A Magnolia Moment and Waco Highlights

Is that house one of those “fixer uppers”?
You have heard that before.

So we know the “fixer upper” phrase was around before we knew of Chip and Joanna, but it’s safe to say that this amazing couple can take the credit for making it a household phrase again.


I had the pleasure to join my Sister Trina in Dallas this November. That is a whole other blog post on Dallas—we wrapped-up our Texas weekend with a quick trip down to Waco Texas to learn more about the Silos and be up-close with the Fixer Upper phenomenon.

Dallas is about an hour and half South drive on 35W E to the city of Waco which is a town of about 130,000 people.

Trina and I went straight for the Silos where they opened at 9 AM. (Note CLOSED on Sundays)

img_3619 img_0353-2 img_0368-2

The Silos really are huge! Growing-up in Minnesota we see silos from the roadside a lot, and they are usually painted or a boring solid color. The Magnolia silos rusted texture and authentic elements make you feel at home and is even better in person (than the show).

So when do we go inside the silos? You actually don’t go inside the Silos folks. Just for show—at least for now. 

Travel Tip: Bring a small tripod to do your own photo-ops without asking others who can’t focus or don’t understand the rule of thirds. This place is full of places to grab interesting angles and take pictures of you and your crew. (Or bring your talented Sister to take a few pictures of you with her lens)

img_3651 img_3664-2




Magnolia was buzzing by 10:30 AM with crowds appearing from everywhere. Mostly tourists but also saw locals heading towards the Silos Baking Company that was a newer addition the grounds to grab coffee and baked goods.

img_0078 img_0363 img_5336

Getting inside the Magnolia Market shop itself, we set aside a good 2 hours to allow for enough time to not feel rushed.

As you see the grounds is mapped in a beautiful way below:


A separate paint section in the lower level of the shop showed the details of the unique names of grays and a display that totally makes sense.

Can I bring a gallon of Sunday Stroll with me in my carry-on please?



Purchases included a few branded apparel items for ourselves and to gift, a bracelet and necklace and also a cute tin branded mug. #DemoDay shirt of course!

Travel Tip: Check prices online quick before arriving at the store.

The surprise? We were through the store in less than 35 minutes and that was even taking our time too!

The check-out lines weren’t super long, but can see that on its own on a busier time of day could be another 30 minutes easily. There was Christmas music playing and the start to the Holiday decor in early November when we were there.

We end our Magnolia tour with one more look throughout the gardens.

There are also a dozen or so food trucks that included pastries and sandwiches but we weren’t quite hungry yet, leaving the Silos at 11:30AM.

img_0381-2 img_0378 img_0376

Travel Tip: It seems really kid-friendly to be honest, space to run, things to eat. Bring them if you would like (or leave it adult-only) I didn’t see any wine bars or beer trucks.


img_0397And we were off with our smiles and goodies! Thanks Joanna for having us! 
A true success at the Silos! Definitely worth the trip and a great place to go back and see the changes and additions that Joanna Gaines does. Seriously—well done Jo Jo! 

I have seen every episode of the HGTV show Fixer Upper filmed in the Waco area and was confident with my Real Estate navigating skills that we would see a few Fixer Upper Homes…

Travel Tip: Finding the Fixer Upper houses themselves is way harder than imagined. There is a Waco Tour team now to find and point out the show homes and favorites. If you ask shop employees and random people on the streets about any “fixer upper homes” they won’t say a peep! Serious! So Waco Tours it is in 2017!

waco tour vanIn our case we had just 4 hours to see everything so the tour wasn’t quite the right fit. Fun branding though on the tour bus parked outside of the Silos.

While navigating through Waco in our Eco-friendly rental car, snapped a few pictures of a few homes that made sense to be close runner-ups on the show, or are part of Season 4 or 5? Chip what do you think?

img_1527 img_4464

Many small businesses like this around Waco including Jail Bond places next to homes.


