Saturday, January 31, 2009
They have sandals! Pretty sandals! Wedge-heel sandals, sandals in pretty greens and corals, sexy strappy sandals. It made me long for Spring, but I couldn't bring myself to buy any when my toes are very happy being wrapped in thick socks and heavy, clunky shoes to guard against the snow and ice. This was my compromise: cute, pleated black pumps (all man-made materials, of course). I also got this bag. I carry a lot of stuff to work every day, and my bag gets heavy. This large tote is very sturdy, and I love the wine color.I don't think their spring line of clothes was out yet--nothing caught my eye--but with my new shoes and bag, I left feeling like the day wasn't a waste, after all.
Friday, January 30, 2009
4. Sunny Woods Rug, $248 from anthropologie.com. This rug makes me happy.
5. Fritillaria Chair in Belgian Linen, $2,400 from johnderian.com. I love the quietly classic shape of this chair, which would fit perfectly in the corner beside my desk.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
At the time, I was very happily living by myself in the cutest little apartment without a TV (by choice) in a big old house on Morewood Avenue and was not at all interested in dating. Darcey, my BFF from high school, tried to set me up with numerous guys, but I always said no.
But I had just fallen in love with Howard Roark from The Fountainhead and had told Darcey I wanted to meet an architect. She met Dave through her co-worker and Dave's childhood friend Melanie. When she found out he was an architect, she set up a date for us to meet.
She had told Dave that I was really smart and had just written a book, so he was nervous (and was sweating like a bitch.) She told me that he was "OK looking" because she knew I don't like traditionally cute guys and would likely have turned her down if she said he was cute (even though she thought so), so I wasn't expecting much.
Obviously, we hit it off. It was really warm out, and I loved that Dave suggested we buy 40s and drink on the corner. But his cool black shoes (which I thought only gay guys wore but have since found out that all architects wear) and the fact that he drove a stick shift (so sexy) were big selling points.
We were living together by July.
Since then, Dave has learned I can be really stupid, and I still think he's cute.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
When I'm writing or just really busy (which is pretty much every day), I really need to focus, and I can't do it with all the noise. And playing my own music distracts me. So I've found a wonderful solution: white noise!
This website by Partners in Rhyme has continuously looping tracks of noise-blotting sounds like ocean waves, wind, rain, a clothes dryer, and a busy city street. I have one of these playing almost constantly, and it really helps me focus. If you're like me and need to focus, try it out! The only one I'd caution against is the church bells track, which is described as "One half hour of church bells ringing. Great for weddings or to annoy your noisy neighbor."
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
What disturbs me is that four people have come to this blog through a site called indienudes.com. Um….? I am afraid to investigate.
Monday, January 19, 2009
4. The Tiger in the House by Carl Van Vechten, both for its 50s style writing and the cover design that looks great on my coffee table 5. Yellow Blossom Clasp Clutch Purse by Jennifer Ladd
Sunday, January 18, 2009
"There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea."
The photos in the header were all taken by my husband Dave, of course, and represent my favorite things: nature and all its creatures.
Friday, January 16, 2009
See the rest of my pictures on Flickr.
A lot of my job involves increasing web traffic through search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), so I was happy that the conference I attended spent a good amount of time on these strategies. Here are some of the tips we covered on increasing your ranking in search engine results:
1. You may have noticed a new, recent feature of Google searches: When you type in a word in the search field, Google automatically fills in the word or phrase. These are keywords and phrases other people have used, so this is a great way to do keyword research to see what keywords your audience is using to find yours and competitor websites. The longer the phrase, the more qualified the interest (i.e. someone searching for “Dell Inspiron Laptop with high-def widescreen” is a lot closer to purchasing than someone searching for “laptop computer.”) This is called the long tail of search.
2. Ranking in organic searches (i.e. when you don’t pay to have your website in a prominent place in search results) can be improved by keeping copy to 200-400 words per page; ensuring your copy aligns with your keywords; keeping keyword density to 4 or 5% on a page (don’t oversaturate copy with keywords); and ensuring you don’t have duplicate info on multiple pages.
