Friday Round Up: Behind the Scenes at Cirque du Soleil

cirque-du-soleil-ann-ueno-4I am back from Montreal and what was one of the most memorable work conferences I have yet to experience in my 9 1/2 years with Starwood.  While there were many things that made it memorable, there is one big one that stands out: the day and night at Cirque du Soleil.  Our loyalty program, Starwood Preferred Guest, is a partner of Cirque (brilliant global brand + brilliant global brand = incredible collaboration) and therefore, our amazing leaders organized a creative team building day and evening reception at the headquarters of Cirque du Soleil.

Having seen my first Cirque show, Dralion, with  my cousin Erin about 10 years ago, I was instantly wow’d, blown away and absolutely inspired by the performance.  The shows explode with creativity and risk-taking.  They are fun, scary and hilarious.   Colorful, energetic and emotional.  I fell in love.  And since my first show, I have seen dozens more.  Mystere, O, Ovo, Michael Jackson.  The Beatles Love (in fact, I saw it for the third time in Las Vegas just a couple of months ago).  The list goes on.  The shows are truly all remarkable and memorable experiences.

All this said, when I found out we were getting an experience at their headquarters in Montreal I was beyond excited.  And this experience was truly one that money can’t buy.  I heard that Cirque rarely does this and only with preferred partners.

We first received a great presentation from Mario D’Amico, Cirque’s CMO.  He was great and one of the many key messages I took from him was the culture they create at Cirque around failing.  In order to succeed and in order to take risks, there has to be failure.  Failure is fully accepted.  Love it.

We were given a complete tour of the building and were able to see their production rooms, how the fabrics were made, how they measure their performers for their costumes and facial gear.  I learned that MAC cosmetics is the official makeup line of Cirque and that the makeup artists actually teach the performers to put on their own makeup.  They show them 2-3 times how to do it and then the performers are on their own!

And then for about 3 hours, our teams got to actually train as if they were part of a Cirque show.  Everything from the trapeze to learning how to be a clown, we were immersed in the Cirque culture.  One of my favorite things I did was learn the Michael Jackson Thriller dance from the choreographer of the Michael Jackson shows.  Yeah, she was an incredible dancer!  No, I wasn’t.

cirque-du-soleil-ann-ueno-5  cirque-du-soleil-ann-ueno-6

And the rest of the evening was a mini Cirque show with food, wine and sharing stories from our day together.

038cirque-du-soleil-ann-ueno-10It was truly one of the coolest experiences I have been a part of and I am SO grateful to work for a company that invests in their employees in this way.  Thank you, Starwood 🙂

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My Week That Took a Week to Recover.

 
I am 31.5 years of age and I can officially say, October 9 – 17 was  a time in my life I will never forget.  A week that was invigorating.  A week that was exhausting, mentally, physically and spiritually.  A week that was inspiring and filled with ideas.  A week where I was sad, challenged, excited, tired, awed and fulfilled.  A week that took me a week to recover and sit to type this.  Why?  Well, for this note, I am going to “summarize” the insanity.  Enjoy.

Sunday, October 9

My husband woke up at 6am and decided he would run the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  Now, he did train.  But, half-way through training he was injured.  With.  Shingles.  Yes.  His body was rejecting 26.2.  So for the past two months, there wasn’t any running for Rick.  So when he got up Sunday morning and decided to ‘try’ it, my response, as any supportive wife’s response would be, was ‘text me if you need me to come run with you…’  Low and behold, I received the text and went in for the rescue at mile 16.  We walked to mile 17 and Rick demanded I buy him a Coke.  We stopped, sat down and Rick chugged a Coke.  He claimed his legs wouldn’t move anymore.  So as we neared mile 18, we stopped.  Rick was sick, it was 84 degrees.  I had no idea how to get him home (no cabs, no public trans and thousands of runners and people everywhere).  15-20 minutes had passed and I thought, “hmmm…I can’t carry him…will we just die here together, in love, in Little Italy?  It will be a nice love story.”  And then, low and behold, our friend, Mr. Jimmy Lee (otherwise known as a gift from God), pulled up out of nowhere.  We hopped into his car, he drove us home, Rick puked and passed out for 3 hours.  Good times.

