AD2ATX Chat 'N Brew at Walton's Fancy and Staple

My friend Dani Thibodeau is always encouraging me to go to AD2ATX's events.* She's a board member so it's kind of her job.

*AD2ATX is the young professional sector of Austin Ad Fed for Advertising people under 32

On a mission to find interns, I made it out to Chat 'N Brew despite having a very hectic day and needing to pack for a conference the next day.

I couldn't figure out which side I fell on. Was I a young professional? Was I a mentor? Was I wearing underwear? It was unclear.

The room quickly split like the Red Sea and I was left in the middle. I raised a somewhat-unkempt eyebrow at Dani. We shrugged simultaneously and moved to the mentor side of the great divide.

In the course of 2.5 hours I met about 20 people who are mostly interested in working in advertising. I shared a table with a lady who worked in social media for large corporations. We got to know each other's professional lives pretty quickly. By the third round of table switches, we could tell each other's stories. By the 5th round of switches we were desparate for water. It was a lot of talking.

The mentally exhausting and laryngitis-causing experience was worthwhile overall. It was encouraging to see the genuine interest on people's faces as I described the internship program I'm building at work. Chat 'n Brew brought a renewed interest in the advertising world that I thought I had left behind a little after college.

One of these days I'll officially join AD2ATX.

By the way, I fancied a drink while at Walton's Fancy and Staple and enjoyed a champagne with lavender syrup. It gave me the the strength to be less awkward. I think...

I Quit

I did it.

I quit my job as an Online Merchandising Analyst at Living Direct. After three years featuring countless hours of hard work and plenty of shenanigans I've left a familiar windowless cube for a new windowless office.

During my tenure, I was able learn more than I could ever imagine about compact (and sometimes not-so-compact) appliances. In that time I learned not only what to do, but more importantly I learned what not to do.

It is still somewhat strange to know I will no longer be asked to test Kegerator manuals nor will I facilitate and (take second place) in T-shirt contests that involve Jason Roussos. I also won't be hosting ice cream bridal showers for overzealous Bengals fans.

photo by Annie Ray

I miss my Living Direct work friends but am lucky to have met so many smart and talented people who I will keep in my heart.

Leaving so many wonderful people has been difficult, but I have much to look forward to in my new position that is decidedly in the right direction.

Exactly one month ago I started my new job as a Marketing Coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin and am surrounded by some of my loves - mainly food and Texas Longhorns. I'm still somewhat surprised that I got what I wanted and will be paid for doing social media (among other things). You can follow me at work @utexasdining.

In my new adventure, I will be challenged with managing people and marketing very large amounts of food. I will also have more "free" time to work on my own projects as kathyphantastic.

I leave you with some pictures from my parting celebration. The Living Directors created a cake pop of memories and dressed trendy for me. Am I really that trendy? I was aiming for stylish. I guess that's okay.

Farewell happy hour at Vivo which spilled over into Red House Pizzeria.

In true kathyphantastic style, I "cuted up" the Roussos shirt for my Roussos lunch/farewell festivities.

Living Direct, thanks for the memories. I hope you enjoyed the cake pops and the lunch recommendations.

And yes, I did leave this banner on my dual monitors with the help of a friend.

I Quit banner, kathyphantastic on Etsy, $19

Living Direct 2010 Christmas Party Photobooth by Annie Ray

Remember how I mentioned December was crazy? One of the reasons was the Living Direct Christmas party I had been planning for months (initially with my friend and former coworker John) was a blast.

As a company with mostly north Austin based employees, we chose Maggiano's Little Italy at the Domain as our location. Our (waitstaff) captain Andrew was great and super attentive. Maggiano's offered gluten-free and vegetarian options for the protein averse like myself.

I heard little complaint about food, location, or parking and almost everyone seemed to be in good spirits. That's all I could ask for...that and Santa Claus making an appearance. The latter didn't happen.

We were even able to have Annie Ray's photobooth document the debauchery. Here are my favorites:

See the use of the diamonds from the Diamond Sweater Phenomenon. I hope this continues to be a Living Direct tradition.

Alex gets mad at me every time someone refers to the diamonds. This happens often. I think he's finally learning to accept it. I'd say he's at stage 4 in the Kubler-Ross model of stages of grief.

Oh yeah, Florent requested Alex wear the diamond sweater to the party as his goodbye gift. Nathalie's date just happened to be wearing the exact same outfit. Win!

I do regret not getting a marketing department picture together.

You can see the rest of the pictures on Annie Ray's website. Which are your faves?

Robots for Flobot

two bots hanging out on a ledge

My silly birthday celebration ideas tend to get passed at work.

We decorated Florent's decor-free desk with Play-doh sculptures in his honor. There was a time when he borrowed other co-workers' desk decor to seem more like a "real employee." Florent took a framed baby picture and pretended it was his child. Happy Birthday Florent! You get your own desk sculptures.

dehumidifier and buddha

There's a theory that he's actually a robot from France. This should explain all the robot sculptures.


Some sculptures were better than others.