Cute porch and I can see the potential on that curb appeal.

img_5277 img_5981 img_5770

Below, remember that custom door? Look familiar anyone? This WAS on the HGTV show!

img_1814 img_3212It was our friend Clint from Harp Design’s house and shop! They are right next to each other.
We were impressed by the small unique items and approachable prices on his wooden items. Since we were traveling we didn’t leave with a chair or heavy cutting board, but loved the idea of the store open to the public. We highly recommend a drop by, make sure to check their hours first.
We didn’t see Clint working but for sure a handful of employees in the back.


We headed over to the Findery which has been featured on the show. It’s just a hop away from the Silos. No need to re-park on this one.

Trina and I could have spent another hour at the Findery, that store was a place that just kept on giving, we were also looking for Felix the November Elf on the shelf too for a $20 gift card towards our purchases.

img_7713 img_3852 img_1556

The second level of the Findery picture above.

Now we had an appetite folks! Where we going y’all? 

We did try to get to a few more local favorites but Mondays many restaurants were closed. So we walked across the alley to the Backyard from the Findery. It was fine for a cold brew and some fried food before heading back on the road. Nothing to tweet about but worked for us!



With only 30 minutes left in Waco (before we had to head back to catch out flights—seriously we had it timed out) we made it to the Magnolia Realty office South West of town. On the way there we found a few more higher-end neighborhoods but didn’t spot a Fixer Upper episode star.



My impression of the real estate office was under-whelming. I did notice the small design touches that made this very corporate office feel a bit more on-brand.

While visiting the restroom at the real estate office, spotted the Bed and Breakfast friend that was featured on the episode when Joanna and Chip created the Magnolia bed and breakfast. BTW fun fact as of December 2016—The Magnolia House itself has been booked through June 2017 at 1,295 per night with 2 night minimum. #GoodForThem


I also had the pleasure to chat with the Magnolia Realty brand manager and talk shop with a Minnesota img_5393connection, agent and my referral to Waco, Hesper Cordero. Overall the real estate in Waco is booming and the Magnolia Fixer Upper fans do stop-in for homes for sale (not often at the office itself) but there is a bit of science between vetting out real buyers from tourists. People are re-locating to Waco overall though (like Hesper did for her husband’s job) and there are a lot more suburbs that I forgot about, even more than from the show!

As the rain kept coming down, Trina texted we better head back to Dallas to catch our flights.


A SUCCESSFUL 5 hours in Waco!
#MilesToMagnolia 1,072 miles for me from Eden Prairie, Minnesota
and 1,474 miles for Trina from LA.


Thanks for stopping-by and taking in some Waco and the Silos with me,
Tricia Jo on the Go

Credits and links for additional information on travels and sights:

Magnolia Market
Harp Design Co
Magnolia Realty
The Findery Store in Waco
Bed and Breakfast by Joanna
Waco Texas Tourist Guide FAQ
Five O Seven Photo Studio by Trina


Who’s ready for a Kitchen remodel blog post?

Many of you know, as a first-time home buyer selecting your home, (almost) everything needs to feel perfect, the curb appeal, neighborhood, the master bedroom size, your closet, the outdoor space—but in my case that kitchen did NOT cut it.

Steve and I waited until 1 year after owning our home to gather the right plans, data, specs and funds to start on our kitchen project.


Roll those

Vision pictures please

from my Pinterest… throw me a follow



Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 7.05.54 PM


Of course, curiosity of our SpaceCrafters

Kitchen before on hawthorne before 2 before


I mean, we like bowling alleys, but this was a bit too extreme. I still remember when the real estate agent showing me the home said, “Well these look new, they look gray from afar and are kind of neutral”.


A good friend, had told me before buying the home, do not start one room without having another room be fully finished.

We were prepared to not use our kitchen for 4-6 weeks, OK maybe even 2 full months (we don’t have any pets or kids, so going out to eat is our thing).
So we gave ourselves 1 year after our closing to prepare, save and plan. Then when October 2015 came around …on the 19th the wall came down, literally. 


I wasn’t aware of the exact #demoday until I walked in from work early to this.


IMG_6724 IMG_6725

excited little girl

Clearly I had been waiting to take that wall down for a long time!



