Expert Connexions: Creative Ways to Connect Online
Let’s face it, depending on your situation, there may be more low moments right now than moments of joy, as we cope with COVID-19.
We’re right there with you! So we brought you a special twist on our Expert Connexions series!
By day, they are hard-working professionals; experts in their fields of public policy work and advertising creative. By night, they know how to block out fear by creating fun ways to connect their virtual communities!
In this virtual chat, Julie Holton and Audrea Fink of the Think Tank of Three Podcast talk with Seth Barnhill & Terry Streetman about some creative ways to get through this tough time.
Julie: Good afternoon. So glad you could join us as we continue our Facebook live interview series called Expert Connexions. This time with a special Saturday twist. I’m Julie Holton I’m the Founder and Principal Strategist of mConnexions marketing agency. We are a digital agency headquartered here in Lansing Michigan. We work with businesses and nonprofits of all sizes. So we knew as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic hit that we needed to help our clients and community in the best way that we know how, which is to help connect you to much-needed resources. Let’s face it though depending on your situation there may be more low moments right now than high moments. We’re right there with you and so today we’re going to bring you three very special guests. I’m very excited to welcome to expert connections these three lovely folks by day they are hard-working professionals they are experts in their fields of public policy work, advertising creative, business development work, but by night they know how to block out fear, creating fun ways to connect to their communities virtually. So join me in welcoming Audrea Fink. Terry’s Streetman and Seth Barnhill to Expert Connexions. Hey guy’s thanks so much for joining me today.
Audrea, Seth, Terry: Thank you for having us.
Julie: Okay so let’s do a quick round of introductions. I think the easiest thing is to have you tell us what you do for work. So Audrea let’s start with you.
Audrea: Great so my name is Audrea Fink I am a Business Development Manager at a major law firm in the Pacific Northwest. So I have about 180 attorneys at my firm and we work my team and I work to help attorneys be more strategic in bringing in clients and be more strategic in serving their clients and providing better customer service.
Julie: And I know Audrea you have been working essentially around the clock. Your attorneys are very busy right now as I imagine. Terry let’s go to you next. Hi Terry.
Terry: Hi so my name is Terry Streetman I am the director of public policy and advocacy for the Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska chapter. I’m here in Omaha Nebraska. I’m working from home for the last month so it’s been really interesting, but yeah I care about this cause both professionally and personally it’s something that I have a long-standing connection to. My grandfather passed from the disease you can actually see him right there and so it’s something that I truly am working my dream job and I’m very thankful for that.
Julie: And I’m sure your grandpa is so proud of you Terry and I am loving this makeshift well not even makeshift, you built this beautiful bar behind you, but I’m loving that it’s your makeshift office for it today. And then Seth. Hey Seth.
Seth: Hey how are ya?
Julie: Good, okay so tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Seth: Yeah I’m a creative director at the Mars agency which is an advertising agency focusing on shopper marketing out in Southfield Michigan. So I live in Brighton, usually about a 45-minute commute, so for about the last month I’ve been getting an hour and a half back into my day which I’m not really complaining about, it’s allowed me to be a lot more productive actually, but yeah so it’s been a lot of interesting learnings figuring out how to work from home and remain as productive, but luckily technology has come to the rescue more than once.
Julie: Absolutely and I bet your dogs and your wife are loving having you at home more. I’m sure loving less time on the road, but of course you know if we would never choose for this right the situation that we’re all in. I’m sure we’re all finding the silver lining as we navigate our virtual lives and that is the whole point of today’s Facebook live is to really talk about that because so I’ve known Seth and Terry for a long time. Fortunately for me we met back in, I don’t even know I think it’s been eight, seven or eight years at this point.
Seth: 2013 maybe.
Terry: Yup, 2013.
Julie: Yeah, so we met as you might guess through the Alzheimer’s Association given Terry’s awesome advocacy we’re going on right now, with that beautiful shirt you have on, end alz’s always. Terry and Seth actually created they founded an amazing group in Lansing called the young professional Alzheimer’s advocates of Lansing, YPAL for short and I actually have some fun photos that I’m going to share. It’s going to take me a second to kind of pull these up here but I you know they’ve just given their titles, we’ve just heard who they are by day and the amazing work that they do in their careers so I want to give you a little peek behind the curtain of who they are kind of been their off time. So here’s one of our pictures of the guys and there’s Terry there headed off to actually the Capitol Hill in that top photo to advocate for Alzheimer’s funding for the important research. There’s a photo you can see Seth on the bottom there in a community project. This next photo is one of my favorites. We’ve got well it kind of says it all, but Terry is willing to do pretty much anything for the cause which is so important to all of us. Here’s another photo of the two guys singing karaoke. This was a really awesome fundraiser where of course we all dressed up and donned our purple and sang karaoke and raised quite a bit of money for the cause there and then you know I’ve got another photo to show of Seth in a cheerleader outfits by him there at the top of the screen. This was for a female flag football game where the women play flag football and the men are the cheerleaders and so that was a lot of fun. So you can see these guys really have they really know how to work for a cause and take a difficult situation and make the most out of it. So I really want to talk first Seth with you because you have taken this and I’ve decided to put on a little gear.