Monday, October 10

  • Work.
  • Noon:  Social entrepreneurship talk at Chicago Ideas Week.  Wow, wow and wow.  I felt alive and inspired and wow’d by this panel of people.  Dave Gilboa, co- founder of Warby Parker, Scott Harrison, founder and CEO of Charity: Water, Leila Janah, founder and CEO of Samasource…and more.  People changing the world, one idea at a time.  Literally.  This was one of my favorite sessions of CIW.  Will blog further about these incredible people.
  • 3pm:  Prayers and tears as I said good-bye to a special, special women.  My best friend’s mom had passed from pancreatic cancer and Monday was her wake.  Cathy O’Connor is now in heaven with God and no doubt, enjoying her time there and smiling down on her husband and children.
  • 6pm:  International Mayoral Event at The Oriental Theatre in Chicago.  Mayor Bloomberg from NYC, Rahm from Chicago and Reed from Atlanta.  Rick and I arrived, exhausted.  30 minutes later we left and went to Chipotle for dinner.  Here’s the deal.  We just aren’t political people.  Period.

Tuesday, October 11

A celebration of Mrs. Cathy O’Connor.  While funerals are very sad events, this one was different for me for some reason.  It truly was a celebration of her as a mom, a servant for the world, a wife and a friend.  My heart was happy in hearing Father Tom talk about her, about what it means to be a follower of Christ and how we have a choice:  We can choose to move on, live life and follow her lead and live joyful, serving lives.  Or we can die a bit, hide and be angry.  My prayers are for her family and friends to choose the former.  Mrs. O’Connor build her house on rock and the story of the Three Little Pigs will forever remind me of her and her family.  And then, to witness my best friend give her mom’s eulogy in such a real, humbling and brave way was truly a moment in time that will remain in my heart forever.  Love like you want to be loved.

Late afternoon on Tuesday I attended a Fast Company Creativity Sessionfor Chicago Ideas Week and was able to see  Doug Ulman, president & CEO of LIVESTRONG, Robin Willner, VP at IBM, Jeff Semenchuk, Chief Innovation Officer at Hyatt…and more.  I then trekked to a Time Magazine Innovation and Influence panel at Northwestern.  This was Brad Keywell interviewing Suze Orman (two thumbs down for her, no offense…she’s loud, instills fear, somewhat phony and has a distorted view of the world.  I’m sure you are probably thinking, “wow, Ann, tell us how you really feel!”  This obnoxious-ness was followed by a panel of incredible people including Michelle Rhee, Founder & CEO, StudentsFirst, and Rob Bell, author of Love Wins and Founding Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church

And yes, I was inspired.  But nobody could have followed Eileen’s words for her mom and the love that permeated all day among family and friends in Mrs. O’Connor’s honor.

Wednesday, October 12

  • 9am:  Live Social Media event for Chicago Ideas Week, LiveLab at Suite Partners:  how to get your fans to go from liking you to loving you.  Words can’t describe this session, but let’s just say it was a live taping, the next generation of social media and I felt like I was on the Jetson’s.  More to come on this.
  • 12 noon:  Lunch with dear friend Audra, amazing women and professional who works for Oprah Magazine.  Brainstormed on how to change the world.  I’ll vote it a success.
  • Work.
  • 4pm:  Great discussion with my boss [continuation of changing the world]
  • Work.
  • 7pm:  Intelligence Squared Debate live broadcast through NPR:  “Too Many Kids Go to College”  This was a great debate, two-on-two (for: Peter Thiel, PayPal co-founder, Charles Murray, author, against: Henry Bienen, President Northwestern University, Vivek Wadhwa, entrepreneur turned academic, reserach for Duke University and columnist for The Post and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.  After almost 2 hours, the audience voted and agreed with the ‘for’ team, too many kids DO go to college.  I know, sounds crazy.  But, you had to be there and frankly, the education system in America MUST change.

Thursday, October 13

  • Work
  • Lunch with dear friend, Vaneesha Pause.  Ahh, always learn and grow and feel lots of love with V!  [continuation of changing the world]
  • 4:3pm:  TEDx Midwest!  I will be doing a series of “TED Notes” as part of my blog to go deeper into who I heard, what I learned and how incredible TED is.  But to summarize, this first session was on Courage and 5 people talked:  Alison Levine, Jerry Mitchell, Kevin Bacon, Amory Lovins and Bill Strickland.  Brilliance, bravery and bold leadership.
  • 6:30pm – 8:30pm:  TEDx Networking.  Met some awesome people, had some wine and was definitely outside of my comfort zone, believe it or not.  Being in a room with hundreds of brilliant people is intimidating.  Everyone is doing something amazing and to have the privilege to meet and get to know some of them was very humbling.