It was clear to us early on, we would not be doing everything ourselves. We did try to learn from Home Depot, Menards, tradeshow booths (too many of those) and it came to picking out materials and designs ourselves, then let the experts install, wire, place etc. I mean come on, we are a Millennial couple both with full-time jobs, volunteer in our community and have our share of good friends.

Our plan was to do nothing to the kitchen ceilings though, to AVOID adding an additional layer of cost. That eliminated some of my projects that dealt with lighting and beams, however we did make some incredible alterations to save.

So we are started testing out counter sizes.

Kitchen Goals:

  • MORE counter-space
  • MORE storage, particularly getting the pots and pans OUT of the plastic round-about in the corner
  • BAR / entertaining space with at least 2 person seating




For countertops and the sink we used Bob’s Wood Specialities in Burnsville, after bidding out over 5 different big and small companies. Bob’s is a locally-owned company and the Son ended up coming by to help measure the first time.


We used a LOT of blue tape to create the custom island this MN Design Gal had in her head and Bob’s had to make it come to life through their work.



The cabinets themselves were ordered during the 11% Menards sale. Most cabinet brands have every few months a sale of 10-15% off. If you aren’t in a hurry, shop and wait.

Reminder if you want those soft closing slider drawers and garbage pull-outs, they are CUSTOM CABINETS.
You can buy inserts for in-stock cabinets that could work OK, but we wanted this to be seamless and work well for our everyday use. REMINDER to allow 4-6 weeks for cabinets to come in. So once that wall came down, we had to order quickly to keep up with our 2 month timeline…

RANDOM ADDITION TO THE KITCHEN PROJECT—this appeared to be something we wanted to fix after thinking of the potential elevating the use and appeal of the storage area. It also is the 1st thing you see when walking in the house from our garage.

before cabinet area

With a few measurements, and having to let the custom wine shelving go bye-bye…we decided to purchase the Menards’ cabinets for that area as well.


Be aware, cabinets come in huge boxes!

I guess fun for Kids later—we just had them flat in our garage for well, weeks!



Pardon the mess.

Did I mention that all items need to be removed from the lower cabinets when you have countertops done?

IMG_7167 IMG_7164

A little bit of configuring happening here.


With countertops planning, they will come to measure (after your cabinets are mounted properly to the floor.)

IMG_7389 IMG_7388

In your Kitchen remodel, did you check your dishwasher and how that is mounted between the floor and countertops?

In our case, our 1992 dishwasher had the original flooring underneath, so it wasn’t the same level as the kitchen floor which is marble. So meanwhile, the dishwasher quoted-out—so we bought new and raised the dishwasher so it could be pulled out in the future for repairs and friendly new owners of our home in 2021. 😉


Notice above, the existing cabinets has filler wood, that we painted white later.

TIP: paint the filler wood BEFORE installing the countertops.

Filler wood (or just filler) is there so there isn’t a gap between the NEW and OLD cabinets. Seamless transition countertops.


To the left, the final design of the custom eat-in bar with more storage underneath provided by Bob’s.

Did you notice in our Kitchen we have 2 large windows behind the sit-in area?
That is why it was tricky from the start.


Meanwhile, remember the additional storage project? Steve had the brilliant idea to cut the wall to have an easier transition from the garage to the kitchen. It opened it up again about 20% and was worth the $400 investment.



IMG_7752Steve did agree to put the Menards’ very trendy Leather color tile up (bought them with the 11% fill your bag sale folks)—the day before we were having a Kitchen-Warming-Party (so serious) Just so you know, he had 3 weeks folks to start and finish and instead decided to wait until the day before. #TrueStory

He did pick the peel and stick, but they do not warn you, that you need the proper tools to CUT the glass.

Just think about that one for a minute.


Notice the working glasses! Great job babe! 
IMG_7935Did Steve get the backsplash done in time for the party?

What did the Kitchen project look like in the end?

Did the couple regret using any of their materials or vendors?

Stay tuned for Part II to the Kitchen Blog Post.

Got to run and take my Real Estate Exam test. (For real wish me luck folks).  

