Category: Work + Design

NeoCon 2017

By , June 19, 2017 11:22 am

A week ago today, my mom and I went to NeoCon at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago!

NeoCon stands for National Exposition of Contract Furnishings – it’s an annual three day trade show that’s free to attend if you register in advance. There’s the trade show, but also keynotes, classes, and LOTS of parties. And let’s copy straight from Wikipedia – “With over 1,000 exhibitors of contract and commercial furnishings, and 50,000 attendees, it is the largest trade show of its kind in North America.” Whoa. It’s overwhelming. A lot of these vendors have permanent showrooms (on many floors) in the Merchandise Mart, and they set up floors for outside vendors to come in, too.

As part of my job, I occasionally assist clients with furniture and finish selection, so I go to NeoCon to see the newest and greatest stuff! Which isn’t actually what my clients select, but, it’s educational for me.


When I was in Kansas City in January, I asked my snister if she’d be going to NeoCon this year. She’s an interior designer and has gone to NeoCon the past few years – but the days we go typically don’t align (or she goes early, for vendor stuff). She didn’t know at that point, but my mom was there, and asked what NeoCon is, then expressed interest in going! My mom studied interior design for a bit in college, so she has an interest for it, but I think we also may have sold her when we mentioned all the free food and handouts. Ha!

Seriously, you don’t really need to bring food or plan to buy lunch or dinner if you hit up the right show rooms or after parties. (Note – we had to head back around 4:00 so I could teach my evening strength class. Next year, we are definitely doing to some parties.)

So. Much. Free. Food.

And so many handouts. My snister asked me to pick up stuff for her since she was going early this year (before the show opened). Here’s her haul:

I did keep three bags for myself, and that funny orange chair to put my phone in. Ha.

Mom and I visited three floors in the Merchandise Mart (out of eight or ten vendor show floors), and visited several showrooms in the building across the street. My snister designs a specific product at her job, and they have a showroom across from the Mart, and she asked me to make sure to take Mom there. Funny enough, the guy assigned to give us a tour (out of 50 or more people) works with my snis!

So, normally, NeoCon is completely overwhelming, exhausting, and not that fun. I was dreading it this year, like I always do. But I ended up having so much fun with my mom, probably because she was so excited about it, that it made me a little sad we were only doing one day of it!

I was still exhausted though. At the end of the day, we were so slap-happy and out of it on the train ride home that we laughed so hard we cried (about kale…). Then I took this photo to send my snist and this guy was totally creepin’ in on me. Ha!

I bet Mom will be back for NeoCon next year!

Random Thoughts Thursday 137

By , June 15, 2017 6:22 am
  • I made it to a 1,000 day streak in DuoLingo (in Spanish)! And… that means nothing other than that. I finished the app so long ago that I’ve just been repeating the lessons over and over. If I really want to improve, I should practice speaking with someone in Spanish!

  • I forgot to mention in my training recap that a few students said really nice things about me to my mom when she was at Fitness Boxing. That made me feel good!
  • We had a great time with my parents! They arrived on Friday (my mom’s birthday!) and stayed until Tuesday am. We ate (cooked and went out), played games, did projects, worked out, went to the beach, went to NeoCon, and hung out. It was a fun visit and a treat to have them visit for so long!

“Usie” in front of someone else’s car

  • I am so tired after their visit, though! I woke up early (to workout) and stayed up late (to have fun!) every day they were here. And I wasn’t sleeping well because Khali played most of the night after hiding all day long (that has nothing to do with my parents – Khali still has her stray cat instincts to hide from people she doesn’t know!). I finally got (more than!) eight hours of sleep last night!

Just chillin’ with my slippers

  • The whole purpose of my parent’s visit was that my mom wanted to go to NeoCon (National Exposition of Contract Furnishings) – a huge design trade show at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. I go for work each year, and generally don’t enjoy it (crowded, sales-y, overwhelming, etc.). It was completely different with my mom. I loved experiencing it through her excited, fresh eyes! And she LOVED it and is already talking about coming back for it next year! I’ll write a separate post about our NeoCon day!

Us and the Merchandise Mart

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 136

Random Thoughts Thursday 136

By , June 1, 2017 6:22 am
  • I’m having a hard time getting in to the Starbucks book after reading the Rockefeller one. The Rockefeller book required so much concentration. The Starbucks one does not and I find my mind wandering more!
  • I hate the phrasing “we apologize for any inconvenience.” Just say “we apologize for the inconvenience,” because if you are saying the first phrase, there probably was one.
  • I love getting my teeth cleaned. I love the process and the way they feel after! I had a cleaning on Tuesday and elected to get the fluoride treatment… which completely ruins that fresh, clean teeth feeling, by making your teeth all tacky. Wah.
  • My mom and Steven and I had a fun discussion about our interpretation of yesterday’s quote. What do you think it means?

