stalls on the sidewalk to skip large sections of crowd which definitely helps.

People waiting for food at Arts, Beats and Eats

I’m not going to say the crowds weren’t bad at points, but what I found more frustrating than the crowds were actually the stroller jams. I know I don’t have any kids of my own, but I’ve worked with them in one form or another for a good portion of my life and a festival like this is not the place to bring your two year old. There was a kids area, but it really was set up more for older children who can greatly benefit from being exposed to all of the different art, music and culture.

Back to us, Mum and I decided to park at the high school because it was $5 cheaper and a whole lot less crazy than trying to park in town. Much to my delight, the shuttle service was being run by Indian Trails which is actually based about 5 minutes from my apartment so I was also supporting my peeps parking there. It was also great because they dropped and picked us up at the gate.

We found the stage we sought with only one stop for directions and, being a bit early, jaunted off again in search of liquid refreshment. We didn’t really want to spend our food tickets on water, so we were quite pleased to find a little ice cream shop with a vending machine. I’m certain they made a killing last weekend from folks like us.Kansas live performance at Arts, Beats and Eats

When we arrived back for the concert the area was packed with people. I grew up listening to Kansas, but I find it’s always interesting to hear bands I grew up on now that I’m an adult. I know their hits, of course, and we actually heard them perform ‘Dust in the Wind’ but I never realized they had as much instrumental music as they performed. Not that I minded. I’m a bit of a fangirl when it comes to electric violins and one of their guys was definitely rocking his out.

We listened for the better part of their set, slowly working our way back into the less compact crowd before decided to make our way over to the art section of the festival. We’re both fascinated to see what types of artists are there, especially being a juried show. Some of the artists we love, others, well, we’re just not their audience.

Last year when we attended we were introduced to the artwork of Laura Lee Junge, who is now located at the Jackson Junge Gallery in Chicago and we were quite excited to find them at Arts, Beats and Eats once more. Her work is full of whimsy and bright, beautiful color.

While Angels Sleep by L Lee Junge

This year I gave into temptation and purchased a small version of While Angels Sleep, Your Love Shall Keep to add to my home collection of as yet un-hung artwork. I almost purchased Out of the Sounds of Silence He Summons the Symphony but there is such glorious detail in it I’m going to save up to buy a larger print. What I really want is the $500 large framed copy that they had at the festival, but it’s a little out of my price range at the moment.

In a lovely bit of happenstance, we ran into Gwen – my sister from another mother – and her husband wandering an art cul-de-sac. They had to depart for evening plans so we couldn’t talk long, but it was a fun and unexpected occurrence. Now, some of my friends are shaking their heads reading this and saying that I’m always running into people I know, but that didn’t make it any less wonderful when it happens.

As for the eats, that was our last stop. After much perusal we settled on farm cheese pierogis and fried pickles. I know it’s an odd combination, but I love pierogis and mum’s been wanting to try fried pickles for awhile. Both were excellent. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water.

Cafe Muse grilled cheese is a must go back and try

Last year we hit the festival and then left, but this year our explorations expanded to the stores that had stayed open in the midst of festivities. A pair of shoes and purse wishlist later, we decided that we’d have to come back and shop Royal Oak again, which is really what they hope to get out of such events.

My friend Becks over at Detroit Moxie posed the question of whether or not people thought the festival was a success at its new location and while I can’t speak for the festival as a whole, for us it was great day. There are definitely kinks that need to be worked out before next year’s festival, but overall we had fun and came out with a list of restaurants we want to try out, stores we wish to shop at and a gallery we really want to visit.

Stuffed Drumsticks

As a single twenty-something who prefers cooking in to eating out one of the most common issues I run into is that most food isn’t packaged for my eating needs (or if it is it’s not cost effective). Like meat, usually I take the time to break up and individually freeze packages of meat because there’s no way I can eat a full package in the week or so post cooking it without coming to detest it in that time. This works well for me.

There are occasionally times when for some reason this doesn’t happen and the whole pack gets frozen. Some things like ground beef or steak can easily be turned into a variety of meal options, but not that long ago I delved into my freezer and discovered a whole pack of chicken legs. Frozen.

These chicken legs had been on my periphery conscience for awhile, but I kept avoided them because I knew that at a chicken leg a day I just might grow feathers and bawk like my dad keeps saying is going to happen.

Yes, my father has been known to start bawking and bobbing his head in the middle of the chicken section whilst grocery shopping with my mother. This may explain a few things about me.

Anyway, I decided to do a little experimentation to make such vast chicken consumption doable. This was the result.

Sweet and Savory Stuffed Drumsticks

Good for three drumsticks in each variety.

