personal growth

Much like the flowers in the field or the shrubs nestled neatly in a row, we are purposefully planted. There is a reason for our being. Acknowledging that thunderstorms happen and enduring the lightning is often frightening, but ever so important. The sun will always emerge, and we will have been strengthened by the experience. We should embrace the opportunity to grow our roots and bloom where we are planted.


rise & shine juice

Rise & Shine Juice
1/2 honeycrisp apple
1/2 bosc pear
1/2 lemon (rind included)
2 carrots
1 T white Health Warrior chia seeds

Run all fruits and vegetables through the Omega juicer.
Add chia seeds to the juice, stir and refrigerate for 5 minutes.


brand love

Curating a few of my favorite lovemarks on this 2013 Valentines Day.

Westhampton Bakery captured by Merriment Events


5th annual cookie exchange

Thank you to Harrison Gregory at the Richmond Times-Dispatch for featuring my recent cookie exchange in the Celebrations Section (Smart Cookies: A new twist on a holiday tradition). It is a wonderful annual celebration of creativity and food and I am very grateful to the friends and family who make it a worthwhile event.

From top: 1) This year I wanted to do something a little different with the cocktails and decided to serve them out of the bottles themselves. I was able to dress up pretty little gift tags from Anthropologie with mini glittered pine cones and jingle bells in order to use them as drink name tags. 2) Partridge in a Pear Tree (developed by my mother Karen Kelley) 1/3 pear vodka + 1/3 white cranberry juice (private label brand available at Martin's) + 1/3 Northern Neck ginger ale + cinnamon stick for spice and garnish. Birch paper straws from Mongrel. 3) Naughty 'Nog 2/3 Homestead Creamery Eggnog (available at Whole Foods) + 1/3 Bulleit bourbon. 'Santa wants a cocktail' napkins are from Mongrel in Carytown.  I found the cocktail glasses for 50 cents a piece at the Good Samaritan thrift store in Southside Plaza. 4) Poinsettia Punch 1/4 St Germaine elderflower liquoir + 3/4 Prosecco (you can find inexpensive brands at Trader Joe's). Tinsel cocktail stirrers are from Target. 5) A grilled cheese bar was a fun way to put a 'do it yourself' spin on a traditional treat. Cheeses included: brie, white cheddar, pimiento cheese, blue cheese, Gouda and Jarlsberg. Toppings included: Smithfield country ham, maple turkey, baby arugula, comice pear, honeycrisp apple, wickles, pimientos, cranberry relish, cherry butter, spicy mustard, stone ground mustard. Bread served: sourdough, multigrain, pumpernickel and challah. 6) Whenever I go to the deli counter at Martin's, I always ask for the 'saltiest ham they have'. Chances are it's going to be a Smithfield brand. 7) Virginia coal cookies, powering Santa's naughty list for 100+ years. 8) Sheldon's red velvet whoopie pies were not only beautiful but delicious. 9) Ibbie's Peppermint Bark was the perfect addition to the exchange. 10) Mom outdid herself as usual with Grandma's Sunset Cookies in two new versions, Lavender and Peppermint. 11) Amy and I welcoming Santa (aka Dad) to the celebration. 12) Austin, me and Dad 13) My lovely coworker friends Jillian, Jamie, Katie and Katie.


fall 2012

As we enter into a new Season of 2012, I thought that I would share some of the things that are inspiring my outlook on life. Ladylike and neutral with a penchant for the past, items of pink and gray with touches of black and gold are taking the lead.

From top: 1) vintage Marie Antoinette printed in German, 2) Christian Dior blush, 3) geode cuff from Bergdorf Goodman, 4) Pink Tartan grey dress, 5) Anthropologie necklace, 6) Alexander McQueen skull-print scarf, 7) 3.1 Phillip Lim Esther oxford pump, 8) vintage Luray Caverns matchbook, 9) Pinky botanical vodka, 10) lavender cocktail syrup, 11) stripey straws, 12) edible glitter, 13) Kate Spade NY Fair Harbor Oyster Collection, 14) Chanel Coco Noir, 15) Martha Stewart Weddings pink & gray suite.


castle hill cider


West of Richmond and slightly East of Charlottesville, Castle Hill Cidery is one of the several emerging hard cider brands in Virginia. They use two methods of production: hard pressed and kvevri. Kvevri, an ancient style of wine production with terracotta vessels, is a painstaking and slow process that produces a premium champagne-style cider product. The grounds and structures are gorgeous and have been well-designed to accommodate both day trips and formal affairs alike.

From top: 1) the entrance to Castle Hill Cider, 2) the stately and well-preserved barn at Castle Hill, 3) Castle Hill Cider tasting room, 4) the Castle Hill brand is promoted similarly to a French-style cider in wine glasses versus a traditional English-style cider, which would be served in pint glasses, 5) Sissy, 6) James, 7) the kvevri yard, 8) James revealing the inside top of a kvevri vessel.