Audrea: Yeah I’m so jealous I don’t have anything purple.
Seth: I’m trying not to be distracted by and wishing us both had that purple wig that I was wearing in that photo.
Julie: I know you know what I have it here for you so when the social distancing thing is over, Seth this is yours I will give it back to you, it doesn’t look as good on me. I almost forgot to introduce the fact that I had put this gear on as I was slipping through those photos. I just thought you know we need to have a little fun right and so Seth you came up with this really amazing idea and I’d love to have you tell us about it because this has been a lot of fun and I know we’re looking for fun right now.
Seth: Yeah and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it and it actually started so what it is the there it is right there that the greatest TV show theme song tournament and it started just over a week ago actually it was my wife Steph had the cheer song stuck in her head for some reason and she made the comment that it was actually the lyrics were kind of actually perfect for being you know quarantined and then we started talking like just asking to it okay what are your top three you know favorite theme songs of all time and we both kind of had the same initial response, different answers, but the same response which was oh that’s easy and we rattled off three, but then we sort of think we’ll but then there’s this and there’s this and before you knew it we have we each had like a top 20 and I just realized that you know a lot of people kind of have passionate opinions over you know what the best theme songs are and we clearly had a lot so I thought there was would probably be enough that we could make a fun bracket tournament. As I’ve seen some other sites and people doing it you know without there being NCAA basketball trying to pull and some other tournaments and brackets to sort of fill that time fill that void and so we started to sort of jotting down all the theme songs that we could think of and before you know we had probably like around 130. So we actually have enough
Julie: Wow 130, that’s a lot.
Seth: It’s a ton more than I thought would be possible, but you know we could easily do a second bracket starting tomorrow of 64 themed songs that aren’t even represented here.
Julie: And here’s that bracket that you came up with like this is brilliant and you designed this like you put a little bit of work into this Seth.
Seth: I lost an entire Sunday to this.
Audrea: Or did you gain an entire fun day from it?
Seth: Yeah there you go exactly. So and it was literally until the last second like Steph and I deciding like you know which songs were the final you know 64 you know during March Madness there’s always what the sports commentators refer to as like you know the last four in and the first four out which are the ones the last four teams that may determine are the first or the last four teams that just missed the cut and we had those too. For mean heartbreakingly you know Fraggle Rock is personally one of my all-time favorite theme songs and it was it was probably number 65 on the list so it just I need any rid of it, but I know I did hate getting rid of it. I had to take some emotion out of it you know, but it’s been a lot of fun.
Julie: We can’t always go with our emotions we’ve got to go with the logic of this list and only some ending up on the list.
Audrea: So how does someone who’s maybe in like a different state for per se join said bracket, like how do we do that how do I recommend it.
Julie: Audrea wants in.
Audrea: I’m like this is the best thing I’ve ever seen in quarantine.
Seth: Yeah well you know it’s funny because I looked at a few sites that actually liked hosts bracketing me like bracket tournaments on them and they were all kind of I felt like laggy at least the free ones we’re kind of lacking for what I wanted. So I’m just hoping it on my Facebook, but then also on Twitter. So Twitter is open anybody that can find it, you know hash tag greatest TV theme song. So the polls are up now for the sweet 16 up until tomorrow with the elite 8 being announced on Monday. So yeah we’ve just this past week we’ve whittled it down from 64 down to our remaining 16. So it’s been a lot.
Julie: Okay so the friend requests are already piling up Seth. Audrea, she’s over there she’s requested he’s in yeah. What are you going to do to so we promise, I promise, no pressure at all? What are you going to do to kind of like each milestone you know for the Elite Eight and you know the big announcement when you have the winner, what are you going to do? You going to go big? I mean because we’ve seen those pictures now of you going big.
Seth: Yeah well that’s true I guess I see how you set me up now. I see what you are doing.
Julie: I mean I’m wearing purple and that what I even know what this is but I am rocking it in a Facebook live.
Seth: It actually looks kind of fraggely. It is right?
Julie: I didn’t even realize Fraggle Rock wasn’t on the list but now I’m very upset.
Seth: Right Blame me.
Julie: Okay your wife has commented let’s just throw this up on the screen Stephanie says, next year. But you know what Stephanie, I mean April Madness maybe there’s a May madness I don’t know, but anyway back to you back to the grand finale.
Seth: Yes, so I’m toying with the idea of doing a Facebook live to announce the champion. We’ll see what happens there and this is actually my first Facebook live ever so we’ll see if I can figure out how to do it as awesomely as you do Julie, but.
Julie: You’re rocking it Seth, you’re a pro.
Seth: Yeah no thank you yeah, it should be a lot of fun. I originally I was just going to post this and hope a few people voted on it and just you know and just have some fun with it myself, that’s really all I was planning on but it’s gotten a pretty awesome response you know getting a lot of votes on Twitter and a lot of great comments on Facebook from people about it. So it’s kind of encouraged me to maybe do something a little bit bigger with it with the finale and then also to keep doing more brackets in the future. Maybe a holiday movie bracket.
Audrea: I want to be included in every bracket but I will do movies and theme songs 100%.
