Q: In case you’re not familiar with our “People Pulse” feature, we like to begin by having you share something unique about yourself, that’s fun or worth knowing.
I’m a big foodie and write a food blog about my dessert making adventures. In 2008, I won a cookie contest with my Million Dollar Cookies recipe which finished in the top 5 of all cookies in Parenting Magazine that year. In 2009, I competed in the same contest with my Key Lime Cookies recipe and finished in the top 10.
Q: Are you from Central Florida? If not, what brought you here?
I am a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2001. A few months after graduation I married my husband, David who was already working here in Florida after he graduated.
Q: What do you most enjoy about the Central Florida area?
I enjoy the sun, because coming from Pittsburgh, we don’t have that many sunny days! I also enjoy all the fresh seafood. I never had sushi until I moved to Florida, now I love it!
Q: You’re a mom, so what do you and your family enjoy doing around town?
My daughters are almost 4 and 2, so we find ourselves going to the Brevard Zoo with some amount of frequency. They have this great water play area which was heaven during the summer, because not all Floridians have a pool!
Q: You and I actually connected via Twitter, because of our affinity not only for dance music, but for the brilliant, amazing BT. Aren’t technology and music just the best?!
It’s actually kind of funny looking back at how my whole experience with BT got started. I was just a regular ‘ol fan at the March show, and now I am connecting with other fans from that show and others around the world. I saw myself rocking out to BT in the corner of various videos taken that evening. I still can’t believe it sometimes!
Q: And now you’re doing something I find ultra-cool, and that is you are BT’s web/tech/developer! How did that opportunity come about?
It happened in a chat room, yes, really! It started in the chat room of BT’s U-stream, with a gentleman named Mark (@sendandreturn on Twitter) over in the UK. He alluded to the fact he was working on a website for BT. (Really? Nah.) I started following Mark on Twitter prior to the March show, and was excited to tell BT “Oh, Mark says hi,’ but for me I was lucky to remember to say my own name!
Mark read my review of the Firestone show and about a month later Mark said he was looking for some help on the site and was I interested. (He mentioned Brian remembered who I was!) First I was more of a sounding board for ideas, and then as things started evolving I got more involved with the design and code of the site. It was a lot of work, many tweets, couple of phone calls and long hours to make everything just right. The real treat in this project was reading and researching old articles about Brian. There were many hairpulling moments trying to convert PDFs of BT’s ‘scrapbook’ into online images where visitors could read along as if they were looking at a magazine. No one knew I was working on the new BT site, so it was fun to drop a hint or two along the way and still no one caught on!
Finally the day came to launch the website, and I had never done a launch remotely before. So here we were Mark, Brian and I holding our breath and tweeting/emailing like crazy making sure everything was OK and the response was MENTAL! It was really cool to see the tweets coming in as the website populated around world.
Q: BT is very tech-saavy and into social media, so do you find it inspiring to work with him?
I would say BT is technically aware. Brian is very down to earth, knows music and how to create it by continually pushing the envelope. He may not understand everything I make happen, but he tries and I try to get to the point without losing him in the tech of it. Since we’re separated by thousands of miles, it’s not like I can pick up his iPhone or sit down at his laptop. I email him a step by step procedure of what I need and he does it, usually followed by a ‘BAM done!’
At first I was pretty starstruck, but he’s really just like anyone else! He shares things with us and vice versa. It’s not uncommon to see ‘rad, epic, AWESOME, FACT, dude’ come through in an email. We’re all really excited and love sharing cool tech we find with each other in a very open and honest environment. It’s really fun explaining and joking around with the guy that is considered the godfather of electronica.
(By the way, you were kind enough to feature our blog post on BT’s show at Firestone Live earlier this year on BTMusic.com, so thanks for that!)
Q: I personally feel like some of the music venues in Central Florida, Firestone and The Social namely, have recently stepped-up their game as far as talent is concerned. What’s your take?
Insert awkward silence here. My first show/concert EVER was BT at Firestone in March. Since then I’ve gone to a show in Tampa, but other than I’d prefer to do other things. I think it’s great to see or hear about the artists coming through the area. For me it’s been, ‘Oh MAN, I missed….’ If I followed every musician I was interested in I think I’d explode. I love music, but I don’t want to be at a club every weekend. I just pick and choose who I really, really want to see.
Q: You were also recently randomly selected to participate in the recent NASA Tweetup. How excited were you about that?
It’s actually funny in the course of working on this interview, tweetup plans have gone from cancelled, to on again, to off, to on again. As it stands, it looks like we will be invited back to view Discovery’s night launch at the end of November (depending on how repairs go, the launch may be pushed back to February).
I was beyond excited when I first heard I was on the waitlist (we called it NASA Waitup). A few weeks later, I squealed and danced with excitement when I got the email I moved from waitlist to the official list. I’ve watched so many launches, but to be able to stand next to the countdown clock and see one go up I couldn’t believe it!
The NASA Tweetup was an amazing experience despite the number of delays and the eventual scrub of Discovery. Many tweeps got a behind the scenes tour of the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) and other areas. Me, I got to see the cafeteria next to the VAB on Monday night. It was like social media meets space bootcamp all week as our organizer Stephanie worked to move speakers and schedules around as the launch schedule played out. It was a great springboard to meet and interact with people from around the world and many I don’t think I’d ever even dream of following on Twitter are now BFFs!
Q: So what did the event consist of?