Here is a map I created of current and emerging Virginia hard cider brands: Virginia Cider Trail.


creativity for president

A brand is a calculus, the sum of which fluctuates depending on a consumer's interaction with it (O'Keefe). A brand manager is responsible for building or reducing infrastructure to implement change around the 5 P's; position, product, price, place, promotion. A consumer is also a content creator.

Our next President needs to recognize voters as content creators. He or she needs to be a better brand manager, not for his or her own personal brand, but for the USA brand. During the presidential race, the candidates needs to clearly define the current state of the USA brand and which pieces of infrastructure he or she would build or reduce to implement change. The earlier that the candidate can build a vision for cross functional partners (ie voters), the better the chance that the vision will be implemented. I highly doubt that any of the candidates are listening to me; however, I thought that I would offer some free advice from the perspective of a brand manager, just in case.


The most creative nation in the world.

Creativity is neither Democratic nor Republican. Creativity is American. Creativity is also a currency right now. Just look at the value that Facebook placed on Instagram ($33 per user). The candidates need to inspire all individuals to feel like they have the capacity to create more than they are creating right now. After all, it's the collection of little business owners who pursue their dreams that will put the economy back on track.


Intellectual Capital

A vehicle and a computing device are relatively similar things. They take you from point A to point B. You encounter other "drivers" along the way. The government requires a license to drive a car, why wouldn't they also require a license to navigate the internet? Implement a license to navigate the internet. Teach topics of personal privacy, intellectual property and content creation. Use it as an opportunity to create awareness about government websites. Hire the most creative digital agency in the US (R/GA) to make it fun and entertaining so that for a middle schooler, using the internet becomes an exciting stage of life. Give people a customized badge to pin once they have been awarded their license. At $10 per internet license for people on Facebook in the US alone, that is $1,690,000,000 in revenue. Have 5 year renewals as technology and related topics evolve.


GDP + Personal Income

Penny profit. It's a simple and easy way to manage margin that works for both small businesses and large corporations alike. Allow the US residents to take a margin on their own personal content creation as measured in traffic per piece of content. Traffic ("bandwidth") is good not only for the corporations and advertisers, but an individuals own personal brand. Encourage citizens to produce quality thinking, not just quantity. Increase our exports. Pay for it by charging two pennies per international view. Keep a penny for yourself. Make our thoughts count to the local and international economy.



In the most thoroughly modern sense, if citizens cannot create digital content, they cannot contribute to the economy. Work on bringing internet access to every inch of the US. Improve infrastructure and encourage states to go wireless. Innovate. Empower each individual to become a contributing factor to the intellectual capital of our economy.


We have a Nobel Peace Prize. Institute an Intellectual Capital Prize. Allow content creation to become a revered and respected philosophy. Let the reward be a break from taxes during the year in which the prize is awarded and give him or her international exposure. Praise individuals who contribute in valuable, compliant and legal ways. Create an emotional connection with your voters / consumers / content creators.


disney on dreaming big

When I went away to college for the first time, my Dad encouraged me to take the Myers-Briggs test. He gave me the little blue Please Understand Me book and away I went on my journey. Taking the test, and studying its meaning, was one of the most important things that I did for myself as I navigated a very open-ended time in my life. I learned the implications of what it meant to be creative, both positive (intensely curious, generating excitement) and negative (being too abstract, having a hard time finishing what you start).

As an ENTP (extrovert intuitive thinker perceiver), I am defined as an Inventor and have the same preferences and personality as people like Walt Disney and Julia Child. Today, as I briefed my experiential agency on our events campaign for the year, I was reminded of how much this Walt Disney quote connected with me as a young girl, and continues to do so as a brand manager today. In marketing, if you can dream it, you can do it. The difficult part is aligning your cross functional partners to make the momentum of the dream a reality.


mlk jr on leadership

As many of us reflect on the positive progress in humanity that we have made today, let us not forget that the greatest example MLK set was how to be a leader.



From top: 1) JCrew vintage cotton v-neck tee in vibrant flame, 2) Forever 21 lacquered pyramid bracelet in neon orange, 3) Jennifer Hagler geo stud earrings in neon yellow from Quirk Gallery, 4) Bobbi Brown neon pink lip color, 5) Forever 21 fishnet tights, 6) American Apparel unisex solid knee-high socks in neon pink, 7) Essie neon pink nailpolish, 8) 7 For All Mankind neon light twill skinny jeans.

1) Felted soap with neon pink deer, 2) Neon pink and yellow bottle opener, 3) Duck neon orange duck tape, 4) Project Neon iPhone / iPad app, 5) McCormick neon food color, 6) neon pink moka express silkscreen print, 7) neon yellow horse a pois, 8) plastic neon shot glasses.