Julie: Seth I’m curious what the response that you’ve received. Did it surprise you? I mean what kind of response have you been getting from people?
Seth: Yeah so I expected some people would like it and enjoy you know one of my co-workers who is also a musician even said like as soon as I announced that he was even like this is important content. I’m going to be here for this you know. So I expected that some people would like it, but some of the reactions I’ve gotten have been you know people saying that it’s been a very welcome distraction. Which was nice to hear you know. My sister-in-law loves it so much she actually asked if she could like steal the concept which I’m like of course there’s nothing to steal, it’s just out there for fun. So she’s going to do something with a bracket as well you know for her friends and whatnot and that’s great and then I even have some friends of mine back in Colorado that they have a toddler and so they’ve used the bracket as an excuse and opportunity to sort of introduce their son to all of the theme songs they’ve loved and he’s actually you know voting along with them now. So we get we get their picks and we get Trey’s picks you know for each round and they play them all.
Julie: That is amazing, homeschooling at its best right there.
Audrea: Vote for Fraggle Rock.
Seth: You can’t vote for fraggle rock yet, but hopefully soon. But you know he’s been not only listening to him and picking which ones he likes but they’ve been using it they teaching the concept of or. Like he understands and. I want this and this but now they’re teaching or. Do you like this or this and he said you know learn what that means. Although it’s still a process because I know he voted for the Golden Girls twice in the last round. Well exactly.
Julie: Some of us are still learning that concept. We just want it all. This is really awesome Seth. Okay we’ve got a couple of comments I’m going to pull up some of these. Stephanie sets tre has and picking songs. Yep that’s awesome. She’s tagging his parents so they can see that he’s now famous on Facebook and you guys a special comment here from our friend Julie Duesing who used to work at the Alzheimer’s Association here in Michigan. She says purple rocks we love you Julie, hope you and your family are doing well. Okay so let’s switch gears a little bit. I’m going to pull Terry’s gosh Terry this has just been where do we even start with this. You are so creative as well it’s no wonder that you and Seth came up with the idea for Y pal and things like this. I fully blame both of you for looks like this. So it’s no surprise but why don’t you tell us about first tell us about connected by spirits. This maybe pre-quarantine era. What this group is and what it does.
Terry: Sure I also want to give a shout out to Stephanie who was there from the beginning with YPAL, it just the amount of things that have happened in my life since we started that group that wouldn’t happen otherwise is incredible, but speaking of starting groups connected by spirits actually traces its origins back to Lansing. So I met somebody have made a friend back in Lansing through a shared connection with the distillery American fifth spirits and we were at a party the only person we each knew that was there with the distiller and he had to leave, so we met and kind of bonded over the course of that evening, over the idea of a more welcoming fun educational environment within the world of spirits and cocktails because there’s a lot of gatekeeping, there’s a lot of pretension that you can run into and really that applies to any interest. I think you know people want to learn, but they don’t want to maybe be made to feel bad about what they don’t know and so we started this group we would do monthly visits to cocktail bars and just learn about different spirits of different cocktails and that happened only a few months before we ended up moving out here to Omaha and so I immediately was thinking you know I would love to start sort of a chapter here in Nebraska and that was boosted by the fact that we moved to the downtown area and most of the first friends that we had moved here were bartenders. Which I don’t know what that says about us, but that’s fine.
Julie: I’m not judging.
Audrea: It says that you have good taste.
Julie: Yeah and you are coming to us live from your own bar that you build with your own woodworking skills so yeah you’re a man of many talents.
Terry: Yeah so eventually you know we decided to start up the group here in Omaha and that we just started up in December, so we had our last in-person gathering was March 11 which was one day before I got the order to stay to work from home from then on, but only a few days before most other people did and so you know we have built some momentum. There were people who were interested in this group and we I was thinking you know how do we continue to build this thing and give people an escape and you know engagement with that interest and then at the same time I was watching all of those friends who worked in the service industry just hit so hard by this because all of the restaurants and bars were closed and if they were open it was one or two people doing you know to go cocktails out the door and so what we just what I eventually came up with was this virtual happy hour concept that we’ve been doing connecting through these virtual networking platforms. This picture here is actually last night we had our weekly virtual happy hour and also I decided to combine it as a virtual birthday party because my birthdays this weekend. We had a couple guest bartenders, we had a musical guest, and what we’ve been able to do as a result of this is share their venmo information so people can send them tips virtually and I’ve heard from several of the folks that we’ve had as guest that said you know the tips that I got this week helped me to get groceries or you know helped me to get some transportation, so I can go to the store, I could go to an interview and that to me is so incredible to be able to support folks this way because you know when I say they were our first friends that also means they were who welcomed us here to Nebraska. So we’ve gotten a lot in terms of friendship and comfort from them and so I want to repay the favor.
Audrea: That’s so cool.
Julie: Isn’t this so cool and Seth and I were both part of this party last night. Audrea I’m so sorry I think you were.
Audrea: Yeah where was my invite?
