Casual Friday: Coffitivity

Coffitivity

I just moved into a new office at work and it is a little quiet. If I play music it can disrupt my neighbors and honestly it makes me want to dance and sing along. Not conducive to getting work done. So the solution, a little white noise. Not just any white noise though - sounds of the coffee shop. Now we can all get the sounds of a lively coffee shop in our own office with Coffitivity. Coffivity links to research showing that people are actually more creative if they have a little ambient noise in the background. This is a research site, so you've got to love a link to a Journal of Consumer Research article from JSTOR. Way to cite your sources Coffitivity and even give us a copy!

I've been using the site for a week now and I love it. There is an option to play your own music just slightly over the background noise, but I haven't tried it out. The ambient noise is just right for me.  I keep it low enough that it doesn't bother me when I"m on the phone or even when people are in my office, but it fills in the empty office.

Casual Friday: Secret Country

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Librarian-gone-rogue/business researcher Michael Hill and his Austin-based band The New Maps (last chronicled in these pages in February 2012) are back to their off-the-clock ways with a new album for 2013. Titled "Secret Country," it features 9 new original songs by Hill and a wistful, atmospheric cover of Mark Kozelek’s Red House Painters gem “Have You Forgotten.” Built on a foundation of guitar-and-drums-forward sonics and sturdy, power-roots-pop songcraft, “Secret Country” is largely a product of core members Hill (vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion) and Jeff Olson (drums, vibraphone), but one that also features contributions from cellist Dylan Rieck (Balmorhea) and pedal steel guitarist Phil Ajjarapu. Founded in 2011, The New Maps released their full-length debut “These Parts” in 2012. Original bassist Paul Grotevant exited the band later that year, but Dusty Rhodes (Mother Falcon, Sahara Smith) has since stepped in to fill that gap admirably. Now, with a new recording, a new member and new energy driving them, The New Maps are poised to keep pushing their musical boundaries - not to mention shattering a librarian stereotype or two - as they take listeners through the "Secret Country" and beyond. The album is available on iTunes and the title song may be streamed on the band's Facebook page .

Casual Friday: Face Retirement

FaceRetirement

Merrill Edge is helping you Face Retirement. They are convinced that we don't save enough for retirement because we just can't picture ourselves living into our 70s and 80s. By showing you what you will look like in the future they hope to convince you to save for retirement. All I have to say is that it worked. I now believe I should save more - for plastic surgery. If the age progression is correct, I might need a little nip and tuck at 67. Beyond scaring (and possibly scarring) you with a glimpse into your future, the site also provides some cost of living data. See how much a loaf of bread will cost, a gallon gas, or a movie ticket. It is all enough to make you realize that tomorrow will be here before you know it, and it will cost you a lot more to live the same lifestyle.

If you are brave enough it just takes a minute to find out what you'll like 20, 30, 40 years from now. The program uses your webcam to take your picture and begin the aging process. Bonus, you can share right to Facebook if you are so inclined.

So if you are ready to start saving more, find out exactly how much you need using the bizologie favorite tools: retirement planning post.

Casual Friday: Tank on Empty

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Ever wonder just how far you make it on an empty tank of gas? Check out Tank on Empty to find our just how many miles people have been able to drive with the gas light on in your car's make, model, and year. I like to know I have plenty of gas to get where I'm going, so I don't push my luck since I can't push my car.. But, there have been times where I was a little nervous about getting to the gas stations. Kind of nice to know I probably have a little more fuel to get me to the pump. I do know a few people (won't name any names here) who will just keep on driving long after that light comes on. This site does shows that they are probably just fine going that extra 20 miles. But really, there are quite a few comments about burning up your fuel pump if you actually go completely dry. So not a good idea.

Still kinda fun to see how the experiments went and to learn what others in your car have experienced.

Casual Friday: New Clothes For All Your Gadgets

As you can tell by Librarian Lifestyle's recent Style Profile of bizologie's own April Kessler, we love to shop for clothes. And we like our gadgets to be as well dressed as we are. Here are some clothes for  all your different gadgets that we think will make them runway ready. We love this Great Gatsby Kindle cover designed by Kate Spade--very librarian chic!

Channel your inner Holly Golightly with this Tiffany Box iPad case:

Turn your favorite Instagram pictures into an iPhone case from Casestagram:

The Stowaway iPhone Case from Incipio stores credit cards and cash:

Who wouldn't want to walk around a conference showing off this Zac Posen patent leather tablet case?

Another great Kate Spade case for iPhone depicting a perfect Sunday Morning:

The Botene shop on Etsy makes cool cases for several gadgets. We love this lime and brown eReader case:

Casual Friday: Tech N Style with Mikala

Whew! After a week of recapping our TLA experience, we're ready to start the weekend. Our friend Mikala is back with advice on personal processors, turbans and man bags. Oh Mikala, what would we do without you? You can keep up with Mikala's Tech N Style Series as well as her Disappointing Gay Best Friend Series (Tyler, our love for you is endless) on her YouTube channel.

