It’s All About A Mouse

I’m coming back from a week where I lived in two of my worlds: immersed myself in the corporate, tech setting as I attended the SAPPHIRE NOW conference put together by SAP every year, which brings roughly 22,000 people to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. And at the end of that three-day conference, I headed to meet my new colleagues at Nytro, who were also gathering in Orlando to discuss strategy and goals for the upcoming months. I’m just here, re-defining two for ones, one week at a time.

One of the activities that inspired me the most was one where the team got these Disney quote cards (fitting, since we were in Orlando) at random, and we were asked to interpret them in a way that made sense to Nytro or our roles. The card that I got was:

It all started with a Mouse

I know this is extremely specific to Disney, but when you think about it, it can really be applied to anything. Thinking of the Disney enterprise – the characters, the parks, the movies, etc. it’s hard to understand and remember that it all came from an idea in one guy’s head. Walt Disney, like many of us, had an idea, the talent to translate it to paper so that others could visualize it, and the drive to see it through. And that’s the same basic formula for most successful people/companies today: Bill Gates/IBM, Jeff Bezos/Amazon,  Steve Jobs/Apple, Elon Musk/Tesla, etc. They had an idea, and they got to work on it. Everything that informs how society works today came from needs that led to thoughts for solutions, that in turn became ideas – which are a reality today. They all faced obstacles and failures along the journey, but they kept going and now they are industry leaders who have shaped our lives and will continue to do so for the future.

Check out this profile on Walt Disney – his childhood, how persistence paid off for him and the unusual path that led him to create one of the biggest empires to date. It wasn’t easy and he failed many, many times, but he made it happen, and it was all started by an idea. We all have ideas, every day. It’s up to us to fight for them and keep fighting until we succeed. The next big thing could come from your head, because – why not?

Some food for thought for you all from my Nytro team! Get your ideas going 😉

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Say Hello to the Newest Member of the Nytro Marketing Team!

Hey guys! I have some news for you 🙂 I know most of you are here for my craftventures, but this blog is named “Work-Craft Balance” after all, so I like to share parts of the W when they come to be.

When I started working for SAP, I met some cool people from a marketing agency that put on pretty big events for the Latin America region. The employees were the nicest, most accommodating and badass group of humans that ever existed. I loved getting to see them every time events came around, and we built great rapport over the years. In 2016, the CEO and top employees of that company decided to start over and build a new agency which they called Nytro Marketing, and we stayed in touch through social media as well as seeing each other at another annual SAP event, and both on different capacities as well. They were pitching customers, and I was now working for a global team. In those annual encounters, we’d always talk about what we were up to and we’d joke about me joining the Nytro team… until this month, when the joke became a reality!

Their business has grown exponentially over the past year, and they came knocking to see if I’d be interested in working with them since I have years of SAP experience, and they were looking for someone with my profile, based in the U.S. Check and check! Just when I had been thinking about what my next step would be, they found me ❤

I am so so so happy to join the Nytro team on a Project Management role, getting to leverage my experience but on a capacity where I get to learn and grow so much. I’ve already started to join calls on some big projects coming up, and I’m excited for the challenges ahead. I will be their only Miami-based lead, working remotely with a team spread across countries and time-zones galore.

Katherine Capeluto Doodle

All Nytro employees have a “doodle” on the website which describes their skills & passions. This is mine 🙂

This is especially a cool setting for me because after working for a massive international company of 90,000 employees, and later launching my own micro-business, this seems like a nice “midpoint.” 😉

Welcome to the journey. Here’s to #TheNytroExperience!

WCB…Z? Adding Zumba To My Work-Craft Balance!

Friends, I want to share something with you that I literally didn’t tell anyone about before doing it: I got certified to become a Zumba Instructor!

Ahhhh, it feels so good to say out loud/write publicly. Let me explain: I love to dance. It’s something I do all the time and it makes me genuinely happy. When I was little I was always ecstatic to be in recitals and the only reason I stopped was because when we moved to the U.S. my parents didn’t know where to take me and I was going through a lot with the move, so I stopped… but since a very young age, I’ve always wanted to do something dance related in a teaching or choreographic capacity. I didn’t know how, but ever since then, it’s been in the back of my head.

I discovered Zumba when I was 14, as I exercised to get in better shape for my 15th birthday. At the time, it was all about the at-home DVDs, so I envisioned myself being on video one day, but that was that for the time being. Two years ago, my best friend Caro started working out consistently, and she found that she enjoyed Zumba, and she invited me to join her. I was a little unsure about going because when you mess up in your living room it’s no big deal, but going to a new class not knowing the choreo seemed daunting. I went. AND I LOVED IT! The energy of the room is so different and Zumba choreographies are designed to be easy enough to be followed along, and really all you need to do is keep moving.