3. Create an engine specific external site map (in Google Tools, look at site map).
4. Search engines don’t pull keywords from Flash; always make sure keywords in Flash pieces are also incorporated into the page content.
5. The more in-bound qualified links that come to your website, the better your ranking.
6. If your company has a blog, make sure it’s on your company website, not on a third-party site (like Blogger) so that search results promote your site not a third-party site.
7. Videos should be hosted on YouTube in addition to your company site because YouTube videos are ranked in search results.
8. Ads are now available on Facebook and YouTube and are very inexpensive and allow for a lot of niche targeting.
9. All websites should offer RSS, a news feed that web visitors subscribe to. On my sites, the RSS pages are always the most visited.
10. If you’re doing paid search (i.e. Google Adwords), create a different landing page for each campaign. Consider putting a form with an offer on the landing page to better generate leads and track campaign success (i.e. fill out this form and we’ll send you a free white paper).
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I guess I just don't think Florida is very interesting. When I travel, I want to explore new places and experience things I haven't before. To me, Florida is just one big beach, and I'm not a beach person and never have been. On top of just being downright bo-ring, I don't like getting sand everywhere on my person the minute I step onto a beach. I don't like the smell of dead fish that always seems to be in the air and seeing the bloated, decaying, and stinking carcasses of fish and other sealife that always washes up onto the beach. And, if I ever dared to step foot into the ocean again, which I probably won't, I don't like getting stung by jellyfish, pinched by crabs, and nearly pissing myself every time I think I saw a shark fin--which I remember happened a lot on family vacations to Florida when I was little. I'll take interesting, vibrant cities or snow-capped rocky mountain ranges any day over a lame beach!
While I wouldn’t personally go to Florida on my own, I’m headed there for work. I am staying at an oceanfront hotel, which I’m sure any other person would be happy about, but since it’s me, I’d much rather stay in the downtown part of the city, where I heard that there are some interesting development projects I’d like to check out. I hope the downtown is close enough to walk to.This conference is going to teach me how to market conferences. While my job title is writer/editor, I really manage marketing communications for an international conference series. And what that means, in a nutshell, is that I’m supposed to be increasing attendance at the conferences. This is challenging because a.) Companies are slashing training budgets and conference attendance is way down and b.) I have absolutely no experience in marketing conferences in general, and specifically to international audiences. So, I am feeling a bit of pressure. Even though it's in Miami, I'm hoping to get a lot out of this conference. And who knows, maybe Miami will really win me over.
Well, I’m off to pack my thong and roller blades. Miami, here I come!
Friday, January 9, 2009
Last summer I talked with a reporter from USA Today who asked me why Pittsburghers are so down on their city when it's so awesome. I'm happy she didn't publish my lame answer (I was not prepared to answer a philosophical question about the thoughts of yinzers), but it's interesting that everyone outside of Pittsburgh gets it!
Further proof: When I played tour guide with a group of out-of-town travel writers on the Gateway Clipper last year, they acted like the Cork Factory, stadiums, and Point State Park were the best things they'd ever seen in their lives. I felt like a star when they begged me to come to to their table and called over their friends to say, "She lives here!" and then made me point out every single thing along the river. I most enjoyed pointing out the houses and my estimate of what they would cost. That gets 'em every time.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
The narrator's tale is sad and beautiful all at once, like enjoying the beauty of fall leaves while knowing that the world will soon be cold, dark, and dead.
The writing was equally wonderful. How Jane Hamilton crafted nearly every sentence in the book so brilliantly while being true to Ruth's hillbilly voice is beyond me, but it's something I want to learn from.
Five meows--a must read!
Monday, January 5, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
On the way there, we stopped in downtown Butler. The business district is stable--just not very sexy. I was excited to see that The Book Nook was open and wanted to buy some of the books on my list. The man working didn't even acknowledge Dave's "hello," and kept his nose buried in a comic book. The store was filled with the genre of paperback fiction you find at grocery stores and not much else except for the very large selection of porn. They had not one of the books on my list, so I left empty-handed.
This building was cool. I was just going through photos of our trip to Amsterdam in 2005, and this reminded me of some of the buildings there.