Always thinking,
Tricia Jo





The last two years I have immersed myself in cereal boxes, dog food brands, k-cups, beanbag chairs and talented creative people.

My final days at Kick I reflected on the learning of packaging re-brands, new product development and successful account strategy.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 11.38.26 AM

Rewarding? So much!

I have been able to help the local Minneapolis nonprofit People Serving People have a brand refresh and strategic website approach to spotlight their amazing mission. Kick was able to lead an online and social media audit to help craft messages, which led to revamping the newsletter and many collateral items. We introduced Jay Larson to this nonprofit as the lead photographer to stock-up their high quality images that showed emotion and breath of services. It makes me smile and understand how important it is to do awesome things for incredible local nonprofits.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 11.39.13 AM

Bone Broth anyone?

Changing the way the consumer drinks from their Keurig machine, along with the innovative-fresh shelf appearance made Lono Life one of my favorite clients going into the second half of my Kick career.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 11.38.56 AM

Every wanted to own an Emoji Bean Bag?

Emoji Time

Kick led the naming, branding, all online engagement, web and community management for this Walmart exclusive brand.

  • 6 week launch = over 15K likes and active community engagement
  • Reaching close to 500K people
  • With 62K total post engagement increasing week after week
  • Our posts are getting 30 shares organically on average // Most Facebook pages at 3-5 share on a post
  • Average “LIKE” price is at 7 cents // the industry average can be 90 cents to well-over one dollar
  • Product continues to sell reaching over a million dollars

Emoji picture

Did I mention I met Lucky Dog’s host Brandon McMillian while at Kick?

I attended a handful of out-of-state pet conferences that featured the best brands in all things pet food, pooper-scoopers, training balls, collars, toys and so much more. I also met a lot of awesome entrepreneurs and brand marketers.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 11.39.28 AM

Did you know my 2nd week at Kick I visited a Dog Bone Manufacturing plant in California?

I learned about the process of making dog bones from human-grade materials also about the entire packaging process on the assembly line. This was in result to better lead a few dozen of bone projects and brand strategies for private labels and new brands that went into SuperValu, Target and Walmart.


Did you know that I was part of more photo shoots starring dogs than for products or humans?

I have made so many furry friends and collaborated with amazing clients the past two years that I just had to show a few of them.


On-location in Wisconsin with Cargill client. We had a great day with over 15 animals on-set!




IMG_5790 IMG_5142


IMG_2192IMG_2333IMG_0135 dog_photos

Remember next time you pick up your favorite product, there is a full team behind the design and brand strategy.

I am thankful for my years at Kick—Mary and Stefan seeing something in me to help continue to grow their business and partner with their amazing clients.

Need a shelf-kicker idea? Call Mary and Stefan from Ideas that Kick of course!


Until we meet again…more to come!
Tricia Jo 




#32under32 event director experience

#32UNDER32 Opening Film // Minneapolis, MN from acowsay on Vimeo.

Opening film premiered at the May 28th #32under32 awards.

Since December, this Minnesota Design Gal had been planning for the 3rd Annual 32 under 32 community event. This event was founded by an Ad 2 MN volunteer—with a new idea, the right plan, right volunteers and American Advertising Federation (Ad Fed), this community awareness event became a reality!

Accepting the challenge, I made sure to strategize the goals of the event as I knew this year’s focus would be AWARENESS.

The 2nd year I was honored to receive the 32 under 32 award where I found myself not only being congratulated but also educating people about what the award was.


The best part about leading nonprofit work is recruiting a team of people who you want to know better and are more talented than yourself. That empowered me to reach out to several creative and marketing folks of which I had successful past experiences with, along with a few new eager minds, to create this powerful planning crew for the 3rd annual event.