Julie: You were busy working but Seth this is so cool I mean so I’ve been trying to I’ve been a little slow on the uptake here trying to flip through some of these pictures but I mean this was just such a fun way to get together last night with people and like you said I thought it was so cool I’m going to pull up we’ve got a video in here somewhere, I’m going to pull this up and just kind of and then I’ll stop playing around with these pictures. It was Oh at first I have to show so here’s you and your wife you know tending your own bar last night so cool. Although I was really jealous, Emily was eating this pizza that looked absolutely amazing and I just wanted her to be able to hand me a slice. So other than that, the party was amazing. So Terry I just I think this is so cool because you know one of the things you did is you were talking about and I really want to emphasize this I thought it was so creative that you had the bartenders and the musician share their venmo info so that we could actually pay them for their entertainment and I’ll tell you what it was still a cheaper night for me that if I had gone out to the bar, but what a great way to support them right now.
Terry: Absolutely and that was kind of the thought is you know because for us we don’t go out a lot these days, but you know we its attorney we were here and there or for meals and so you know the money that we’re not spending on that as folks who have some you know steady income. We were just okay we’re not going to spend 30 bucks on drinks or dinner or whatever tonight let’s send that to our friends who are struggling and I’ve actually seen a cool concept from another state where they have them basically listed out on a page it’s like you can click a dollar for like tips for one drink or you know you every time you make a cocktail at home tip $15 to this pool of money that goes to these service industry folks and it’s been really cool to see that.
Audrea: That’s really awesome. How would you recommend someone like in another space for maybe doesn’t have the same connection as soon as you start that? What would it take for someone to gather a few people?
Terry: So one of the biggest connections in a lot of areas would be the u.s. bartenders guild chapter, if you have one in your area. Nationally the bartender’s guild has a bartender emergency assistance program and so they are providing assistance for housing and food and things like that but in the local areas they might be able to connect you with bartenders who would be willing and able to do something like this. Last night we had Kerry and Nick from the bar Barnato here in Omaha. They were actually in the bar because they were setting up there to go cocktail service they were going to start opening up but we’ve had yes bartenders just from home you know from a cart with three bottles on it and do a cocktail demonstration. So I’d say you know reach out to the bartender’s guild. You know look on Facebook for different groups for service industry people and there are a lot of groups that have started for those folks to share ideas and share resources during this crisis. So you know you never know unless you ask. It certainly hasn’t been you know last night was incredible I think we had 38 people total on their across six states and two continents, but you know the first view was three or four people and one of my friends is a bartender but it was still awesome. So somebody wants to do this don’t get discouraged it’s not you know a huge thing right away. The funniest thing has been people I talked to said they wanted to attend and then I talked to them the next day and they’re like oh I completely forgot what day it was because time is meaningless right now. So there are some interesting hurdles to get over, but yeah I would encourage anybody and if people want to reach out to us we have a Facebook page connected by spirits Nebraska. Same thing on the Instagram if you have questions I’m happy to help.
Julie: I just love this idea Terry of connecting whether it be with bartenders or people in the service industry. Maybe it’s connecting with nonprofits or groups that are struggling or groups that are you know really rallying to help people who need it the most right now. I mean just what a cool way to continue to support them and you’ve talked about kind of some other you know creative and interesting ideas that you’re thinking about. Do you want to share one with us?
Terry: Sure so one of the other things that I thought of early on was virtual karaoke. Which is so fitting with the photos that you showed earlier.
Julie: Yes, I’m ready, I mean I don’t really want to sing but I’m dressed.
Terry: So there’s a bar here in town that’s one of the ones with like private rooms and you can select your songs out computer and their parent company actually is in the Pacific Northwest. So I reached out to art the guy who runs the one here and he said oh that’s a great idea let me check and they’re in the process of trying to get set up for that right now and so you know one it could just be a fun thing to do with friends to connect over you know over long distances, but it also could be great way the way that we did our fundraiser back in the day with my pal. If I donated $20 I can say Seth has to sing the Greatest American Hero theme song and then Seth would never do this because he would love to sing that song, he can donate $20 to cancel that out, but there’s a lot of fun ways that you can kind of make that work to support a non-profit because as a nonprofit employer right now we are struggling too. The need has not increased if anything it’s increased and you know everybody’s hurting for money, everybody’s you know has a ton of expenses right now. So you know we could really use the support so we can keep supporting the people we care about.
Julie: Yeah what a cool idea and you know so we wanted we wanted to take this time to talk about some fun things and really kind of make light of this difficult situation but the reality is and Audrea you and I talk about this a lot on our think tank of three podcasts. the reality is the mental health aspect of what’s happening is really heavy. We in fact I was talking with a client of mine on Monday and she is a psychotherapist out of Chicago and we were just having this conversation about kind of what people are going through right now and what she’s seeing and she said you know we don’t fully know the impact. We haven’t experienced something like this before and so a lot of this you know we’re going to be seeing the effects of it as we come out of it. So you know I think from a mental health standpoint I know I sure as heck looks forward to that party last night with Terry and Seth and the friends because gosh what a great way to wrap up your week right like normally on a Friday evening you might have something planned or you might have something planned over the weekend and the day start to get really long and if they’re only filled with work or isolation it gets really hard and really heavy. You know guys what are what are you seeing? Terry what are you seeing with that?