Friday, October 14

9am – 6pm:  Full day of TED.  Sessions included Nature, the Future, From Fear to Love and Anything’s Possible.  Morning networking, noon networking and you guessed it, afternoon networking.  Talks on how to make the world suck less (literally was the name of his talk), the ridiculous humor of John Hodgman (“I’m A PC”), first-time powerpoint user, Wes Craven (Nightmare on Elm Sreet), inspiring talk from Paul Nicklen, National Geographic Photojournalist and more.  Minute by minute I felt more inspired, intelligent and confused, all at the same time.

6pm – 10pm:  United Way Women’s Leadership Council reception and dinner at The Pump Room and the Public Hotel.

10pm – 1am:  Intimate gathering at Nomi at Park Hyatt of amazing people like Mike Gogis, Lindsay Avner, JR Kerr and Jill Felska [continuation of changing the world].

Saturday, October 15

Rest. Time with Rick.  Reconnect with everyone I met this week.  Tommy and Charlene Lee’s wedding.

Sunday, October 16

Sleep.  Get caught up with life.  Church.  Grocery store.  J. Crew.  Run 4 miles.  3 loads of laundry.  Sprinkles Cupcakes.  Make dinner.  Prepare for wedding shower for dear friend Christina.  Blog.  Bed.

Monday, October 17

Work.  6pm guests arrive at my house for bridal shower.  Skinny Girl cocktails, amazing food, great conversations.  11pm minor meltdown with dear friend Vaneesha.  11:30pm bed.

Happy to report now that it is Friday, October 21,  I am recovered, I feel a little smarter and I feel VERY blessed to have met so many amazing new people.  I look forward to a low-key weekend with friends and family.  The End.

Life, Love and the Pursuit of Innovation.

This past week and this upcoming week have held and will hold very special places in my heart.  As I thought about what I would write about while reflecting on the past and preparing for this upcoming week, so many things came to me but a few resonated:  Life, love and the pursuit of innovation.

On October 5, 2011, the world was changed and hearts were heavy when Steve Jobs died.  No doubt, this was a day and a week a lot of us in the creative world will never forget.  But what I found to be interesting, sad and confusing, is during this same time, people close to me lost loved ones or are experiencing deep pain.  Grandparents, parents, siblings, friends.  And while their faces and names weren’t being tweeted about or blogged about like Steve Jobs, those people who have gone before us have DEEP meaning in the lives of my closest friends and therefore, deep meaning to me.  Fine, they didn’t create the iPhone, but they created family values like no other.  They loved and were loved by so many.  I prayed to God for those who were hurting to feel comfort.  That they would have time and space to mourn.  That those lost would be celebrated immensely.  I was reminded that this is life.  And it’s hard.  And this is what it means to live and to love.  Love does hurt (Nazareth was on to something).  And it reminded me of a famous quote that I firmly believe, “it is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all.”

When I thought about what it means to lose someone close to you, I came to this phrase over and over again.  A cliché, a literal understatement:  Life is short.  While I like to think I am not a cliché type of gal, in this case, I am.  And each day as I witness death, pain, depression, joy, success, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, showers, cancer, pregnancies, break-ups, proposals, sorrow, divorce and more, I say to myself, “life is short…LIVE IT and LOVE WELL!”  And a couple of ways I am living it is through my personal investment in learning as much as I can, realizing I am called to do more and to serve more and taking risks.  And lately, it has really been a personal pursuit of learning more in the space of innovation.  Thus, I have put myself out there and received positive responses so far (foreshadowing into future blogs…get excited).