Sponsorship is the most intimidating role in any nonprofit work because it means you are knocking on doors and asking for, well, dollar bills. My approach this year while spreading the word about the event and award, was to gather influential interesting brands to supply messaging, goods, decorations and give-a-ways for guests.woodchuckIMG_6957



11312637_986381814728827_5574797207792454698_oThe sponsorship break-down included adding a dessert bar from Mall of America, Catalyst Group creating custom boxes of mints and custom designed name tags, Woodchuck wood-stuff which included custom judge thank-you notebooks and event give-a-ways, KIND Snack bags for 32 winners and judges, Creative Circle for an interactive Photo Booth and contribution to event dollars, Red Stamp winner discounts and SOTA clothing for event-day prizes photography branding. Acowsay digital owner, Tyler was part of the planning crew but he also sponsored with his valuable behind the camera time and mad-digital production skills. Again, thanks to these powerful community names for being part of the entire experience—wouldn’t have wanted to do it without you!

Taking on the Director of this not for profit community event, I knew the event itself would need to be elevated—who wants to come to an event, see that you don’t get the 32 honor and pay $40 to go home with empty stomachs and empty-handed… #notcomingbacknextyear

After touring and seeking out venues for longer than my agenda had planned, I landed on the Minneapolis Event Centers (MEC) and worked with the wildly talented Wendy. The team negotiated the entire event timeline, a welcome-cocktail, special beer price (that matters), rentals and food—MEC would be introduced to many influential advertising professionals, so this helped with our small budget. MEC was even spotlighted as a sponsor for their incredible added-value lighting, tech support and stage excellence.

Red carpet? Of course! It’s all about experience!11417771_986378801395795_5862668234762296448_o




In the 2 years prior, there were 5-6 judges with a range of experience and industry focus. I interviewed a few of the past judges to ensure the process for the 3rd annual event would be improving. The entire nomination process was streamlined to be better for judging and elevate most efficiently for quality nominations, rather than the not serious contenders.

I secured 6 inspiring leaders that ranged from Director of Project Management, Strategic Account, Start-up CEO, Content/Copywriting agency owner, Digital Production Creative Director and introduced Public Relations.

The overall judging process entailed verifying the identities of each nominee and nominator, compiling and calculating the judges’ grading sheets and the facilitation of the in-person judging day. The process solidified it is fair and it works to select the top 32.




The 32 honorees of the 2015 award are people who I aspire to be; their backgrounds and proven forward-thinking are incredible. Being able to reach out to them individually was important to me as the event Director—I also realized that I did not have all their emails. A learning for future years is to include a field for the nominees’ email in the nomination form. #ItsCrunchTime

Securing the proprietary URL and designing 32under32.com to be used in the future was a successful outcome—one of my magic 3 goals. The Copywriter and Web Manager worked closely to quickly execute the best messaging and organize the content that made most sense for our busy-career-focused audience. It was designed in under one month for the February 1st nomination window to open.


The user-generated content, for the introduction video, was something that Tyler from Acowsay Digital and I knew we were taking a chance on. We had set our goal of 20 people to submit a selfie video while answering questions provided to them. We had 40 nominees that sent multiple selfie clips to be added to the final video that was revealed at the event as opening film! #youknowwhoyouare

Creating sharable event materials that can be used to market the event in the future was part of the magic 3 and with Tyler’s talents and help from volunteers and 32 Alumni Cory Vandenberghe, Alison Beattie, Aneela Kumar, Sarah Edwards and Danny Olson, we made it happen with two 30-second spots. View those videos on Ad Fed MN YouTube Channel.


Set-up before the event. Ready for the 7:15 ceremony!

Who wants to plan an event—then no one shows up?!

Communication and PR planning are key to a successful event because of the many moving parts involved. Our team found that it worked well being organized up-front and drafting the event communication summaries following with the customization of content for each channel. We also had a Google Doc with a social calendar and plenty of unique graphics to share. Starting the 32under32 Gmail worked well for one main outreach email for nominees and nominators, then Ad Fed MN filtered questions from the website and registration. Continuing to add new outreach and PR ideas, while remaining flexible is mandatory.

Social media was buzzing #32under32 throughout the planning sessions and we made hundreds of impressions when the nominations went public through local media help.