Terry: For me personally that’s a big part of it is just like I said before time kind of filled meaningless one of the clips that was kind of in the background when you’re talking was a news station in Cleveland did a segment called what day is it. Where literally just during the broadcast we’ll say it’s Wednesday. Which is not today if anyone’s mixed up.
Audrea: Today’s Saturday.
Julie: As pointed out as the person who wanted me to send her a calendar invite to make sure she didn’t forget about this. I already had it on my own calendar.
Terry: That’s a big thing for me because I everything’s kind of blending together and I’ve been really honest with folks around me about my mental health here and it’s been a big struggle for me. My sleep has been terrible, it’s hard to stay focused on anything, and I saw somebody sum it up as you are not working from home, you are at home during a crisis trying to work and that to me like really hit home because I was sitting here going I’m doing a terrible job, no all things considered I’m probably doing pretty good.
Audrea: Yeah I’ve been working really incredible hours lately but and that’s my choice right but that’s not something like my work has forced me to do it’s my choice and part of the reason is I don’t feel like I’m it’s productive and I also feel like my work is going to help people at my job be better, do better, bring in more money right, which will help all of the people in general. So there’s this weird dichotomy between I know I’m overworking myself and I’m getting tired but I also feel very responsible you know for showing up in a way that is beneficial for the rest of my team and there’s sort of a weird like mind like struggle there right.
Julie: Yeah you know Seth your wife who’s in our comments she’s been an amazing advocate in my ear this whole time because I think and I think you can all relate to this. We get into that mode where I know each of us have been very fortunate and I’m very grateful that we’ve been busy. We have work to do, we have employment right now, we you know and we also have clients who for many of us still have pressing needs and so we feel that urgency to be there in the moment and to work these long hours and be there whenever they might text or call because also let’s face it as we work from home people are realizing the blurred boundaries between work and home time and so that you know nine o’clock text message is now becoming the 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock, or weekend text message and so on one hand we’re very I’m very grateful for this and on the other hand we also have to consider what we’re going through personally and Seth I know that’s something that Stephanie is so good about helping us through but you’ve been working really long hours too is that you know a sense that you get that maybe creating this bracket you know tournament that you have going on does that help offset maybe the long professional hours that you’re working?
Seth: You know it does a bit it’s funny too because it what well it’s never felt like work you know use some of the tricks of the trade to make doing the bracket a little bit easier too like all over the Facebook and Twitter post I published I’ve written ahead of time and I’m just sort of you know publishing them at the right time so it’s taking up less time during the days, but you know what I’ll say overall is that what I’ve noticed with people at work is like you said it’s a lot there’s a lot more blurring of that work-life boundary. I think people are struggling with that, but also there’s the thing where I think a lot of people are very used to that face-to-face interaction and be able to work with each other that way when they don’t have that they’re not communicating as well and it’s not because they’re doing anything worse it’s just that they’re operating as normal and so it’s I know something that we’ve stressed in my company is that like you know it’s okay to have like a different schedule now just make sure you’re communicating you know. If you take a break in the middle of the day that’s fine. You want to take the dogs for a walk or you know you’re on kid duty in the morning because your partner has calls and then you know you’re more working in the afternoon after the kids go to bed well that’s fine, but just make sure that other people know that that we can sort of account for that. So for me it hasn’t been really any more work necessarily. The hours are still fluctuating some days there’s not as much of its the regular eight-hour day and then one day earlier this week that worked probably a 11 12-hour day and that’s and that’s pretty normal it’s just more being cognizant of how you segment that time and making sure that it’s not all working you are disconnecting you are still finding time to be home. You know usually for me I would have that 45-minute commute to sort of make that transition from work life to home life and I don’t have that now so I have to be more conscientious of what I’m doing. So when I disconnect from work I have to you know usually I physically close the computer and I say like our load okay I’m done now and that you know now I’m home and just doing things like that has really helped me.
Julie: That’s great advice yeah.
Terry: We haven’t actually been great about doing it, but something that my wife Emily suggested she is very much the brains of the operation over here but her idea was in the morning that we should wake up we should both take a walk around the block and walk to work and then at the end of the day shut our computers and walk around the block to walk home from work. Kill two birds with one stone because I have not done much exercise or movement in general but it also helps that separation.
Julie: Yeah well think about that time on the kind of commute whether you’re driving home even if it’s a ten-minute drive, even if you have a really short commute, there’s that time that you process mentally change from one world to the next. I love that idea Emily, thanks for that idea.
Audrea: I think the disruption of routine has been really hard for people too. I know for me I have a really short commute it’s like a 25-minute trip to work fifteen of that is on a bus, last ten minutes is me running because I missed the last bus and then just waiting in public one comes but that’s the time that I would spend my morning meditating right. So I get on the bus I put in like a calm app meditation and by the time I get to work I feel very like grounded and ready to go and now I wake up five minutes before whatever my first call is and I like grab clothes I can be seen online and compiling all of my calls and our video meetings which in one hand is great because you get some a connection and on the other hand like you have to brush your hair. So I think some of that routine has also been something where I don’t feel like I was centered walking into work as I used to and so building something like walking to work or waking up 15 minutes earlier so you can do a 10-minute meditation before you start it’s I think a really good way to build from that separation then maybe doing the meditation when you end.
