Mar 30, 2011


I had a great dinner in Hotlanta with Jess and Rob but in typical Cheryl fashion, took no pics. This makes the THIRD business trip where I've seen friends but have failed to take out the camera.

Yes, that means my photo-taking batting average is .000.

Maybe I can redeem myself at Ben & Anna's wedding? Heck that would bring me up to .250 and in MLB that ain't such a bad batting average.

Mar 27, 2011

Weekend in Pictures

Since I fly to Atlanta and see Jess/Rob tonight, this post will have to have a continuation on Monday or Tuesday. But for now, here's our weekend in pictures.

Friday we went to dinner with Jon & Erin at Vivo in Cedar Park. The margaritas were amazing.

005 - Copy
Saturday we played vollyeball at Hanover's here in Pville. This was Ross' dance to intimidate the other team. Please feel free to laugh.

Lexi came with us to volleyball. This is my fav pic of her because you can't really see the scratches on her little nose from the puppy dog fight she had last week and because she doesn't look like an abandoned neglected dog the way she does in some other pics.

I practiced taking action shots. I think this one turned out OK.

Great weekend! Now jet set for Hotlanta and dinner with the Porters!

Mar 26, 2011

We Fight Back

I stumbled upon this via Twitter today and thought I'd share with you. Very good video for a very good cause.

Mar 24, 2011

My date with Clay Walker

And by "date" I mean concert I saw where he was the performer.

Last night I took my first adventure to the Austin Rodeo. So different than the Houston Rodeo. It had the same basic elements: carnival, livestock show, rodeo events, concert, junk food. But the Houston Rodeo is easily 5 times bigger. It is held at Reliant Stadium for goodness sake! The Austin Rodeo feels like its held at a county fairground. (I'm not really sure what you'd call the place but that's the best comparison I've got.) However, because it was smaller, every seat in the house was a good seat. The prices for concessions were less outrageous and the lines for the bathroom were shorter. All really good things in my mind.

Clay Walker was awesome. He did a great show and I loved singing along with him. Verdict: Win.

(But I think I'll still make the trip out to Houston for the rodeo every couple of years. Every once in a while you have to go big.)

Off to work! Have a stellar day!

Mar 21, 2011

Carolina on my mind

April is almost here which means it's almost time for Ben & Anna's wedding and our trip to Charleston. Yay!

Tonight I started looking at fun things we might do there. I'm not sure if we'll book anything before we go but I at least want ideas. So far the short list is
  • Carriage Ride Tour, as in horse-drawn carriage complete with tour guide dressed as a Confederate soldier. Does it get more authentic than this? (Also one of my coworker's kid is really into Civil War history... I'm highly considering this option just so we can take a picture for the kiddo.)
    Insert Ross & Cheryl
  • Folly Beach Bicycling, sounds super fun right. The bikes are actually two-person trikes so they look a little silly (as you can obviously see from this awesome photo) but I'm not ruling it out.
  • Charleston Harbor Tour, or to quote Anna "I'm on a boat!" I did a Sydney Harbor Tour when I studied abroad and it was great. This one sounds even better (if you take out the "Sydney" part of the former) because it really takes you in where you can see things. Love it. Con: tour guide not dressed as Confederate soldier.
  • Parasailing, in Folly Beach. Led by Capt. John who looks like a really cool cat. I'm not really sure who he is but he is the star of the website and I'm sold.
  • FIG, as recommended by Ben. Apparently the must-visit dining location.
Have you been to Charleston/Folly Beach? Do you recommend something for us to do on our adventure?

Mar 20, 2011

DC Weekend Round Up

Long time no see y'all. Well it can be explained by my four day jaunt to DC. I'm still recovering (both from working long hours and from a wine night with Anna) but I wanted to quickly give you the round up of news and will maybe post longer things later.

  • DC went great from a work stance. The Nonprofit Technology Conference was great! I'm especially excited that I ate lunch with some folks from the American Cancer Society and that our local Ronald McDonald House received an award for a short film. Very cool.
  • I had a great Saturday night with Ben and Anna. Their apartment is super cute with very American decor that feels perfect in DC. Loved seeing them!
  • I came home to the cleanest house in America. My wonderful hubby not only cleaned house but he CLEANED. I've never seen a cleaner house that wasn't a model home. It's beautiful and I'm going to work really hard with him to keep it this clean. Thanks honey!
  • I changed my Twitter handle. This blog has about 6 readers and probably 2 of them are on Twitter but nonetheless, I'm getting the message out. You don't have to re-find or re-follow me or anything. You just have to know that when you see tweets from @CLBlack425 that it's me. (Btw really jazzed that my email, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all use the same name now. It makes my little marketing heart sing.)
And now I am going to bed. Good night!