  • I’ve been busting my butt at work with special requests, and the recipients aren’t acknowledging them. It makes me feel extremely frustrated. I’d LOVE a thank you, but ANY response would be great. I suppose I will receive one in a few weeks when they finally look at my work and decide they want something else done.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 135

Random Thoughts Thursday 134

By , May 18, 2017 6:23 am
  • It would be inappropriate (and boring) to talk about the stuff at work that makes me nuts, but a lot of times, I make a list of it and imagine posting about it here. Ha. Doing that, along with venting with coworkers, helps!

Awesome picture, right?!

  • More vagueposting – it feels ironic, that as someone who shares personal information on the internet, there are people out there I don’t want knowing mundane information about my life. It’s not because of knowledge reasons, but what they do with the information – hold it against me, overreact, or gossip about it. It’s hard for me to NOT share things, but I know it’s better off in the long run, with certain people. Ugh. (Most of it’s harmless, just annoying. Example – somehow other people have information I only told YOU, that I would have liked to share with them myself.)
  • On to the mundane! Steven and I are always looking for a show to watch during our lunch breaks. We watched Parks and Recreation, then tried to watch Extant, then watched Big Little Lies. Now we’ve decided to rewatch Game of Thrones. We’re catching a lot more watching it the second time, which is fun! Sometimes Khaleesi watches the TV when her namesake is on, which always makes me laugh. I haven’t grabbed a photo of that, but here she is watching The Secret Life of Pets:

  • My parents are visiting in June and this will be their FIRST trip to our “new” home without an entire weekend of labor involved (they’ve been here twice but once was for the move and the other time was to help with the second floor attic work). I am looking forward to them being here with the house put together and having more “free” time… along with a few projects, of course. Ha ha.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 133

Random Thoughts Thursday 128

By , February 16, 2017 6:23 am
  • Khali is recovering well! But she is anxious to go back outside. We figured we should at least wait until she is off her medication (last pill is tomorrow) to let her out. A lot of people ask me how Data reacts to her – he’s fine! He lets her approach, then usually walks away. I did see him hiding behind boxes and swatting at her when she walked by yesterday, but I think he was being playful (???).

  • What boxes was Data hiding behind? Oh, this load of stuff (sentimental stuff, a few games, kitchen boxes, etc.) we’ve had stored at the warehouse (for about one and a half years) since we started clearing out our townhome to sell it, and just brought home! We still have garage stuff and most of our books at the warehouse. Slowly but surely, we’ll get it here! (It’s obviously not a rush, since we’ve been without these items for one and a half years! Although, I do miss a few books, and Steven definitely misses his garage stuff!)

  • Another, “yeah, figures” article – “Scientific Proof That No One Wants to Hear Your Vacation Stories” (pdf here), but actually, not for the reason I thought. The article says people would rather hear stories they can relate to, rather than stories about experiences they’ve never had. Makes sense – wouldn’t it be more enjoyable to relate and connect with someone? But the reason we prefer relatable stories (according to this article, anyway) is because most people are crappy storytellers. “Human speech is riddled with informational gaps, and familiar stories allow listeners to use their own knowledge to fill in those gaps.” Hmm!
  • I know I’m a horrible storyteller. So let me try to tell you a story about a recent Target trip, ha. A lady and I were both trying to jockey our carts around the same section of the chocolate aisle. So I said to her “Looks like we both need our chocolate!” as I picked up the peanut butter cups I was there for. She starts asking me about the peanut butter cups and I tell her what I like about them. She picks up a bag to look at, and I finish my reasons of why I am buying them with “and they’re vegan!” and… she puts them back immediately. Ha, maybe I should have left the vegan part off?

  • I’ve been actually paying attention to the extra stuff my Garmin tracks, like sleep (to try to figure out how to sleep better) and steps. Last year I whined about how our work was going to have a steps competition but only walking steps counted, not running. At the time I thought it was major BS, but now that I actually pay attention to my steps, and realize I would rarely break 3,000 without running, I kind of see their point.
  • Work pet peeve – people who sent you pdf files but don’t look to see if they are properly oriented! I review a lot of drawings, and people send me the pdf rotated ninety degrees in the wrong direction, constantly. What does that tell me? You didn’t open the pdf after you made it to make sure it was correct. Sigh.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 127

Playing architect

By , January 10, 2017 6:34 am

Hey! I get to play architect today (and use my degree)!

And it comes complete with dirty fingers from drawing with pencil.


And stress.

And ridiculous deadlines.


Random Thoughts Thursday 103

By , June 16, 2016 6:08 am
  • My day job is in the design (interior architecture) industry. That means going to NeoCon, a several day design exposition and conference for commercial interiors at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago (I only went one day this year). All that intro is to tell you I saw this office jungle gym yesterday at NeoCon and ME LIKEY!!!! It’s called the BuzziJungle, by BuzziSpace. You basically climb in, and sit wherever! Don’t you think your office needs this?! Mine sure does!