Casual Friday: AnalyzeWords, or The Twitter Peppy-meter

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Happy bunnies 'n baskets weekend!  This Friday we bring you the really fun love child of instantaneous-colorful-chart-generators and Twitter.  It’s called AnalyzeWords, and it was developed by a team of researchers headed by professors at the Universities of Auckland and Texas.  Using a program called Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, they analyze junk pronoun words (which it turns out aren’t really junk) as amalgamated over a big swath of tweets, to figure out a communicator’s psychological state. To play simply add the twitter handle of your entity du jour, click Analyze Tweets, and voila, immediately you have three spiffy little chart clusters categorized by Emotional Style, Social Style, and Thinking Style.  As you can see from the picture, @JetBlue is quite chipper!  Now if only it would also work when I submit the phone number of that cute guy I met at the gym yesterday…

Wearing of the Green

Since the wearing of the green is Saturday we had to reblog a post from our friends at Librarian Lifestyle on the cutest green fashions of the season. Happy St. Patrick's Day! Have a big presentation coming up? Teaching a new class? Librarian Lifestyle has picked some of spring’s hottest looks that will make you look fabulous.

Eliza J Crepe deThis dress just screams I’m fun, ask me a reference question. Eliza J Crepe de chine dress $118

Alexa Ava DressHave an evening event? The simplicity and elegance of this dress will set you apart. Alex & Avea Jersey sheath dress $158

Totally adorable and affordable! Hepcat Dress $49.95

Elegant and sophisticated. We love that 70s-style high collar too. Gallery Single Breasted Pant Coat $98

Gibson Linen One-Button BlazerNot only will you stand out in the crowd with this jacket, this piece will look fantastic paired with spring’s other hot trends – gingham and stripes. Gibson Linen One-Button Blazer $88

Calvin Klein Powerstrech Skinny JeansSpring is all about colored jeans! Calvin Klein Powerstrech Skinny Jeans $69

Parliament Cowl ShirtThis shirt from Hobbs has an illustrated stationary print complete with typewriters. How fun is that?! Parliament Cowl Shirt £39

Mirabel SweaterThe little bows take this sweater from trendy to adorable. Mirabel Sweater £79

Lacoste Goa Circle WatchWith it’s little pop of green, this watch will look fabulous with your new green outfits. Lacoste Goa Circle Watch $95

Loft Stretch Skinny BeltTry a green belt for a little pop of color. Loft Stretch Skinny Belt $29.50

Upwardly Mobile Satchel

Upwardly mobile indeed. Guaranteed to get you compliments all day long. Upwardly Mobile Satchel $184.99

Audrey by Mia Limited EditionWe heart these shoes! These delicate flats will look great with jeans or skirts. Audrey by Mia Limited Edition $99.00

Nine West Powersurge Wedge

Perfect for a swingy spring dress Nine West Powersurge Wedge $78.95

Poetic License Orient ExpressPoetic License has the most playful shoes around and these will make any outfit a little bit more special. Poetic License Orient Express $99.00

By Karen Holt a self-confessed fan of all things green and the Editor-in-Chief of Librarian Lifestyle.

Casual Friday: The New Maps

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The New Maps are not just an Americana-laced pop/rock band from Austin, Texas, they are the creative outlet of business researcher Michael Hill, colleague of righteous Bizologist Laura Young. In addition to Hill on vocals, guitars and piano, The New Maps features Paul Grotevant on upright bass and vocals, and Jeff Olson on drumkit. The band, which formed in early 2011 and spent the last year playing shows around Austin, released its 11-song debut, These Parts, in January 2012. In addition to original songs by Hill and inspired performances by the band, These Parts features guest vocals from Hill's former Marmalade/Mudville Nine bandmate Kim Vance Baker and a re-imagined version of Bruce Springsteen's epic "Badlands." The album can be purchased digitally via iTunes or Amazon.

The history of The New Maps traces back to the mid-90s Denton, Texas scene, where Hill cut his teeth writing songs and serving as bandleader for acts like Marmalade, Mudville Nine and 12lb.Test, while also playing lead guitar and singing harmonies for Slobberbone and former Fever In The Funkhouse leader Nick Brisco's solo project, the Nick Brisco Band. Meanwhile, native Austinite Grotevant was in San Francisco playing bass with the likes of Matt Bauer and alt-country orchestra Angel's Camp, and another native Austinite, Olson, was finishing up grade school.