Mar 13, 2011

Puppy Dog Sleepover

This weekend Ross and Ryan headed up to Dallas for Rick's birthday celebration. I did my part by taking care of Ryan's german shephard, McKenzie. She's a sweet pup. Huge, but sweet. Actually, its sorta funny to see her as I'm so used to Lexi's determined alpha dog self that McKenzie who is 20 pounds bigger but has no interest in being top dog, is just kinda funny.

Anyways, I picked up McKenzie last night and brought her back to our house for a sleepover.

011OMG. There was no sleep at this sleepover.

For the most part they were very good puppies. Lexi got a little sassy when McKenzie first arrived but in fairness, the house was dark and all Lexi knew was that some puppy was coming into her house. Once it was established that McKenzie was our friend, all was fine. So they played, and played and played. Wonderful. Excellent.

Then it was bedtime. Holy cow. Lexi and McKenzie both jump into bed with me. McKenzie kinda walks over to me in bed to snuggle and Lexi flies off the handle. She starts growling and promptly inserts herself between McKenzie and me. McKenzie goes to the opposite corner of the bed and we're all good.

But apparently then she gets lonely and comes back to Lexi and me. Again, Lexi is just not having this. She makes sure there is no room between us for McKenzie to wiggle into (not hard when its 70 pounds that would need to wiggle). McKenzie finally lays down and the pups are licking each other, happy as can be I think. Until McKenzie tries to scoot closer. Lexi literally starts taking her paw and pushing McKenzie away. It was very "This is my bed and my mama. Not yours."

Eventually McKenzie sleeps in the puppy bed (which Lexi initially objected to but when I told her to shush she seemd to relent). I use sleep loosely because McKenzie also paced the living room, whined, laid down in the bathroom, went out to pee 3 times, slopped up lots of water and barked at a mystery something she thought was on the front porch. Every time she moved to do any of these things, Lexi sits right up at attention, half of the time, on top of me and every time waking me.

It was a very eventful sleepover puppy dog overnight and that's why McKenzie is back at her own home now and I'm wondering how much Starbucks it will take to power me through my afternoon at SXSW.

Mar 12, 2011

SXSW: Now I get it

This weekend I'm hanging out at SXSW for work. (Come to Convio's nonprofit meetup tomorrow at 3:30 if you are SXSW-ing.) At first I was thinking "ugh, a weekend of work. LAME." And I kinda had to drag my butt downtown for SXSW. Add to it that on my very first day (yesterday) one of the session's presenters didn't show. Not a good first SXSW experience.

But today I got down there bright and early for a session on the future of nonprofits. And then I went to a session on nonprofits and celebrity endorsements. And then one on social media as a customer retention tool. And finally one on texting to donate. Oh and I did a survey for Chevy in the middle that got me a Starbucks gift card.

Um...yeah, 100% sold on SXSW now. I'm having a blast! I'm totally geeking out to nonprofit and social media stuff and not feeling too much like a geek because everyone around me is geeking out. And that I'm on my phone tweeting the whole time - not geeky, cool. It's amazing! I love it.

I'm super excited to head back tomorrow and Sunday and geek out some more. I think I'm going to add some more sessions/parties to my schedule and beef up my experience in the last two days I have.

In. love.

And here's the video interview I made today and posted to the Convio blog. But because you are my awesome blog reader, I'll post it here too so you can watch it. (What's that you say? You aren't a total nonprofit geek like me and creating innovation in nonprofits doesn't really speak to you? OK fine, so don't watch it. But just know, I am geeking out hardcore.)

Mar 11, 2011

Go Crazy

Tonight was one of my three days to go crazy on what I ate. I mostly did. I had Mexican food for lunch and dinner. Delicious. OMG so delicious.

The downfall to having healthy friends is if you decide to go crazy you either a) eat all the shrimp queso by yourself which is rarely a good idea or you b) don't eat shrimp queso. I went for the less destructive option of not eating shrimp queso.

Bon Voyage Nichole!However despite the lack of shrimp queso, I had a great night out. Nichole, Brittany and I celebrated the beginning of Nic's vaca. I cannot tell you how jealous I am of Nichole and her hubby's week vaca to Jamaica. I wanna go to Jamaica. They are snorkeling, hiking through waterfalls, getting massages and having a private four course beach dinner.