The event was originally supposed to be a 2 day event that stretched into nearly a week of scheduled and unscheduled activities. The first day pretty much happened as planned, we heard from Bill Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator for Space Operations Mission Directorate/NASA Headquarters, Astronaut Ron Garan (@Astro_Ron on Twitter), Stephanie Stilson, NASA Discovery flow director, Launch Vehicle Processing Directorate, Kennedy Space Center. We attended demonstrations of Robonaut (@astrorobonaut, collaboration between NASA and GM) and of the ACES suit (big orange astronaut suit). Those were pretty much the only things that happened as scheduled.
Discovery was still having some technical issues and the RSS retraction we were supposed to see Monday night kept getting delayed. So, in a field we were asked the question if we just wanted to end the day there or proceed with a trip to the launch pad and Saturday V center because not everyone would be staying until Tuesday. The groups split into the ‘go now’ or ‘wait’, priority was given to those that would be departing on Tuesday or for those that couldn’t make it back to KSC at 2pm the next day. Two thoughts went through my mind: ‘1. I would have issues with child care and couldn’t be back until 5pm on Tuesday and 2. What happens if there were more delays? This was my chance and I had to take it.’
What did I get to see and what did I miss? I got to see and eat at a NASA cafeteria. I toured an empty Saturn 5 center with my friend while cleaning crew worked. (That rocket is even more impressive in the darkness and quiet.)I didn’t get to go in the VAB, but I got to go to the area around the launch pad twice!
Q: What role do you think social media brings to an event like this?
This was definitely a teaching and learning experience for all involved. On Tuesday, a group of us arrived to attend the RSS retraction only to hear it was postponed. While we waited for our bus to meet up with the rest tweeps, we bumped into ‘real’ media aka: traditional media reporters. The first reporter came over to ask us what was happening, who we were etc. Soon as he heard of the delay he scurried back to his car to leave. It was then I realized, what if our sources were wrong? Our group of 4-5 were reading tweets from NASA related sources, but nothing official. It was a scary feeling and thinking maybe we were wrong, but we agreed the reporter should verify his facts – like we were trying to do.
The ‘tweeters’ as we were called ran into other instances where media was coming to us searching for a scoop, proudly telling us news we already knew and finally ‘wait, don’t tweet that / no you can’t have my name.’
Social media in this environment also seemed to break down a lot of walls over the course of the week, although I can’t be sure if it was because of the environment we were in. The environment being one of sharing, learning and discovery, real human driven magic happens at KSC every day. Every NASA employee we encountered was helpful, knowledgeable and full of many amazing stories. At the end of the week, we really felt like part of the NASA family living and breathing launch schedules and delays. NASA’s hospitality was top notch, and beyond what I was expecting. Through social media, we were able to see the human side of human space flight.
Q: Who are some folks (can be individuals, companies, etc.) you enjoy following in Central Florida?
- @FlyingJenny/Jen Scheer – Jenny is quite an amazing woman I finally had the pleasure of meeting recently. From her beautiful daily sunrise and sunset photos, Project Mercury Rising and Collect Space involvement I am pretty sure there’s nothing she can’t do. She’s also founder of the Space Tweep Society (#spacetweeps)
- @VisitOrlando – One stop shop for finding out what’s going on in Orlando, maybe win some free stuff. Within a few weeks of following them I won a free weekend at the Omni Hotel – Champion’s Gate.
- @OwlDesk – In addition to being a local Social Media Management company, they are one of the driving forces in a grass roots community effort called – Get Social Brevard (#getsocialbrevard). I went to my first meeting recently and was excited to see local people and businesses working together to harness the power and positivity of social networking. Definitely check this out!
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time—if you have any—in Central Florida?
When I can get out, I enjoy running. I started running a year ago, mostly as a challenge to myself to see if I could complete a Couch to 5k program. Since then I’ve been running at least one 5k race a month. It’s great, because you can do it almost anywhere. From there my friend got me interested in ultimate frisbee. We play in a HUGE empty parking lot at night where some play all serious, and others scream in your face trying to distract you. It’s a great way to unwind once a week!
Outside of running it’s a mixed bag of activities with the kids. There’s baking, playdates with MOMS club members, outings to the zoo, playtime at the park or exploring a local nature preserve.
Q: Are there any “secret treasures” in the Central Florida area, people should know about?
There’re a few that I’ve really enjoyed and happened to find or hear about by accident:
● Turkey Lake Park – Just off Hiawassee Road. I walked to this park to meet the rest of my family after my 6 month LASIK eye checkup. It was an amazing park for my girls to run around in, and I couldn’t believe this gem resided so close to Orlando! I wish I could take this park back home with me.
● Harry P. Leu Gardens – The first time I went here, it was 95 degrees in August and I was 12 weeks pregnant with our second child. At the end of our walk, I pulled out my camera to take a picture which was actually recording video when I told my mom I was pregnant. It was a priceless moment, in such a beautiful, quiet environment.
● Orlando Wetlands Park – I have not been, but several people at the NASA Tweetup went on the off days to go explore the wildlife. My daughter loves otters, so I can’t wait to take the family in the spring to see them in their native habitat. The pictures people took were amazing.
Q: What’s the one thing you’d like to leave with our readers?
You get what you put into your experiences. If it weren’t for social media I really doubt I’d be where I am right now – working on BT’s site, attending tweetups etc. The first time I shook BT’s hand he knew I was that crazy girl tweeting about my entire day leading up to the BT show. People were seeking me out at BT shows, tweetups and at the tweetup I had a few followers tell me they had friends there I needed to meet. How crazy is that?
Of course the road to where I am and where I continue to go hasn’t been easy. I still get jabs about how much I talk or tweet about BT. I spent a lot of personal time developing the website and maintaining various social media profiles, but in the end I wouldn’t trade this life experience for anything. It’s a privilege and an opportunity I want to see through! FACT!