Fast-forward to 2010 and Hill, back in Texas after a 6-year-stint in the Pacific Northwest, was performing with with fellow First Grade parent Grotevant, a founding member of The 145s, at Austin coffee shops. In early 2011 the duo invited Olson, sometime member of Balmorhea, to play a show with them at legendary Austin live music haunt The Hole In The Wall and The New Maps were born. Shortly thereafter, the trio took to recording and, a little less then a year later, These Parts was released. For more information, please visit the band online at www.thenewmaps.com.

Casual Friday: Deep Thoughts

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Do you feel like killing some time this morning while the community pot of coffee is brewing?  Trying to find that just-right segue for your upcoming PowerPoint presentation?  Check out Thinkexist.com, an excellent source for inspiring and funny quotes on just about every element of the human experience.  You'll need to create an account to peruse more than a few pages into the results lists, but it's worth it in my opinion.  Browse through the alphabetical topics to Business, and you'll find over 250 quotes for that word alone.  Other business-related topics to also peruse include: Success, Politics, and Money. Here are a few zingers to start your day:

“To open a shop is easy, to keep it open is an art” -Chinese proverb

“Business is like sex. When it's good, it's very, very good; when it's not so good, it's still good.” - George Katona

“Don't tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I'll tell you what they are.” - James W. Frick

“To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” -Mark Twain

“Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work.” -Earl Nightingale

Casual Friday: Moondapple Bead & Lego Lamps

Lego Lamp

Today we're featuring  local Austin artist, Katheryn Hill. Kathy makes beautiful lamps made from found and recycled items, like gemstones and legos. Below she explains how she got started and what goes into her art: This is art with a side job. These one-of-a-kind handmade lamps are made to either convey a message, show your favorite talismans, be a good luck charm for your house, describe who you or your family is, and no matter what, they start a conversation and definitely say a lot without a word being spoken.

I needed to make extra money while my new husband and I moved to Seattle with no credit cards and the cost of living from Denton to Seattle was quite a difference! I taught myself how to make jewelry and sold them for years. With time, I accumulated a lot of inventory of all kinds because not all beads make good necklaces or earrings. I held on to them and one day I had a brainstorm- light would look really pretty coming through all these beads!

I wanted to make my sister something special for her birthday so I tried my first lamp using the beaded lamp shade. It was a hit! I have branched out with all sorts of lamps. I love to find materials at garage sales. The ugliest old jewelry can be used. I found one of those long, wooden necklaces with African animals carves on it and used them for my niece's nursery lamp that had an animal theme!

One of my favorites was for my father-in-law who said that he "liked my lamps but they weren't his cup of tea". About 5 minutes after he said that I dedicated myself to making one that he'd want. He's an avid bass fisherman and I made a lamp with fishing gear, all kinds of baits, bobbers, etc. and he loved it! This is when I officially switched to fishing line to make the strands for the shade! I wanted my mother-in-law to take part too, so I added charms that fit with her hobbies and personality, and then decided to add the grandchildren with small picture frames on the shade. The lamp base is a tree so now they have a scrapbook with a side job along with a family tree. It's really cool seeing the grandkids gently looking at it to find their baby pictures.

And after a few years, my son asked when he could get a lamp but not with the beads. Hmmmm....He's planning to be a lego master builder one day, so I decided to go with legos.  That was great fun adding the windows and doors to let the light out. You have to keep the shade as is and add the legos to it or the legos would melt if the bulb is too strong.

Part of the fun is I can garage sale shop and antique store and goodwill shop for the lamp bases, old ugly jewelry that no one wants anymore and buy recycled legos to make my treasures.  I love getting jewelry that people have saved for years and don't know what to do with after years of keeping them in a box. Some things just shouldn't be jewelry... wooden animals on wooden necklaces- not a good idea.

Each piece is so unique. I am unique in what I do and how I put this stuff together, and it is for you, the unique individual that will have the only lamp of its kind made especially for you. It is a great way to make a house a home, and a useful way to add light and art to your life.

Katheryn Hill Light up your life with a custom made lamp by moondapple!

You can check out Kathy's lamps and find more information on her Etsy page.

Casual Friday: Favorite Sites for Home Design & Decor

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We bizologie girls are home design junkies. We love house tours, HGTV, furniture shopping, and open houses. With a little help from our friends, we've painted our houses inside and out, backsplashed our kitchens, updated our landscaping, obsessed over any number of furniture choices and even remodeled our bathrooms. Here are a few sites we love for home design inspiration:

  • Apartment Therapy--"Saving the world, one room at a time", Apartment Therapy is one of our favorites. They focus on apartments and small houses so most of their ideas seem affordable/attainable and they always have great ideas for storage. We love that the AT community is as passionate about design as we are, making the comments sections sometimes just as helpful and interesting as the posts themselves. You don't see that every day!
  • retro renovation--Created by Pam Kueber, who remodeled her 1950s house, retro renovation is your "daily dose of mid century renovation resources… design inspiration… fun finds… and a growing community of people all interested in cherishing their postwar 40s, 50s 60s and 70s homes."  We love Pam's passion for maintaining the integrity of older homes.
  • Pinterest (Home Decor Page)--You can't beat Pinterest for great ideas and their Home Decor section provides endless hours of decorating yumminess.
  • Overstock--Love Eames chairs, but on a librarian budget? We know the feeling. Head over to Overstock, type in "plastic chairs" and presto! Fantastic Eames knock-offs for a fraction of the price. Emeco "Navy Chair" at $450 a pop too much? Overstock to the rescue again. Simply type in "metal chairs" and you get two chairs for $135 that are perfect replicas of the "Navy Chair". We love Overstock for keeping us in the lap of luxury on a shoestring.
  • Ikea Hackers--We all know shopping Ikea is one of the most affordable ways to furnish your house. But to keep your living room from looking just like your neighbors', check out Ikea Hackers who share ways to repurpose and personalize all sorts of different Ikea products.
  • Catalog Living--Now that you've got your house looking like the pages of a catalog, it's time to laugh about it. Catalog Living offers a "glimpse into the exciting world of the people living in your catalogs".  Not only is it fun to keep up with the antics of Gary & Elaine, it's a great place for ideas and every entry is sourced in case you want to buy the products that will  make Gary & Elaine green with envy.

Casual Friday: Candy Cane Mania

Behold the humble candy cane. With no fat or cholesterol and containing only about 55 calories, it's a pretty great holiday treat. More than 1.8 billion of them will be made for the holiday season,  easily beating out the 150 million chocolate Santas produced. National Candy Cane Day is celebrated on December 26th, of course, and consumers will spent about $200 million on candy canes during the holiday season. So, let's take a look at some ways to celebrate. Our friends at Pinterest have all things candy cane from recipes to decorations:

You're probably looking for a way to spruce up your holiday look for the office party. Why not candy cane eye shadow?

And after all that holiday shopping, not to mention a little stressful family time thrown in, you're probably going to be ready for a drink. The Four Seasons to the rescue with this recipe for a Candy Cane Cocktail:

Ingredients

1 candy cane, crushed, for garnish

2 ounces strawberry vodka

4 dashes white creme de menthe

2 1/2 ounces cranberry juice

Ice cubes

Directions

  1. Place crushed candy canes on a small plate or saucer. Wet the outside rim of a chilled martini glass with water. Holding the glass by the stem, rotate the rim to coat with candy.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, creme de menthe, cranberry juice, and ice; shake until well combined. Strain into prepared glass; serve immediately.

Casual Friday: What’s in a name?

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Answer:  A mouse click!  What if you’re trying to commercialize the next best thing since sliced bread,  you’re having a hard time figuring out your soon-to-be-a-household-name moniker, and you can't afford the services of Strategic Name Development as described in Laura's older post?  Enter the Casual Friday version of 'What's in a name?', in which you need only visit Company Name Generator.  How do you think we came up with bizologie?  (kidding!) Just hit the Generate button over and over, and let the spiffy code do all the work of making a name and checking to see if its .com address is available.   Or if you prefer to be deeply devoted to your domain’s derivation (I can’t resist consonance), go to the Advanced page.  There you can play a game not unlike Wheel of Fortune.  Enter the consonants and vowels you want and choose their arrangement pattern before clicking Generate.  If that’s still not enough, select the More Options button, choose from categories of prefixes and suffixes, and let the generator Frankenstein them into often hilarious results.

Casual Friday: Pop Culture Round-Up

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Happy Friday, Everyone!  Fall is in the air and as some of you know, TV is our boyfriend and Movies are our back-up plan. Here are some of our favorite pop culture moments of the week: Was there anything funnier than Casey Wilson and Megan Mullaley singing "Torn" on Happy Endings this week?



We can't get enough of Mindy Kaling's Concerns. We heart the Target Missoni towels, too, Mindy!

The new Avengers trailer has us giddy with anticipation. Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk!

And to start the weekend off right, we'll be lunching at Steak Me Home Tonight:

Casual Friday: Don McMillan Day

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We haven't had a Casual Friday in a while, and that's a tragedy that will be rectified now by some quality business comedy, courtesy of Don McMillan.  He's one half engineer, one half comedian, and his office-related humor is well worth watching, especially if you've ever seen a bad PowerPoint presentation. Caveat:  These are standup videos, so expect the general qualities of standup comedy, e.g. stereotypes, that may make them unsuitable for office viewing (in case you work in an un-fun office).

Security Badges

Office Math

Marketing Statistics

Business Dress

Last but not least, Don's magnum opus:  Life After Death By PowerPoint