Tell me you don't want to do those things. I dare you. Liar. You want to do them all. Just like I do. I hope Nic and hubby have an excellent time. They deserve a good vacation after all the hard work they've put into making this dream trip a reality. We should all be so lucky as to work so hard and honestly and be rewarded so wonderfully.

Here's to Nic and her Jamaica vacation!

Mar 10, 2011

Dear Anna

Dear Anna,

Your engagement pictures are too super duper cute. That is why I am taking the liberty of posting the link here so that everyone I know can see what good looking friends I have. After all, we're defined by the company we keep and I try very hard to keep company only as good looking as you and Ben.


Extremism in Equality?

Having worked for a gender-specific organization for several years, I saw lots of stats comparing the sexes. Sometimes I think these stats are relevant. For example, the fact that 100% of US Presidents have been men compared to 0% of women, that's fairly significant. (Yes, I'm giving an extreme example for a reason.)

However, I saw lots of stats about disparity that were just silly. Do we really think the genders are ever going to be split perfectly 50/50 on anything? Will 50% exactly of college students ever be girls? Will exactly 50% of teachers ever be men? Not but for maybe a split second. Of course things are going to be a little off balance.

I'll admit, this particularly drives me crazy when I hear statements like (note: just making up a number here) "We must encourage girls in the chemistry because only 45% of chemistry majors are women." What happens when we push girls into our hypothetical chemistry classes and they start to outnumber boys? Will we start to ignore the girls and push the boys? Will we not rest until it is 50/50 exactly?

I think we have much bigger things to worry about than extremely perfect equality. That just seems like a goal not worth stressing over in my mind. We're such perfectionists about stats that at the end of the day, probably don't really matter, and all the while the big picture - like how many kids will graduate high school and possibly be prepared for a college education with any major - is pushed aside.

Mar 8, 2011

Nonprofit Carnival

Even though I work in the for-profit sector now, I still consider myself a nonprofiteer at heart. And I hope to always be one no matter where I work. I think the elements of creativity, thrift, passion and compassion that make up the nonprofit sector rock. That's why I'm so excited that being at Convio let's me do and engage with all those and with so many nonprofits and nonprofiteers. It kinda makes me feel like I make the world a better place times 1300 (clients).

I read many many nonprofit blogs, both for work and because I find them interesting. Here's a post about what its like to work in the nonprofit sector. Pretty spot on if you ask me.

If you are considering a gig in social good, nonprofit sector or for-profit but serving nonprofits, here are three things I think you should consider.
  1. Do you love to be creative? Even if you aren't leading art projects, I'll bet you that you have to be creative with something, at the very least, your budget.
  2. Do you care? Whether it's trees or kids or horny toads, you have to care about the mission or the organization. In fact, if you consider mission fulfilment part of your compensation package, right up there with health insurance and PTO, you're in a real good spot.
  3. Is it worth your time? Think about how much time you spend in the office, on the phone, checking email, brainstorming etc. It's pretty cool that nonprofiteers can think about all that time in terms of lives changed, species saved, environments improved, laws passed. Way more fun than emails sent, accounts rectified, data entered and items sold.

Mar 6, 2011

Three Part Weekend

Since my big TV debut on Friday, we've had a great and signficantly more low key weekend.

First Saturday morning I bought our Ranger-Red Sox tickets. We're going up to DFW for opening weekend and I am super excited. I haven't seen a Sox game in many moons. What makes it even more fun is our friend Chris is from Lynn and thus a big Sox fan. He and his wife will round out the Sox cheering section with me. Also, it is Ross' first game at the Ballpark at Arlington and Ryan's first MLB game ever. We've got a group of nine going and I'm really looking forward to it.

002Second I had a masterful shopping trip. In the fall I finally really decorated our guest bathroom by adding flow blue accents. It was a piece from this store, another from that store. The nice thing about flow blue is the pieces are all supposed to be a little unique but in that style. Now for Christmas I got these great Vermont soaps from my dad (yup made in America) and I wanted to put them out in the guest bathroom but had no soap dish. I've literally been looking for a flow blue soap dish for more than two months now. Well I must be a trendsetter because Target is now carrying a whole blue-and-white bathroom line with almost all the accents done in modernized flow blue. I was practically giddy when I came across this great soap dish. Maybe soap dishes aren't a big deal to everyone, but it was to me.