  1. This was actually about 6 weeks ago, but I decided to apply to TED (you may remember from my previous blog, TED Talk Thursdays – An Ode to Jerry) and I was accepted.  I am beyond excited and the week has arrived…the reception kicks off Thursday night followed by an all-day TED series on Friday.
  2. As I continue to write, specifically for this blog, I grow deeper in love with writing and blogs. I am fascinated by them, I have grown a new appreciation and respect for them and I am HONORED when I get praises and accolades for my Ann written notes.  And thanks to Maggie Pierce, I have been approved as a guest blogger for a blog called My Super-Charged Life!  I wrote a unique piece, a personal piece, just for this blog and it goes live on Thursday, October 13.  I will share when it does but feel free to check out the site in the meantime 🙂
  3. As I was mingling a couple of Sundays ago after church at Park Cafe at Park Community Church, the infamous (or famous!) Mike Rolfes approached me and long story short, asked me to chair an event to raise awareness and money for Renew Chicago (soon to be renamed, more to come!).  I prayed, had lunch with him and am now humbled to say I will be chairing this event with the  main goal of helping the city of Chicago.  Period.  I have no idea how to chair an event.  I have never done it.  But with faith, God, my experience, my passion for the cause and a good sense of humor, I can only trust it will be a success (likely June of 2012, mark your calendars!).  And it has also been fun  to be a part of the branding and site design for this great cause…we all have gifts (in this case, 10 years of online marketing for me)…why not use them to help others?
  4. A friend of mine sent me a link to his friend’s new business venture (talk about social networking…jeez!), The Lime Tree, Chicago, in an effort of supporting and doing a little grass-roots marketing. Well, in addition to my immediate love for this site and product offering, I decided to apply for my travel photography to be sold on the site and it was approved!  Again, stay tuned, but in the coming weeks you will be able to purchase my shots on this amazing site!
  5. A great friend of mine is going through a season of her life where she needs help.  So this past weekend, I was able to babysit her two (very adorable and very entertaining) little girls.  If you can’t help a friend, who can you help?  And besides, I got to paint and talk about poop and Lady and the Tramp…who wouldn’t love that?!
  6. Chicago Ideas Week kicks off tomorrow!  A dear friend of mine, JR Kerr, informed me of CIW months ago and the minute he explained the concept, I was hooked.  And so I pursued a business partnership with Starwood and CIW and I personally signed up for some of their amazing talks, labs and events.  For example, tomorrow afternoon I will be at the Museum of Contemporary Art attending a session on Social Entrepreneurship.  Tomorrow evening I will be watching various mayors speak.  Tuesday I will be attending a creativity session by Fast Company.  Needless to say it’s going to be an amazing week from an innovation perspective.

So I as look back on these last couple weeks of life and what is to come, I am challenged to LIVE LIFE, to LOVE WELL and to PURSUE MY PASSIONS.  How can I invest in others?  How can I love Rick unconditionally?  How I can help friends and organizations with pure, selfless intentions (which admittedly, is not always easy)?  How can I take more risks?  As my great pastor says, it’s about living a life of credibility, not perfection.  And it’s about being available. 

In closing, I would ask you.  How are you living life, loving well and pursuing your passions on earth?

P.S. It comes as no surprise at all that literally as I was editing this blog my best friend, Eileen, called me.  Eileen, you are loved and I know God is hearing all the prayers.  Day by day, step by step.  Thank you for being my best friend, forever.

TED Talk Thursdays – An Ode to Jerry

I’m sorry, but any organization that has the name TED: Ideas Worth Spreading is clearly worthy of some recognition and an Ann Written Note.  Let me tell you about how I met this clever little organization called TED.  A little over three years ago, I was at a leadership conference with a colleague of mine named Jerry Ferguson.  Jerry is a special person and I love Jerry for many reasons, but a few really stand out.   First, he’s rarely – not to be confused with really – serious and in corporate America,  that’s very refreshing (and for all of you out there reading this who think he’s serious, game over, he has you fooled).  Second, he made me laugh every single day (he has since moved to NY to our corporate offices).  Third, while he may not have had great ideas every single day, there would be the day that he would say something brilliant while I would simultaneously be thinking, “it’s about freakin time.”  If you know Jerry, you know what I mean.  He’s patient and he will choose not to respond to an email, despite the red exclamation point and regardless of who it is from, until he has a thoughtful response.  And when the glorious day would come where Jerry would come into my office holding his grande Starbucks coffee, his black moleskin and perfect ballpoint pen (that I would always steal from him), sit down in his well-pressed pants he bought online and share something brilliant,  I cherished it.