The BIO’s of the honorees at the event were told in 2 facts and 1 tail — tweets were deployed tagging the place of work and nonprofit organizations while the honorees’ BIO was read by our fabulous MC, Laura Fitzpatrick. Laura kept our attention and made us laugh while talking about Beyonce back-up singers, George Clooney wedding crashers and 90’s trend-setters… #nailedit


cheers_to_thatIn summary, the #32under32 director role was a super experience to learn more about myself and take on an entire judging process from start to finish (and we know that finish doesn’t just mean up to the event).

As I move forward with other community initiatives and creative impactful projects, I look forward to the future years of #32under32. There are endless possibilities, every year will improve and be different. The best event advice I have is to experiment and improve the process always, remember in volunteer-work that as leader you have to keep people’s attention, inspire them and empower them and keep your director goals to 3 magic ideas…

  • Build awareness in the community – video promotion, sharable social graphics etc check!
  • Launch 32under32.com – align structure for future event years
  • Elevate the event experience

Keep pushing to be a better you,
MN Design Gal – Tricia

Photo credits to: Jay Larson, Heather Hanson, Cathleen Olson, Snap Yourself 

Happy Hallotweet!

Pumpkin carving Saturday Night.

Print out your favorite icon or logo and show your individual pumpkin pride! Simply tape on the logo and prick holes outlining the carving line. Pull off the logo and hollow out your pumpkin then carve the logo following your front pricking lines.

An Air Force logo for a Loadmaster’s Mother, Kitty Cat for a young Kate, 1 D for a boy’s band 10 -yr old lover, Mustache ride pumpkin for a college gal and Twitter icon for a social marketer.


Notice the kitty-cat whiskers? Find some simple things around the house to add to your pumpkin.









Happy creative pumpkin carving!

Quick 10 on our Door County Road Trip

1 car
2 people
3 bags on board
4 minutes to see that sunset
5 hours to Green Bay
6 dollars for hash brown sandwich breakfast
7 percent alcohol in local porter brew
8 dollar beers at Lambeau Field
9 miles of walking in door county
10 stops along the coast



20121001-122034.jpgStop in Brussels for the original Hasbrown Sandwich.









Packer Game on. My hand bag turned into my green and gold pride!





Night 1 Stayed at Aloft Green Bay
– Highly Recommend! Modern, easy access to Green Bay game spots and close to downtown.

Night 2 Stayed at Bailey’s Harbor Waterfront Resort – Great place to stay for more than 1 night. Get the waterfront view and the sunset picture will be yours too. Indoor and Outdoor pool is nice but never used.

Happy Fall traveling!


Nacho Mama

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13. That means your mom, any new mothers, (including three of my best gal pals and their 3 sons) should be celebrated all the way up to those hip-old Grannies, (my Nanny Carole and Nanny Joan of course).

my mom on the lake

My Mom Candee with her daughters Trina (My younger sisters) and Me

To follow-up on my May Day Basket social post for the Cedar Floral Design Studio. By the way, did you LIKE them yet? They are at 32 Likes just 5 days after delivering the May Day baskets to total of 12 local businesses resulting in a possible 32,000+ impressions.
The Like stat is a bit lower than what I had expected, but for a small locally owned flower shop this is very good. Lets face it, I’m not working on a National brand right? Now that we have hit past 30 Likes, Facebook activates the insights panel. That means one can now get all nerdy with the insights, impressions and amount of reach including an analyse of the demographic that is currently Liking the page. Waiting at least 1 week to generate the insights works best, and even 1 month is even better.

Facebook Live Comments So remember your MaMa on Sunday, a new Mother (whom could even be your wife) or that is a friend or family member and to share the love with not only flowers (from Cedar Floral Design Studio) but to make them feel special and thank them for their hard-work and love.

nacho mama,
your mn design gal 

Not a Mother- they aren't mine

Steve and Kael (3 weeks old), Caden (6 mos old) not my kids- my best friend’s boys.

Spring in New York

There is nothing better then New York City in the Spring! Summer Fashion trends are in full force and the flowers only add that needed splash of Spring color. Can you spot the main trends of the season? Shared are also just some of the favorite tourist attractions with first time New Yorker Steve. Enjoy your Spring New York trip through this gal’s lens.
