Julie: Absolutely I was talking to someone this morning and she was saying I was sharing some advice from another one of our expert connexion interviews because she was saying you know I feel great but my house is really starting to look the same like I’m in the same room all the time and everything she’s like I don’t know if I need to buy some new pictures or what if I need to redecorate what I need to do, but I said you know okay so someone on one of our podcasts or on one of our episodes I can’t even remember who it was at this point it’s a blur, but someone mentioned I think it might have been well it doesn’t matter anyway someone mentioned like move to a different room like you work in the morning in your dining room and maybe in the afternoon like and I realized like I have a couple spare bedrooms that I never even go in. Like suddenly I can have a different office for each of my clients if I want to you know so like if you’re starting to feel like the mundane and for me it’s I need to stop taking my laptop with me to the couch in the evening. So like I need to go and have a set space where I work and then I need to take Emily’s advice and close the laptop and walk the dogs around the block and then come in and not reopen the laptop.
Audrea: I got a Chromebook for that exact reason because there’s things you want to do on the internet right but you don’t use your work computer because as soon as I open it up I’m like well I’m just going to check email really quick and then you’re working. So I got a Chromebook and I can’t access my I mean I can if I want to but it’s not easy to access my work from there and so then like all I do on that is like Facebook, blogging, talking crap to my friends and family and unlike online games.
Julie: I love that. Now Audrea you’ve actually had some fun ideas that you’ve been using too. So you wrote a whole blog for think-tank of three I don’t want to forget about that. You wrote a blog early on. I mean it’s probably almost a month ago at this point, talking about at least three weeks ago talking about how to connect with people virtually. I don’t want to forget that before we wrap up but you know tell us about some of the digital platforms out there because maybe we have some people watching who are like wow Terry those ideas are awesome but I’m still figuring out how to like work from home.
Audrea: Sure so what my very favorite platform right now is called Marco Polo although I just heard about a house party which may become my new favorite once I figure out how to use it. I haven’t figured it out yet.
Julie: Me either, let’s practice that because I just downloaded it I’m like I feel like a grandma like it’s.
Audrea: Yeah I’m with you I just need a tutorial. So Marco Polo is like, I like to think of it as video voicemail. So I have a group of my cousins we never see each other, we’re all over different places, but every morning my cousin Shawnin kicks it off is like hey guys today is Tuesday. Which is super helpful because I don’t know what day it is otherwise and then we just basically talk crap to each other all day long like we just tease each other that’s our family. I talked to my nephews and nieces via Marco Polo. That’s usually less it’s really more than just like showing these shots of their nostrils because they haven’t figured out the phone but look at those great right like you still get that connection and you get it when you have time because it’s like video voicemail I check in it like when I’m done with work or I check it when I take a break or I do a lot of Marco Polo and when I walked the dog, that’s probably my prime Marco polo time. So it’s awesome is a way to like keep connected without it actually having to be something that takes you away from something else. Which for me with my crazy long hours it’s been really helpful because otherwise I wouldn’t talk to anyone because I’m like its midnight who’s up?
Julie: That’s a great idea. My sister put her kids on Facebook Messenger which I think it’s kind of the you know for young kids kind of alternative parents have full access and I get the most random messages especially from Ella the eight-year-old but she started sending me videos especially of her siblings and they are the best especially because I’m three and a half year old azalea loves to just sing songs all day long like Seth I should actually put her in this bracket like I should have her voting, that girls and in karaoke she will put us all the shame. She doesn’t talk lately she sings everything and I’m drawing a picture. That’s why I don’t do karaoke. So that’s why you started making up songs about aunt Julie. Now Ella has started sending me videos of azalea cleaning the house or went playing whatever she’s doing and singing about aunt Julie I tell you what if you need something to lift you up like your mental health I will put you on an azalea email list and she can email songs about you.
Audrea: I volunteer. so house party supposedly is like that in the sense that it’s like the video messaging or maybe it’s like FaceTime for people who don’t have iPhones. Again, I haven’t figured it out yet but then also you can play games on it. So you can play games with people you’re on which is big for me. So my husband and I are super cool kids who like to play board games and we have a couple of couple friends that we usually get together with like once a month and we have like a big board game night and obviously we can’t do that now so the other thing we’ve been doing is looking at online games that you can play together. So the Dominion is one of them, pandemic is another, there’s Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan. They have like an online platform you sign up and you can all join in one game and then there’s like tabletop simulator or table topia you sign up and you can play these games together and then there’s like chat options. So we’ve been doing Google Hangouts and then doing the chat or talking to each other while playing the game. So that’s been really fun because we can still drink and talk and tease each other and play games but acting, not just conversation where you’re trying to like I don’t we don’t have any updates right like our life literally is the exact same day today so when people are like what have you been up to? same as like last time so the game gives you some break up from that.