Back to the conference he and I attended three years ago.  This conference is one of the most inspirational annual conferences out there in my humble opinion:  The Global Leadership Summit, founded by the Willow Creek  Association.  That was the first year I attended this and if I died tomorrow, my prayer would be that any and all leaders would attend the 2012 Summit.  I promise you will be rocked and moved and humbled and you will learn a robust amount of information, regardless of your 9-to-5 career.  Jerry and I learned a lot and it was fun to experience this with him as we had the same goal which was for us as individuals to develop as leaders and bring back 2-3 things to our team.  One of the things I learned was the extreme importance of reading (yes, I know you may be thinking, wow, Ann, that was what you learned?!  Just bear with me…).  There is a quote that I will butcher that my husband has taught me and it goes something like this.  All great leaders are readers but not all readers are leaders.  Three years ago at the 2008 Summit I was convicted of this exact point as I had been leading a team and pushing hard but all the while, I was the one who actually needed to walk the walk.  Or read a book.  Walking…reading…same difference.  And so I introduced Book Club to my team.  I figured if I needed to read more than they probably need to read more, too.  I’m sure they were thrilled.  And during the summit, Jerry and I had the pleasure of hearing Chip and Dan Heath speak so our first book of Book Club was Made to Stick.  Great book, btw.

After our second book of Book Club, I was graced with the glorious Jerry Starbucks brilliant idea moment in my office.

Jerry:  Ann, I have an idea.
Ann:  It’s about time, Jerry.  What is it?
Jerry:  TED Talk Thursday.
Ann:  Who is TED and what are you talking about?
Jerry:  Let’s take book club to the next level and start watching TED talks in the office.  You know, let’s go from Good to Great (second book we read for Book Club…another great read).
Ann:  I don’t get it.
Jerry:  I will send you one to watch and you will see.

Fast forward after I had watched a TED talk (or 4) and low and behold, TED Talk Thursdays started in our office.  Again, I am sure the team was thrilled 🙂 We would start at 8:30am, watch/listen to a talk (they are all no longer than 18  minutes) and then talk about it for 20-30 minutes.  Brilliant way to start a Thursday.  Free training, so to speak.  And a great way to encourage innovation and creativity in the workplace.

TED is, in Ann terminology, a genius platform founded by genius entrepreneurs, philanthropists, CEOs, etc. (Chris Anderson, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Meg Ryan to name a few) to allow for famous and average people alike to share their ideas.  In 18 minutes or less.  At an annual TED conference.  If chosen as having the best idea (not sure how that piece of it works), that lucky (and likely very smart and creative) person receives $100k and One Wish to Change the World.  Oh yeah, no big deal, just one wish to change the world.  A-mazing. And and no, Oprah is not part of this.  Click here if you want the real explanation of what TED is.

Ever since my first date with TED and trusting in Jerry’s brilliance, I have been totally inspired by the level of creativity and passion that human beings have.  The talks are about anything and everything, quite literally, and they are meant to be shared.  I am always challenged after listening and watching them.  I have anxiety and sometimes will actually sweat (exaggeration for increased engagement in my blog) while watching them because I am so freakin’ revved up and on fire and wanting to change the world.

As you could imagine, when I heard that TED was coming to Chicago in October, I started sweating again.  Who did I know that could get me a ticket to this conference to watch these amazing speakers?  Hmmm.  I wasn’t sure so I applied online like the rest of the desperate TED lovers, thinking, “this application is definitely going into a black hole and I MUST strategize on the whole it’s not what you know, it’s who you know life lesson.”  Well, ladies and gents, this past Sunday at 1:56pm, a little emailed popped into my inbox stating “TEDx Midwest Exclusive Invite – 25 World Class Speakers.”  It was like I received a winning lottery ticket.  I am completely honored, humbled and excited to attend this and I have Jerry Ferguson to thank for sharing with me his love for TED which turned into my own love for TED.  If you need me on October 13 or 14, I will be smiling like a dork at The Oriental Theatre in Chicago soaking in a ton of innovative talks and perhaps the next idea for Book Club for my office…or one idea to change the world.  Hey, go big or go home, right?!

For the record, we still do Book Club and TED Talk Thursdays in my office.

P.S. Send me a note if you want a recommendation on a talk to watch!

[photo credit:  http://www.ted.com]

Good Idea, Chicago. Now What?