  • I ended up completely starting over with the dishcloth I started Tuesday (I was only 14 rows in, so, no biggie d) so it would be more tightly knit. I thought I was going to finish it last night but I had to do work when I got home. Maybe I’ll finish it on this morning’s train ride! Or maybe I’ll nap. Ha.


  • Work has been frying my brain something serious lately. Pair that with days in training where I am trying to get my regular work done and pay attention to class, and I am SO brain dead. Blah. I can’t wait for vacation! I really need a reset.
  • It’s too hot out (for me) to wear pants or jeans to work (and not suffer from my sweatiness). Time to bust out some of the last few boxes I haven’t unpacked since February – summer skirts and dresses! Woo hoo! Let the legs breeeeeeeeeeeathe!


  • Ugh. The bugs out here. Those are NOT moles on my neck in my post run picture below. It’s not so much that the bugs gross me out, just that I wish they’d stay off my body/stop flying around my head. And summer hasn’t even started yet… muah ha ha.


Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 102


By , June 8, 2016 6:23 am

My boss and I were in Indianapolis yesterday for a two hour meeting. Getting there involved my two hour train commute, then a three hour drive from Chicago, and the same on the way home. Which sounds horrible, but I was actually not dreading it, because I highly enjoy my boss’s company and was looking forward to all that time to chat (which was fun!).

But then it did get horrible on the way home, because I started to get a migraine. UGH. This happens often when I am in long work meetings, or traveling for work. I drink less water, because I don’t want to constantly be getting up from meetings to go to the bathroom and BOOM – headache. And we had a nicer, cooler, windy day, and the pressure change didn’t help my head either. Blah.

So we’re driving home and it hits me, bad. We pull over and get medicine and more fluids. I think I am feeling better, then all of a sudden, I get that feeling in my mouth like I am going to throw up. Awesome.

I tried to close my eyes and relax and will it to pass away, but I couldn’t get comfortable. I was constantly adjusting my seat, the AC, and taking my jacket on and off. Ugh.

Can you imagine doing all that in a car with your boss?

I’m not sure I would have mentioned it, or at least, showed my discomfort to the extent I did, with previous bosses, but my current boss is so kind, understanding, and relatable, I felt okay about it.

In fact, she is so kind, that she INSISTED on driving me the entire way home from Chicago, instead of having me get on the train home. So… she added an extra two hours to her commute, so that I would feel comfortable, and could sleep in the car.

How nice is that?

At first I didn’t want to inconvenience her, but I was getting so out of it with the headache that I went along with it. Ha. And I am happy I did – sleeping in the car while she drove really helped me feel better, quicker. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep like that on the train.

So, long story long, my boss rocks. I’ll be really sad whenever she leaves our group (maybe that will be what finally makes me leave my group for something else in the company).

Also, I never threw up. Yay! (But Data threw up when I got home, so I got to clean that up while feeling crummy, ha ha! (Steven was gone all day (and still gone when I got home) so Data was making himself all stressed and that is why he threw up – he’s been doing that every now and then, lately, ugh).)

I don’t have any photos for this story, but here’s one from yesterday, of Freddie and Bill being demanding:


We used to think Freddie (the white duck) was the ring leader, but nope, it’s definitely Bill (the brown duck).

Day 2 of training…

By , May 17, 2016 5:31 am


Thankfully, that book is mostly appendices.

And thankfully, the training is only three days long!

I’ve been taking a lot of training courses at work this year. It can be a nice change of pace… as long as your projects aren’t on fire while you’re in training. Luckily, they aren’t too bad, for this session! Which is good, because this session has A LOT of math in it. Which I enjoy, but really need to pay close attention to (read: I can’t constantly be checking my work phone to take care of things!)!

Be less available

By , March 18, 2016 4:12 am

The other day I was venting to a coworker about someone. “Why do they always contact me to ask for things? I am not even the point of contact for this project!”

“Honestly, Kim?” they replied, “I think it’s because you respond so immediately.”

EEK. G-U-I-L-T-Y!!!

do respond rapidly. I am always in a hurry to respond to emails. Especially with that person – I just wanted to respond and quit thinking about them bugging me.


I LIVE to see this message. Ha.

But he was right – me doing that was making it worse for me, in the long run.

So, I will be less available.

I need to do this across ALL facets of my life.

I don’t handle having a long to-do list very well. I handle it in the sense that I get stuff done, and don’t procrastinate… but it makes me SO anxious. I am always yearning for a clean slate. I feel like when I get there, I can breathe. I can relax. Everything is done.

But, we all know, everything is NEVER done! That’s impossible.

I need to get comfortable with having things sitting on my to-do list (and emails left unresponded to!). In a sense, buying a house has sorta helped with that. There is so much to do, and no way to do it all at once, so it makes us prioritize and focus on the now – and let the other things be (although, we still keep talking about them…).

And I try to do this at work. I make a list and prioritize and do things in order. BUT I JUST WANT THAT LIST TO BE CLEAR! (then people keep giving me work because I got the other stuff done – slow down, Kim). Sigh. I think the email is a good place to start with this.

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