A knee injury and two Fitbits later, I find myself completely obsessed with Zumba, my instructors, and the friends I’ve made in class. Its exhilarating every single time and it’s as close as I get to meditating, because my mind doesn’t shut off easy but when I focus on the music and on dancing, I can actually stop it for a while.

Counting on the fact that I have a pretty good memory for choreos and I truly enjoy this, I decided to take the next step and become certified to be an instructor. I was SUPER scared of doing this. I don’t have a fitness instructor body type and I definitely have some work to do, and I was imagining that everyone who would show up were going to be athletic stars that were going to look at me like I was out of place. That was not the case, at all. The room was a diverse mix – men, women, younger, older, very fit, not super fit, etc. Our ZES, or Zumba Education Specialist was Erick Santana. He dances incredibly well and really knows his stuff. The day was divided between dancing, learning steps, and understanding the science and process of Zumba in theory. You know how the recommended daily step count for a healthy level of activity is 10,000 steps a day? Well, we had reached that by 10:00 am. I came out of there having taken over 26,000 steps and burned off 4,000 calories. It was incredible! So much fun, so educational, and so cool to meet everyone who came to get certified, from all walks of life. We left with our virtual certificates that were e-mailed to us, and the homework to go audition for gyms and try to start subbing for classes and practice with our friends.

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Let me be 100 here: I am terrified to teach. I know that one day I will, and that I will improve with time and I will get to the point where I’m really comfortable with it and love every second of it… but right now I know that I have very high standards as a student for what I look for in an instructor, and I am doubting myself on every level. I’ve gone to the front of the class a few times and I really get in my head when I’m there. As an instructor, you have to bring the energy, the steps, the music, the charisma, and be ON for an hour. I know that I can and it’s just a matter of time and practice, but I’m 100% standing in my own way until I feel a bit more ready. I always want to be honest here because I really look for that type of content in people I look up to, as it’s reassuring to know we are not alone in our struggles. So if you are doubting and kicking yourself in the butt for not doing what you want or not pursuing a dream out of fear – you’re not alone.

All I know is: my story with Zumba is just starting, and I’m looking forward to all the good times I will continue to have as a student, and all the growth and experience I will gain on the instructor side. In the meantime, here’s my instructor website where you can see some of the music I love and stay tuned for when I start subbing/teaching! Feel free to drop any advice or encouraging words below ❤

Why Mr. Kate is not only a healthy obsession, but actually the best role model ever

Consider this my official application to FULL STAN status to Mr. Kate, her entire brand, her life, her hair, I’m here for ALL OF IT!

Last year, I wrote about how I found her and I was sucked into her channel and began to religiously watch her videos, and by now I’ve caught up on almost all of her series AND I got her book (I asked for it as a gift, and my friend got me a signed version, yay!). A year and change later, I’m not only a fan of her work, but I genuinely admire her as a person and I wish more people got on this bandwagon, because the world would be a better place if we all were a little more like Mr. Kate. Much like BuzzFeed, I’ve actually come up with five reasons why Mr. Kate is my new religion:

  1. She is a savvy, trend-setting businesswoman: because of her family, Kate could probably pull strings to get a show on HGTV or any home improvement channel, but what she did instead was to put on a TV-quality show on YouTube, and is probably THE top interior design content creator on the platform. QUEEN. Also, she’s an author and runs a retail operation with beautiful merch on her website.
  2. Helping & giving back is important to her: lots of entrepreneurs on the rise are solely focused on succeeding and reinvesting earnings back into the business, but Kate has a strong conviction to give back to the community (or to fans) in various ways. For every 100K subscribers reached on YouTube on her way to one million, she gave 1K to charity. When she reached the million subscribers milestone, she gave away a 10K makeover to a fan. One of the charities she donates to is the LA Youth Network, which helps homeless and foster youth in the Los Angeles area find their footing in life with transitional housing. Aside from the monetary donation, she also dedicated and donated one of her makeovers to their center, to make it an even better environment for the teens.
  3. She’s unconventional, a total #CreativeWeirdo: if you’ve seen any of her content, you know she’s completely unafraid to take massive fashion risks on a daily basis (despite being bullied for it earlier in life), and I think the pink hair has brought that out in her even more. Her business name is Mr. Kate because she wanted to beat the girly image stereotype and beat down barriers. In one of her videos she spoke openly about not really being the type of girl that wanted to get married, so her and her partner Joey simply had a courthouse elopement which her accountant recommended for ease of paperwork and filing taxes. She doesn’t wear an engagement or wedding ring, yet her and Joey couldn’t possibly be more committed to each other, being partners in life and business. She is unapologetically herself and is a huge advocate for everyone expressing their individuality as well.
  4. She is confident in her work, but also extremely humble: there’s something my dad ingrained in me since I was little, and it was an admiration for humility. He is really not a fan of cocky people at all, and his disdain for overt conceit was directly funneled down to my DNA. Anyway – this is something that I really admire in Kate, she truly walks the line between confidence and humility so gracefully. You can tell she believes in herself and her vision when she does makeovers for others (which is so nerve wracking, to get someone’s taste and create an entire environment for them based on that, it’s insane!), but she also is genuinely relieved when people love the outcome of her work, because at the end of the day, creativity always comes with a dose of self-doubt.
  5. She keeps it real, for real: even though on her makeover videos she sticks to her cheery side, on other more personal videos, on her book and when it comes to social media, she is more unfiltered and open about the not so glamorous side of life – which is not common among public figures. One of the things she does that I admire the most is when she shares her creative process for designing her bullet journal (a type of more free agenda-running), and she unabashedly includes the pictures of all pages listing when she has things like therapy – which still has a huge stigma attached to it, and to someone like me that is incredibly reassuring. Seeing someone that seems to have it all figured out in life taking care of her mental health in spite of stereotypes and any backlash is absolutely inspiring and admirable.