Go and book your next trip! I got mine on my mind- San Fran!?

Your Traveling Gal,

OLSON, Best Buy and #Trends – Oh my!

Being on the go is something I am very used to putting many things on my plate including volunteering for nonprofits, keeping up with the digital and creative trends and currently looking for a JOB all while trying to maintain some sort of personal life-family-friends and maintain and grow my network. The average MN gal right?
In just 1 week, I had participated and learned about 3 totally different topics in 3 totally different locations. Let me share.

OLSON: Ford Center: Ryan Murray Photo

Ryan Murray Photo: Ad 2 Olson

Starting off with the last Ad 2 agency event of the season! The Ad 2 Programs event I have planned and dreamed about for the MSP community for a while. It was at OLSON in their new space at the newly remodeled Ford Center Building in Minneapolis. 260+ pre-registered attendees making it the most pre-registered and attended Ad 2, Ad Fed event thus far (not counting the SHOW folks). The hands-on tour given by OLSON employee volunteers started the night off was a great way to greet guests entering on the 10th floor. Then moving to the 9th where there was much to taste and drink and of course people to network with. The agency has the 7,8,9 and 10, while 6th they share but have a fabulous photo studio in. Christina Clawson, Senior Brand Manager at OLSON, and I had known each other for handful of years and been planning this event for almost 3. Knowing the space would be a great way to bring the Advertising community in to enjoy, learn and explore.
Interactive Director and Vice President Paul Ratzky got to share some great influential case studies that have paved OLSON to be one of the top agency’s.

OLSON: Ad 2 : Ryan Murray Photo

OLSON : Ad 2 Ryan Murray Photo

OLSON Speaking : Photo by Heather Rudloff


Full House I snapped after giving opening announcements.

A unique piece of this event was the portfolio reviews that were going on for anyone that had signed-up ahead of time where 6 OLSON creative were giving one-on-one reviews for 15 minutes. This is another way Ad 2 has put the plug into education and also being different within our programs. Thanks Olson!

I announced to the 200+ guests about our 1st Place National Award that American Advertising Federation had rewarded Ad 2 with for the 2011-12 Programs. It was another way to create awareness of the National partnership with have with AAF and Ad 2.

The night ended up a quick clean-up by a few savvy volunteers including creative director and past Internship hirer Randall Herrera, then over for a few celebratory drinks next door at Darby’s. Cheers to a successful night!


@mndesigngal Instagram

The weekend of Easter had approached and I found myself with 1200+ ultra-cool-geeks including developers, programmers, designers and IT influentials at the minne*bar conference at the Best Buy Headquarters. I arrived early to make sure to get my trendy t-shirt and began the day with a presentation on fundraising in Minnesota. It gave me insight on Angel funding, crowd funding and start-up funding in general. Also advice such as, “sell to your family but never sell the control of your company to them”, (at least not right away).

Above is a @mndesigngal Instagram from the day

What's Your Why

I then moved to a segment on “What’s Your WHY?” which involved reflecting on oneself’s track through childhood goals to current job’s and the combining of them. Also a super great topic of why culture creates a sustainable competitive advantage.
A past Apple employee spoke about working on the same team as Steve Jobs and even asked us the question “When did the first iPhone come out?” —- Do you know? 2007! It’s strange because you think it’s like 2001 or something, but that is what is so great about technology, we ask why then there is change and innovation happens.


Can you Read This?

Can you read this? I can. So strange how our mind works even online now.

I then met Drew Fleck who presented a segment on Expanding your Entrepreneurial Social Capital. He hit it home for me on this topic; not only learning more about location and the diversity of groups but taking it to the next level in evolving one’s network. I ended up having lunch with Drew and got to learn even more one on one.

The Day wasn’t even half over yet after those 3 sessions! What was pretty ironic was being at Best Buy then just a few days later… Brian Dunn CEO of Best Buy resigns. It has nothing to do with me I swear.


Then the week wrapped-up with an amazing Ad Fed breakfast speaker from JWT New York, Ann Mack. She shared with nearly sold-out event, the Top 10 Trends for 2012. She did stress that trends can be shaped, and that these were from her perspective.