Brad Keywell and I at Partner Event for Chicago Ideas Week

When I think of my childhood life in good old Ottawa, Illinois, a few key things stand out.  First, playing sports.  Riding my bike for 9:30am tennis every single day was painful, but the high (while sweating profusely and being angered at the ankle band exercise) on the courts was worth it.  And then there was Ruffles, my pseudo dog.  You see, my parents would never give in to my burning desire for a dog.  And one day, when I was maybe in 3rd or 4th grade, our neighbor, a kind, widowed man, came over to introduce us to Ruffles, the dog he just adopted from a local vet.  Ruffles was a mutt, my best friend, the greatest dog to live and the next best thing to having my own.  I maybe even hung out with him in his dog house once or twice (or around 50 times).  And last, Wheel of Fortune.  I know, I know.  It’s semi-pathetic the only three things that stand out from my childhood were tennis, a dog that wasn’t really mine and Wheel of Fortune.  People, it was Ottawa!  What can I tell you?!  Anyways, back to Wheel Watchin’.  My mom, to this day, watches Wheel of Fortune every single night.  And I remember so vividly sitting next to her, eating diet popcorn, watching Wheel of Fortune from 6:30pm – 7:00pm.  And while I don’t think that TV show made me smarter (I secretly only cared about Vanna’s dresses), I remember the “Same Name” category.  For example, “garlic and bench press.”  And the title of my blog is my best shot at the same name category from WOF.  Now, let me explain…

On Tuesday, September 13, 2011, a dream of mine came true.  I met, spoke with and got my picture with Brad Keywell.  Now, I know some of you may be thinking “who is Brad Keywell?”  And I know some of you may be thinking “wow, I would prefer Tom Cruise over Brad, but..”  And I know the rest of you are thinking “holy S&$#, that’s awesome.”  For the latter, I know, it’s awesome.  For the rest of you, Brad Keywell is the co-founder of Groupon (who turned down an offer for Google to buy Groupon for over $5 billion dollars about a year ago…ahem…yes, that’s a lot of money and yes, Brad is a pretty smart dude).  And oh, yes, it was Brad who was part of the Wrigley Building buy this past Monday.  No big deal.  But, one of the real reasons I admire and respect BK (I got my picture with the guy, I can give him a nickname, right?), is one of his recent endeavours, Chicago Ideas Week.  I live in the city of Chicago, I have passion for its well-being and there are big things happening here across all disciplines (technology, medicine, social good, innovation, the arts, etc.) that must be recognized.  So, leave it to BK and an amazing group of talented people to establish this organization and prepare for an amazing kick off week starting mid October where 100 brilliant speakers are coming in with Chicago’s best thinkers to create an ecosystem of innovation, exploration, and intellectual recreation.  Again, no big deal, right?  And yes, I would much prefer to meet and mingle with BK than TC.  Just sayin’…

And what else happened these last couple weeks?  Another incredible entrepreneur, based in L.A., who arguably should be in the same blog as BK (oh right, he is!), Charles Lee, just announced his book launch:  “Good Idea.  Now What?” (you can pre-order now, released this Spring).  This is a book that offers realistic advice on how to move your ideas to execution.  Readers will discover some of the essential values and principles that guide successful idea-makers, including the leveraging of mixed environments for creativity, working through resistance and setbacks, developing a practical plan for implementation that works, navigating collaborative opportunities, and communicating your idea to make it truly remarkable (source – Amazon.com). I met Charles in Chicago maybe a year ago and was honored to have spent time with him.  I remember my conversation ended up more like a monologue of me expressing some career and marketing challenges…and then some good ideation took place.  And speaking of ideation, Charles is also the brains behind Ideation – A Creative Agency based in L.A.  Just check out the home page of their site and you will see why this guy (and his team) kick some creative butt.

Chicago Ideas + Good Idea.  Now What? = Ann totally inspired, energized, challenged and a killer WOF same name. 

Kudos to the innovators out there that continue to inspire the world, one good idea at a time.  I appreciate your risk-taking, your thought-process and the fact that you stand for something you believe in.  BK, can’t wait for Chicago Ideas Week and all that’s to come thereafter.  Charles, looking forward to seeing you in Chicago again soon and reading your book in the Spring!

         

West Elm + 20×200.com Partnership = Awesome

Have you seen this?  Check it out, good stuff and I’m personally loving the increased collaboration across brands in the retail space (J. Crew + Converse, Banana Republic + Mad Men, Starbucks + Local and Up and Coming Artists, Lego + Disney, etc.).  Kudos to West Elm and 20×200.  Oh and if you haven’t heard of 20×200 and you happen to be an art lover (ahem, did I mention it’s CHEAP and GREAT art?!), it’s worthwhile for a site visit and likely a purchase.

[photo credit: www.westelm.com]

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