004Also in my shopping trip, I finally came across an accent piece for the other side of the TV/entertainment center that was in my price range. I've been struggling for nearly a year and a half to balance out this little section of the house, only forgoing the mission at Christmas when the tree resides in that corner. My favorite part of my new decor is that the reed things have little silver bits in them so when you are in the room with a candle lit, it reflects and feels super fancy.

And part three of the weekend was an adventure to the Auditorium Shores Dog Park. Lexi ran and ran and ran. And got MUDDY! She had to have a second bath after our little family outing. It was a perfect day weather wise and all of Austin was out. We ended up parking downtown and walking across the bridge to the dog park. I felt like such a an urban yuppie couple walking our dog downtown and across the bridge to the dog park that sits right next to the performing arts center. Such Austinites we are! I love when we all go out together like that on the weekend. It's the best.

So yup, that was our weekend. It was one of the last really low-key weekends we'll have til summer. In the next two months there's SXSW, my DC trip, Junior League new member welcome party, Clay Walker at the Austin Rodeo, Fonda San Miguel date night, my Atlanta trip, our Rangers-Sox weekend, Cattle Baron's Ball volunteering, Ross' 30th birthday, Easter, my birthday and BenAnna's Charleston wedding. Yeah, its busy. Expect lots of pictures!

Mar 4, 2011

My World News Debut

Tonight I made my debut on World News with Diane Sawyer.


As you may know, I love love love Diane Sawyer. When I was 16 and working as a receptionist at a hair salon in Seabrook, I told my co-workers that I wanted to be her Good Morning America co-host. Her 20/20 special about life in Appalachia was so jaw-dropping, Ross and I still reference it. (Note: we will never let our kids have Mountain Dew.) We DVR World News and I watch it every night, without fail. Yes, Diane and I have a long history together.

So when I heard from a senior producer at World News that they wanted us to submit video and photos for their Made in America series, well...I nearly peed my pants with excitement.

And then I spent two days waiting to see if we made the cut. As you can see in the video above - we totally did! My cameraman/hubby and I may have screamed through the whole segment tonight. AMAZING.

Also, a big thank you to my parents who called every family member we have to inform them of my national TV debut. It was a very exciting moment for the Black/Lowe/Woodacre/Turner families.

MUST SEE TV: World News with Diane Sawyer

I was going to write a longer post last night but as its now morning and I need to get to work, you get the Cliff Notes version.

World News with Diane Sawyer has been running a series called Made in America all about how if we each spent a little more money on American made goods, we could create a lot of jobs. They had a little online pledge and Ross and I took it. We figure we can check the tags on things and when there is an American made option, be sure to purchase that one. This was all a couple weeks ago.

Fastforward to Wednesday when I get an email from a senior producer at World News. OMG! She asked for us to submit video and/or photos of us trying to buy American or surveying our home to see what we already own that is American. The clips were for consideration in Friday night's broadcast.

Well its now Friday night and all this makes World News with Diane Sawyer (5:30 CST) MUST SEE TV for you. Make sure you tune in. We might have our 15 seconds of fame.

And PS I love Diane Sawyer. She's one of the few people I am full-on star struck by and it would probably make my whole life to be on her broadcast in one way or another.

Mar 1, 2011

Creepy Moustache Man

Creepy Moustache GuyThis is my husband and his creepy moustache. Really creepy right?

He was on vacation for roughly a week so went all-natural on the shaving front. Tonight he had to shave the beard part (so his firefighting mask can fit flush to his face) but he did not have to shave the moustache. So he didn't and now he's creepy looking.

Ross has always enjoyed a good moustache. Usually he and his buddies all bust out with them in October for the UT-OU game. That weekend Nick hosts his annual Moustache Party where the chicks vote on who has the best moustache.

(Note: The boys take this very seriously. Last year Jon actually dyed his moustache [UT] orange in an attempt to win but was still beat by Stacy. You should see Stacy's moustache; I swear he can grow a full Yosemite Sam handlebar over night.)

I've told Ross that this year if he is going to grow a moustache for the party, and look like a total fool in the process, then he also has to participate in Movember, a fundraising campaign for prostate cancer. If you are going to look like this much of a creepy lame-o, you ought to at least be doing it for charity. Can I get an Amen to that sistah?

Given the pending Moustache Party and Movember, you could say Ross is in training. And despite the total and utter creepiness, I guess I have to let him do the name of the Moustache Party competition and Movember.