Situation Assessment is over! Thank God. I've spend the last two and half months working late, working at home, working on weekends, and just being consumed by work all around. The presentations were last Thursday and mine went really well. The brand teams were really blown away as were my research clients. I got a lot of excellent feedback, mostly people telling me that "this" should be my career - public speaking and presentations. Not to bathe in self-love, but this is the part of the job that I enjoy the most: presenting my findings and taking the difficult, boring analytics and turning into an interesting story that people can follow. I like it because the data is important and necessary, but often it is overlooked if there isn't a solid flow within a deck and if I have the opportunity to speak, I can accentuate on the charts and the typed bullet points with my own talking points. I also get to inject some humor, which is always necessary to break up some of the monotony of data points. The entire day was really good. Ryan gave a very focused presentation of Oreo and CA and remembered pretty much all the talking points I coached him on. [I did all the scanner data work for his two decks.] Uzma was terrific as always and Justine's presentation on new products [which I contributed to in a minor way] was a great showcase of how well our companies integrate. The consumer panels were really interesting to say the least and I think we should do them more often. Now that the big presentations are over, it's back to business as usual, which means a more manageable schedule. Still, I am helping out on some Snack Nuts work and doing all the new product datbase work for Cereal since the Kwokster is under-staffed due to the birth of Baby Bakker.
Birthday 1: Dinner with Mom, Dad, Sandi, and Grandma.
Relatively uneventful. My parents' anniversary is Jan 13th and my birthday is the 17th. What fun. (No, my mom was not 9 months pregnant with me when she got married; I just turned 26 while my parents just celebrated their 28th anniversary.) We went out to TGI Friday's for dinner, which was fun and had lots of cake.
Birthday 2: Le Flor with Jason.
Despite the fact that my birthday was a Wednesday (the lamest day of the week), I had a really nice one. I made it a point to leave work on time so Jason and I could go to Le Flor for dinner. We had a nice relaxing night and I didn't do any work from home. Jason got me a Panthers Football T-Shirt since Friday Night Lights has become one of my favorite shows.
Birthday 3: Buffy The Vampire Slayer "Once More With Feeling" at the IFC Theatre
Tracy surprised me with the coolest birthday gift ever! She got us tickets to see the Buffy musical episode at the IFC Theatre. It was a sing-along event that takes place all over the country now. It's kind of like a light Rocky Horror Picture show where there's a script of things to do throughout the episode. There was even a live cast of people dressed like the characters who acted out the scenes and sang along. It was so bizarre and awesome. Since the episode is only 45 minutes, they filled out the rest of the time by showing clips of Buffy's birthday episodes. January 19th is the birthday of the character Buffy, which is why the screening was happening then. And to celebrate the birthday, everyone got a party hat and a goodie bag. After clips from the birthday episodes, there was Buffy-oke where people were asked to come to the front to perform a scene. I sure didn't volunteer, but the people who did were really good. The whole experience was a blast - We sang all the ridiculous songs and I took a ton of pictures. Definitely a great night.
Birthday 4: Jason's Birthday & The Urge
Jason's birthday was a nice relaxing day. It was very cold outside so we decided not to leave the apartment all day. We played lots of Wii (Zelda, Mario, Tennis) and I gave him his gift - a photo album of everything we had done over the past year, which he really liked. We weren't really supposed to get each other gifts since we bought the complete series of Six Feet Under at the start of the month but I had to get him something. Since Jason's birthday is so close to mine, we bascially celebrate together so we got all of our friends together at The Urge, one of the better gay bars in the city, and had a nice time hanging out with everyone. We bascially took over the back of the place and hung out there from 10:30pm to 2:30am. We had about 30 people circulate through, which was a little overwhelming. There were definitely people there I didn't talk to enough. Some fun highlights: The go-go boys, peeing in the trough, Brian accidentally cruising that guy, Daniela drunk, and Fry biting Brian when was playing Wii Boxing. "Right in the love handle!" LOL.
Birthday 5: Company with Jason, Ben and Ari
So on top of Six Feet Under, Jason and I wanted to see a play and since it is Ben's birthday the first week of February, we decided to all go together. We met Ben and Ari for dinner at Joshua Tree bar. The service was terrible (and the waiter was as dumb as he was cute) but the food was really good. The show, Company, was really good but a little sloppy. All the actors play their own instruments so there's no orchestra, just like the recent revival of Sweeney Todd that Jason and I saw in Dec'05. It didn't work as well here because Sondheim music is SO difficult to sing and play. There was also a lot of walking around the set. To top it off, the lead guy, Raul Espasa or something or other, who Jason really likes, wasn't there so the understudy performed. He was really good but Jason was a little disappointed. After the show, Ari had to run off to hockey, so Ben, Jason and I had dessert at some coffee place and then headed home. Overall a very fun night.
Now that all the madness is ending, I'm trying to relax a bit more and of course get back into shape. I need to go to the gym SO badly. I just have to do 3-4 days a week and start drinking protein shakes again. And I need to sleep more.