Here are my brief notes and the exciting TOP 10:

1. Navigating the New Normal
Smaller Scales… such as 50cent bubblegum and affordable clothling from high-end designers

2. Live a Little
Without giving up a lot.

3. Generation Go
Redefining what success is. (Was she talking to me directly here?)

4. The Rise of the Shared Value
Drivers: Opportunities in growth can be found in problems of needs.

5. Food as the new Eco-Issue
Fans of the part-time diets, “Meatless Mondays”, Vegan until 6pm etc.
Chipotle commercial— who has seen it?

6. Marriage Optional
60% of Bachelor degrees are Women. The new thought of test-driving a marriage for two years. (For real) More marketing is being done to the single woman.

7. Reengineering Randomness
People don’t want to be told- they want to discover.
Brands such as : Livingsocial “infuse the new”, daily lives, Lollihop and pop-up stores.

8. Screened InteractionsTweets Touch screens have been tapping into our lives slowly… ATM’s to… Bus stops, retail stores and more.

9. Celebrating Aging
Marketers need to look at the life-stage rather then the age of the consumer.
You have the right to be young at any age.

10. Objectifying Objects
CDs, Cash, a book… don’t need them anymore but something about holding it can be a status symbol.
Vinyl records seen a 41% increase in sales over last year!


What can I say? A busy gal likes to keep a busy mind. Can’t believe I had to put these 3 very large and influential events into one post. But this gal is busy, and I will continue to write in 12 PT for you like I have promised.

Your MN Design Gal and so much more!

Instagram follower

1 word: mono

Many of us have been in Uptown and walk by a really cool looking blue door and wonder what is inside. Some may try to open it thinking it’s a new trendy little shop, other may look inside the window to find nothing but a large black staircase and a really cool tall-person made motorcycle.

Mono_doorLast night, Ad 2 members and friends got to experience mono and what happens behind the blue door.

With over 100 attendees and several walk-ins, this unique agency let us rowdy ad folk come and learn a bit about their work, space and who they really are. The keg was tapped and included Blue Solo cups (duh) and red and white wine along with a variety of after work appetizers, that of course I didn’t get to try. Why is when hosting events you never get to go pee or eat anything? 

mono’s co-founder and owner Michael Hart got everyone’s attention by banging on a beer glass and lead the night away with being genuine, funny and quite charming without trying. Of course I had to bring to their attention after his announcement the very large “Best in Show” award that they won on November 11, 2011 from the Ad Fed advertising awards aka the Addy’s.

There were 5 rooms with different speakers on case studies from Blue Dot to Virgin and the crowds made their way in to listen, question and enjoy.

Anne Mahoney (now Deanovic) and I had been planning this little get together since this summer actually. She wasn’t familiar with how the events went, but she surely nailed it with the casual atmosphere and the challenge of space that could have arrived. The fire alarm was only going off just for a few minutes before the crowd came and luckily no police or escorts needed to arrive.

blue solo cup

Instagram @mndesigngal

The kegs were gone at 7:30; which meant that it surely was a good time had by all.
Being able to come into an agency, approach then with an idea and get them excited about hosting people they don’t know and have it all be taken place in their house, can be a challenge, but once again a thrill and enjoyment. Shout-out help: also from Zach Zutler our Ad 2 membership chair (and a friend of mine who used to tend bar together back in the day) who interned at mono and then was hired!

Another successful event. [Check]

Thanks to Jay Larson and Sunny Chang for having their lens with them. Along with my random twitter friends and members with their #ad2mono tweets and mentions. Ad 2 volunteers Anita, Matt and Tim for ID’ing and being yourselves.

See you at Olson April 5th, this event has been in the making since my first year as Programs Director for Ad 2 back in 2008. (For reals)

Keep networking your little hearts out,

Job leads from last night? Yes. One really good one. Are you reading this? I can start April 9, better yet I can start April 2 and be trained in that first week in April.
Also another surprise visit by a social media manager who I have been talking with and admire, I hear he likes cats though.