Julie: I like that. I was you know I was on a right before Terry’s party last night I was on a virtual happy hour with some girlfriends and we were like 15 minutes in and we were all sick of talking about the current situation and you know and it’s and it’s hard because like you have to get those feelings out and it’s good to talk about it but then it also becomes overload and you just but then like we’re like okay so what do we talk about? Yeah so games, what a great idea.
Seth: Well you know when you get tired of talking about that stuff too, there’s other things like I just heard about the game so I’m very excited about that because we have there’s another couple that will do game nights with as well pandemic, Settlers of Catan, we’ve played those before too so being able to maybe do that is pretty awesome, but you know there’s also I’ve heard about some people doing virtual viewing parties or it will get together you know virtually and then just watch the same movie, all hit play at the same time, but.
Audrea: Oh yeah there’s like Netflix party will do that too.
Seth: Yeah exactly and there’s even independent theaters like the historic Howell theater not too far from us here which is an independent theater they’ve sort of you know renting movies through their site. So it’s you know any movies that are in theaters now that you know aren’t like studio movies that have they’ve moved them to platforms. These were movies if you can’t see them in the theater he just you just not going to get to see me I’d be able to support them. So they actually worked it out with those independent studios that you can rent it through the you know historical theaters website and then watch it on their which is pretty awesome as well.
Terry: We have film streams that’s our independent theater and they’ve been doing online and then on the complete opposite end of this spectrum, yesterday the movie trolls world tour did their world premiere as a rental from Amazon so you’d watch it at home with like a tweet along of the cast which I know is just kind of a cool thing.
Seth: Yeah that’s awesome yeah and I saw you tweeting about it too.
Terry: Yeah well yeah so speaking of things that help you know break the tedium and pass the time, one of our favorite podcasts had been listening to you for just shy of 10 years and they the three brothers who are on it got to be part of the troll’s movie. So that’s what you know got me don’t want to watch it. Also it’s a great movie. We watched it again this morning because Emily couldn’t watch it with me yesterday and I walked it for a second time in less than 24 hours and it’s still awesome.
Julie: Just really quickly what I love too is how much of an emphasis there is on local. You know Terry you’ve been supporting all of these local bars and these organizations, Seth you just mentioned the historic Howell Theater which is this a small-town theater and I really hope that’s something when we come out the other side of this I hope that there is this heart for local you know keeps beating strongly because it’s going to be so important as we start to breathe life back into these businesses.
Audrea: There have been a handful of artists who’ve also been putting sort of free shows up. A lot of local artists who again they put it’s a free show but then you can donate or add to the venmo and a lot of big names have been doing a lot of concerts or stand-up comedy. So I think that’s been pretty cool to see sort of this shift I don’t want to say quality because I definitely don’t think that’s where we’re at but at the same time sort of like leveling the playing field like you don’t have to have $300 for a concert ticket to see someone put on the show and that’s been kind of neat.
Seth: Yeah absolutely well and Julie you’re just saying there to the community and you know there’s a lot of local pride right now and you know we hope that continues but even aside from the supporting people financially aspect that there’s you know locally here in Brighton we have a Brighton Environmental Council that was planning on doing this big like art gallery opening for 50th Earth Day celebration. Obviously they can’t do now but they just announced they’re doing it virtually. So going to be a big you know art together opening on like Friday we’re going to be doing like art classes with some of the local artists and whatnot so you know find people finding ways to still do the things that they want to do in their normal day-to-day but to somehow be able to do them online or do them virtually has been your real you know I think lifeline for a lot of people.
Audrea: Well I think it also expands the reach. So we have an organization here called Washington Maritime blue our Seattle is a maritime town right like that is our main economic drive well maybe not of Main but it’s a big economic driver for us that we have this organization it’s a nonprofit that works with startups to help innovate the maritime community because in fact time is also set in like three hundred-year-old laws. So it’s a very old slash needing to get new organization and so I watched this this two-hour long presentation where they had all of their innovators for the year in this program present and the presentation it was to the maritime group but because it was live they just made it free for everyone. So anyone in the state of Washington, anyone in a maritime community internationally, could have watched this and seeing some of the amazing things that are coming out of Seattle and so I think not only do you get this cool local pride but you also get the capacity to take that maybe beyond the borders of what you would have had otherwise.
Julie: That’s really cool.
Terry: One of the things that I’ve seen too and Julie you talk about that local pride, like hyper local pride, the musical guest who we had last night on our happy hour this morning with a couple other folks they maintained a good social distancing but they do a concert every week from the porch of his house or their street in their neighborhood. People come out of their houses on their own porches and enjoy this show they also are rallying support for people to be you know financial assistance and that’s really cool to me that I same as you guys I that’s one of the things that I hope doesn’t go back to the way it was once this is all done. The amount of pride that people have and the amount of effort that they’re putting into caring for one another is really inspiring and I just really hope that we can keep that in mind as we keep moving forward.
Julie: I love that okay so we have a couple comments. I’m going to interrupt and just share some of these comments. Melissa king says there are so many awesome virtual trips for both adults and children. Melissa what a great idea. I love that and I’ve also seen museums doing virtual tours and there’s one Museum gosh I’m going to have to look it up and then put it in the comments but one museum early on handed over its Twitter account to one of the security guards, did you guys see? Oh my gosh I forgot about it I need to check that get in see how that’s going because he was amazing like I think you need to just keep all of their social media forever.