Cherry Blue Stuffing

1/2 cup chopped fresh cherries

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Dash of salt

Mushichoke Stuffing

Saute before stuffing the chicken

1/3 cup canned artichoke hearts

1/4 cup fresh onion

1/3 cup fresh sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup fresh spinach

Dash of salt

Dash of pepper

1) Set the oven to 400.

2) Prepare the stuffing mixutre (s) of your choice and clean the chicken. Since the stuffing is going under the skin run a finger or utensil in the pocket to make sure it is ready to be stuffed.

3) Stuff the legs. Since I did both varieties I cooked them in separate baking dishes.

4) Bake for approx. 40 minutes or until the skin is brown and the juices are clear.

Serves 6 (or refrigerates for multiple meals)

Leftover Suggestions

Shred chicken and use with stuffing as part of a salad

Cut the chicken off and stuff with stuffing in a pita

A Farmer’s Market Morning

It was 56 degrees out this morning when I threw on a sweater and headed over to the farmer’s market. Through my window I could hear the guitar and singing of a local musician who had braved the morning chill to be there long before I woke up.

Three depths of field on farmer's market produce

My very first visit to a farmer’s market happened my sophomore year of college. I was actually there to work on a depth of field project for photography, but the introduction stuck with me none the less.

Now, eight years later, I live across the street from one. Sure, it means that I have to practice evasive, pedestrian dodging driving techniques if I wish to go anywhere beyond walking distance on a Saturday morning, but it also means that it’s right there when I wish to go.

There are four things that I love about shopping at the farmer’s market.

Acorn Squash at Farmer's Market
1. I’m supporting local people. We do have folks who come from outside of the county, but they’re still part of the greater Michigan community.

Farmer fillings pints of tomatoes

Farmer conversing with some of his customers

2. You never know what you’ll find there. Sure, you can check what’s in season, but farmer’s market is more than just produce. There’s also baked goods, canned goods, fresh food, woodworking, etc. and it varies from week to week. Not that the produce can’t be unusual as well.

fresh lemon pies

Fresh Golden Hubbard which are actually orange

3. It’s fresh. Because it’s local, in season and hasn’t ripened en transit I find that the food I purchase at farmer’s market is fresher and lasts longer.

four colors of bell peppers

4. It’s economical, aka cheaper.

A great price means an empty basket of red potatoes

Here’s the breakdown of my spending this morning:

1 pint each Yukon gold and red potatoes (approx 5-6 lbs total) – $4
1 pint cherry tomatoes – $1
1 pint bartlett pears – $1.50
4 bell peppers (yellow, red, green & purple) – $2
1 loaf of Great Harvest cinnamon bread – $6.50
Total: $15

5. Eating it. I know I said there were four, but really, eating it is the best part ;)

Cinnamon bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. and fresh bartlett pears

Icons and Technology

I recently did a lunch and learn presentation to my co-workers on the subject of iconography and, after the excessive ragging I got last time for not recording a presentation, I caught it on Silverback. I’ve included a copy of the powerpoint and the quotes which I used below.

One note – I did realize in going back over my notes that the article is not “Realism in UX Design” but “Realism in UI Design” from UX Magazine. This has been corrected in the Powerpoint version.

Iconography Powerpoint

“Noobs in the digital space don’t understand things holistically. They barely understand the basics. They lack any cognitive surplus to provide themselves with an overview of the environment they interact with.”
Thomas Peterson, “Anatomy of a Noob

“It’s pretty rare in the real world that we rely on iconography alone to represent ideas. Bathroom doors generally have an icon of a man and the word “Men.” Stop signs have the word “Stop” on them.”
Jensen Harris, “The Importance of Labels

“Part of the user experience effort around Outlook 98 was improving the menu and toolbar structure. One of the problems noticed again and again among non-expert users was that people didn’t use the toolbar at all! …In the end, one change caused a total turnaround: labeling the important toolbar buttons. Almost immediately, the toolbars were a big hit and everyone at all skill levels starting using them.”
Jensen Harris, “The Importance of Labels”

“Web iconography instantly denotes certain site elements… it’s important to appeal to the viewer’s sense of familiarity here. A custom set of icons has a certain cachet, but if your ideogram is too obscure, it will fail to communicate the desired message.”
Jessica Neuman Beck, “Does Your Copy Hold Up To A Quick Glance?

“Ever notice how many iPhone icons use analog objects? Phone, envelope, etc. We are wedded to the comforts of familiar objects.”
“Yet how many kids growing up these days will know why an icon for a phone is shaped like that?”
Brenden Dawes tweets, “Iconography: Where are we headed?

“Images are the main content of our thoughts regardless of the sensory modality in which they are generated and regardless of whether they are about a thing or a process involving things or about words or other symbols.”
Antonio Damasio

Also referenced are these articles and books-

Realism in UI Design
The Humane Interface
Designing Web Navigation