As you can see, my love and admiration for Kate only grows with every video and I pride myself in learning from her and looking up to her as a virtual mentor. I am a proud member of the #CreativeWeirdo family and I look forward to everything she’ll continue to create and make over in the future.

Friends & Family: Little Interior Architect Extraordinaire

For this week’s Friends & Family feature, I’d like to give a shout out to my little, Ana! As you guys may know by now, I do these posts around the subject’s birthday, and Ana’s just so happens to be tomorrow so HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY LITTLE! Here’s a little tribute to your beautiful work, I hope you like it 🙂

If you’re wondering why I call Ana my little, it’s because we met when she joined our sorority (Delta Phi Epsilon) a year after I did, and we miraculously met the day her class was picking big sisters, and that first meeting made enough of an impact on both of us that we ended up as big and little. Thankfully, our first impression was right and we were a match made in heaven! 10 years later, we have a beautiful friendship that I cannot wait to keep growing ❤

Ana was an Architecture turned Interior Design major at FIU. Basically, professional crafting on steroids (it’s not for nothing they call it “architorture”), and she’s really really really great at it. Her sophomore year (while she was still declared under architecture) she had to participate in this annual event called a Walk on Water, where architecture students had to build, to put it simply, over-sized floating shoes that would allow them to cross the FIU lake as if they were walking on water. How did Ana do? If you opened the previous link, you know that SHE WON OF COURSE! The structures her and her partner built got them to cross the lake in one minute and thirty seconds flat. They’re even listed on the FIU Architecture Wikipedia page, how cool is that? There were many contests Ana won over the years, including a memorial design. There’s nothing she can’t do ❤

Walk on Water 2007

Walk On Water students ready to make their walk!

Throughout Ana’s career, she had to build a number of models for her classes, which took a lot of time and dedication (and some of her skin) in the process. Here are some pictures I shot of them with my professional camera:

After going through half of her architecture major, Ana decided to change majors to Interior Design. In my opinion, she would’ve succeeded regardless but this was definitely the right move for her, because her eye for detail is just what is needed in interior spaces. Her portfolio is so strong, that she managed to get an internship at the #1 interior design firm in the world: Gensler, which is a magnet for FIU alum. The internship took place in Texas, and then she applied for a full-time job in the Miami subsidiary, and she got it! She stayed with the company for a few years, until a coffee mogul came knocking: Starbucks! Yes, you read that right. Have you been to one of those Starbucks stores that is different from the others, with cool designs, bigger spaces and very unique decor? Those specialty stores are projects of designers like Ana. Like I said earlier, she’s like a crafter on steroids. Here are some of her digital designs from different companies as well as an “artsy” Starbucks store, for your enjoyment:


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Design vs. Real Life Final Result

Focus

Design vs. Real Life Final Result

Pipeline

Design vs. Real Life Final Result

SBux ATL

Gorgeous Design For a Store

I’m always impressed by her incredible work, innovative designs and polished 360 plans. Out of my entire Friends and Family series, shes one of the two who has turned this crafty gift into a major, followed by a successful career (the second post is coming in September!). I’m so proud of her and everything she has accomplished thus far, and I can’t wait to see how far she’ll go!

 

Friends & Family: Cindy – the Crafty & Beauty-Obsessed Influencer!

Cindy - Barbie NecklaceMy next subject for the Friends & Family series is also one of my favorite people in the world – my cousin and first best friend, Cindy. Her birthday just passed on March 29th and since I’m doing all the F&F posts around each of their birthdays, today’s post goes out to her!