Seth: Yeah I agree.
Julie: Great that was awesome okay another comment great idea from Stephanie she says you can also stream Broadway hits right now, check it out the free 7-day trial. I love the free ideas too, thank Stephanie. So there’s a link there from that. Gosh some really great ideas. All right guys well this has been awesome. I am so thankful for you for joining me today, letting me get a little you know well I mean this is normal for me right you guys know that, but usually not on our mConnexions page so you know we were talking about this beforehand of course our interviews have been very serious in nature because you know the situation we’re dealing with is very serious and we recognize that and we greatly appreciate those who are essential workers right now working in our hospitals, all of our medical professionals, all of our grocery store workers, our truck drivers, and we know just how serious this is that said we also know that there are a lot of people at home dealing with this either physically or mentally and emotionally and so thank you guys so much for sharing your ideas, for inviting me to your parties, please keep it coming. Audrea we’re going to get you in on that bracket so don’t you worry. So guy’s thanks so much. If you have one maybe one parting thought or one idea one something maybe that you even want someone else to come up with so that you can join in on the fun. Terry I definitely want the karaoke party, invite me to that’s going to be awesome, but one parting thought or idea before we go that you want to share with, go ahead Terry.
Terry: So to your point just a minute ago about you know this is a serious subject and we’re not making light of it one of the thoughts that I had last night is these ideas aren’t just to provide us with entertainment or necessarily even to provide support to people who need it which is great but the more that we can make it okay for people to stay at home and find entertainment at home that’s not just helping us that’s helping this whole thing you know flatten the curve and result faster. So you know this is it’s not about taking it not taking it seriously this is just about finding ways to make this more tenable for us so that we can do what we’re supposed to be doing staying at home and getting through this faster or with you know less impact.
Audrea: And to piggyback on that I would say we are complex beings right. We have emotional needs, we have mental needs, we have physical needs, so we might be staying at home but that doesn’t mean we’re not suffering from lack of engagement. Humans are social creatures right we need each other and I think we are seeing in this hard time that we’re coming together in a way that we’re supposed to right like this is how we’re supposed to connect and I think if this is a horrible situation and I’m heartbroken at the lives loss and I’m thankful for the people who are still out there and also I know that this connection is something we didn’t have before and I’m incredibly grateful for that and I think it’s okay to see it it’s both so that would be my tip is it’s okay to see it as both a travesty and also an opportunity.
Seth: Yeah I would agree with that and you know I think for so many people too that are you know maybe showing with struggling with how to remain connected. I don’t have any specific idea like doing a bracket but just you know I say think of like the things that you would normally be doing right now or the wait the big get together even or like normally be having and then ask yourself okay how can I still do that without leaving my house? You know it’s a lot of virtual a lot of people use Zoom a lot obviously, things like that but there’s also like some former co-workers of mine these two women that have been getting lunch together every week for over 20 years now and they didn’t want that they didn’t want to stop that situation that they cherish and it’s made it’s important to them and so that what they did was they started packing their own lunches and driving to a parking lot somewhere and parking you know once a parking space away from each other and then staying in their own cars and rolling down there windows and still having lunch together. So they’re getting that interaction and being able to keep up with one another without actually like you know being in the same physical space but being near it. There’s a lot of things like that that I think people can still do then it’s just like you know thinking a little bit differently about how you would normally operate but I think finding those things you know it’s even us the opportunity to figure out like what’s really important to us for that emotional health for that you know to keep those contacts and those connections up but then figuring out those ways that we can still do that whether it’s through zoom or a car lunch or even just I’ve known some people starting a Google Doc and just sharing with each other ideas on how to you know do activities while maintaining social distance and just that shared doc format has helped them in kind of you know remain in touch with the people they care about so yeah.
Julie: I think all of your points are so incredible and you know and in talking with people I’ve talked with I’ve had the pleasure of talking with a lot of people in a lot of different fields over the last four weeks you know whether it’s lawyers or accountants those working with small businesses on creating their loan applications and of course marketing and there’s one thing that really stands out to me about every single person I’ve talked to and it’s at the end of the day we are all human. We might be an expert in one field during each of you are experts at your field and your jobs but we at the end of the day we are people who as Audrea has said we have these mental and emotional needs in addition to the physical desire to be leaving our homes, but it’s so important as Terry said that we all do our part and flatten the curve and also to take care of ourselves while we’re doing so and so I encourage our audience if you’re watching you know reach out when you need to there are always people there. I mean that’s the great thing about this happening in this time is that we are connected with this all of these digital platforms and new platforms emerging I feel like every day and so there’s always someone who’s just a phone call or a zoom meeting or a TV show bracket away. So thank you guys so much for sharing your time today and I hope you enjoy the rest of your Saturday’s and thank you to everyone at home who’s tuning in to watch us. If you have ideas, you’d like to share we would love to have you join in the comments even after this live broadcast ends. Share your idea is a great way for all of us to stay connected. So thank you guys.