My cousin Cindy and I have always been very close in every way, especially because we’re only six months apart in age. We have a lot of similarities including our love of the same dolls & TV shows when we were little, a passion for dancing, the ability to talk for hours on end, and a huge desire to express our creativity in any way we can.

Cindy has an incredible amount of talent matched equally by a drive to try new things and succeed in whatever realm she’s in, and the cool thing about her is that there’s this fearlessness/confidence in herself that allows her to delve into anything that she wants to try, which has included: modeling (I was her photographer a few times), a dance crew (Xtreme Dancers, pre-social media era), a jewelry line (@calabriascollection), a mobile spa (@calabriasbeauty_spa), and most recently, a review-based Instagram account where she shares her incredibly well thought-out and honest insights on skincare and beauty products in Spanish (@calabriasbeauty), among other things. What can’t she do?!

I seriously admire her drive and self-confidence so so so much. When she has a genuine interest in something, she really goes balls to the wall on it and gives it her all. Last year she left Venezuela due to the political turmoil and unlivable situation and moved to Tenerife to try to make a better life for herself and her family. She is UNSTOPPABLE.

I don’t have many pictures of her craftiness, but I can share a few of her posts from her jewelry and accessory line, which was her most recent project she undertook in Venezuela before she moved away:

She is a bona fide entrepreneur, with an eye for trends and a hunger to succeed like no other. She is also a ride or die supporter of her friends in pursuit of their own shine, as well as Latin creators in the current YouTube/Social Media boom. I will always support her in any endeavor she goes into, and I’m proud that she not only is my family, but also my friend.

Cindy, sigue matando la liga! Loviu ❤

Biggest Prop Order to Date! WCB for SAP

The reason I started WCB (the blog & Etsy shop) was because working for a software company in Corporate America was not very conducive to me expressing my creativity, and I needed an outlet. Even after leaving SAP, I’m still in touch with my colleagues and every so often, they reach out for a craft project, corporate style. I love when my worlds collide like this 🙂

This time, the order was my biggest to date! SAP Latin America & Caribbean has a sales kick-off event at the beginning of the year, and they were going to do an activity involving a skit based on technology evolving through the decades. They reached out to me to create jumbo sized, extremely sturdy props for the attendees to use for the skits they created. The props would be in a box, which I decorated to look like space (to give the idea of time-travel), and there would be a corresponding small box with a “token” showing which decade the groups would get.

I had a couple of months to work on this, and I truly needed every second. Because I’d never done something this big, there was a lot of trial and error and a lot of winging it which thankfully worked out. Between doing the research of the technology of each decade, figuring out where to get high resolution stock images, finding the right images of the right equipment for each decade, figuring out which medium to use to make them sturdy, and if it was something thick, how to cut it… etc. Not to mention, this was going to be my biggest investment in materials as well, and I needed to make sure I’d break even – even though the good thing about working with a big company is that the budget is more flexible than for standard orders. So, in case this helps anyone else, these are the materials I went with:

  • 32 x 40 inch Styrofoam boards, purchased at Hobby Lobby
  • 16 x 20 inch pictures, printed at the Costco Photo Center (fastest printing for the best price!)
  • Spray adhesive glue
  • X-acto brand exacto knife
  • Self-healing mat
  • Large boxes
  • Spray paint
  • Small boxes
  • Laminated prints (for tokens and logos to decorate boxes)
  • New fingers, after cutting 40 props with an exacto knife…

And here are some pictures of the whole process! Keep in mind, I worked on these at night so the lighting for the photos was terrible –

First, this was part of the trial and error process. I tested out different papers and different glues, and they would crease and cause the styrofoam to curve and look terrible. This is why you have to do things with time, especially when you don’t have much experience with what you’re making.

Once I figured out the materials, I moved on to the sets of boxes. These are the big boxes that were painted like a trip to outer space, as well as the small boxes with the decade token inside and the event logo so that the groups would choose their decades at random.

And now onto the good stuff! I laid out all the pictures in columns for each decade. I pre-cut each 32×40 board into four mini boards, that came out to 16×20, aka, the same size as the pictures (#genius)! Then glued the pictures to the boards with the spray adhesive so they wouldn’t crease/bunch, and got to work with the exacto knife.

I also became highly delirious through the cutting process, and decided to have a photo shoot with the props. Don’t they look crazy realistic?! That Super 8 from the 70s was my favorite!

Also, if you think I was kidding about my fingers… But it was worth it ❤

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I heard the props were a hit at the event, and everyone had a blast doing the skits with them. I’m so happy my old colleagues support my crafty endeavors, and that I get to mix together different areas of my life 🙂

Do you have a similar situation where your worlds collide? If so, share your story in the comments, I’d love to hear it!