It's great how much happiness $2 worth* of Play-doh can bring.

*Note: Play-doh was 75% off after Valentine's Day.

robots & mexican martini

That thing on the tofu robot that looks kinda like an anatomical heart is actually a habanero. You do remember Florent eating habaneros, don't you?

tofubot takes a seat

Jason Roussos T-Shirt Design Takes 2nd


I'm Number 2. I'm Number 2. Roussos takes 2nd.

My design took 2nd place in the company-wide T-shirt design contest.

The Shepard Fairey inspired design beat out 33 other designs to lose to a "I heart twins" dual tap kegerator design. Yep, it's that kind of company.

Original Roussos

I managed to get the President/COO Jason Roussos to pose in an Obama-like manner looking hopeful and up and to the left and traced his image in illustrator. Man, that was a lot of work. First place gets their design printed on shirts for the entire company and $250. Second place gets a pack of Hanes Beefy-Ts and 2 Ken's Tacos. This, unfortunately, was my idea. Had I known, I would have said second place wins $500 and a week's vacation.

Roussos T-Shirt Dark Grey

Roussos is a real character - in a good way. He's pretty hilarous and a good sport. He agreed to get the shirt printed because he wants to have a shirt of himself and I get one, too. I wonder if I can get it printed on a dress. Perhaps this can be my first foray into fashion design. Roussos screenprinted apparel. I like it.

Here's what happened the last time I won second.


Pre-Tasty Up Tour: Franklin Barbecue Farewell Lunch

Last Friday aka the day before Tasty Up Trailer Tour, I went to a Franklin Barbecue during lunch. Yes, I'm still vegetarian. No, I'm not crazy, and no, I didn't eat. I just had a Sweet Leaf half and half and enjoyed the company.

Topo Chico and group photo with me by Cody Jenkins, others by kathyphantastic

Why did I go? Because I had to. It was my boss' last day at the company and it was camaraderie. In the same way that guys will often need an activity to hang out and talk. I knew I needed to go to Franklin Barbecue Trailer Lunch, and that afternoon I was one of the guys.

As a second-hand barbecue eater, I thought the food was great. I heard lots of satisfied grunts and was happy to see that no one put down their food until they were finished.


I looked around and took pictures. The grounds are decorated to look like a 1950s trailer park complete with tiki string lights and retro tulip chairs. I spied some pink flamingos, a lawn gnome, and the best speaker housing I've ever seen.

photo by Cody Jenkins

Later after some more Franklin BBQ research I discovered that they serve Tempeh Frito Pie. I didn't see this on the chalkboard menu, but I wasn't really looking. This means I can go with my coworkers and eat something next time. Sadly, it will be without Brian. I hope Franklin's tempeh Frito pie is as tasty as Billy's on Burnet's veggie Frito pie.


Brian Wulfe left to start his own company where he'll be managing online advertising for small business. Congratulations to him. I am so proud of him.

Brian is a leader with great business sense and common sense, someone who would really listen and cared about our lives. He plays well with others and after a slew of terrible managers, his outstanding leadership will be missed. His leaving is both a huge loss for appliances and a huge win for himself.

The next few months will be hard.

My heart is heavy.

Wulfe Pop

Movember Mustachioed Cupcakes

Mustachioed Cupcakes

One of our work Twitter followers, @shortorder, suggested we make Guinness Gasm cupcakes for Movember, to get everyone excited for an especially hairy month. The Guinness Gasm is a chocolate Guinness cupcake with a Bailey's Irish creme frosting. Irish cupcake heaven, if you ask me. Check out the recipe at SF Food Wars.

tiny handlebar

Over the weekend, Christine (pictured above) baked mini cupcakes and made the icing while I cut out a bunch of tiny moustaches and hot glued them to toothpicks. We figured tiny cupcakes would let us feed the masses.

moustache against floral

This post really should have gone out 2 months ago, sorry if any of your Movember festivities proved lacking without the Guinness Gasm. I'm pretty sure they're also tasty in months that don't end in "ovember."


I made some extra paper mustaches for co-workers who had trouble growing their own.

Movember Mosaic

Diamond Sweater Day

Today was Diamond Sweater Day at work. Alex (pictured without diamond sweater) has an epic knitted sweater that he refuses to wear. So, for his birthday, I cut out a bunch of black and blue diamonds and had a bunch of people wear grey sweaters so we could recreate this famed "Diamond Sweater" with our own. After cries of "Kathy, I hate you! I'm burning that sweater" I like to think he accepted our shenanigans and had a pretty good work birthday.

*Note: This picture really over-represents the prevalence of women and Asian Americans in the company. Also, a few diamond sweater-clad co-workers were unable to be pictured here. There was overwhelming support of the Diamond Sweater and we hope to welcome its return in January 2010.

Diamond Sweater + Sombrero

This is the original diamond sweater, the one and only.



New Dual Tap Kegerator Unveiled

The new dual tap kegerator was unveiled at work today. I had the honor of drawing on the chalkboard keg taps. Sierra Nevada and Shiner Blonde -- I enjoy drawing beer much more than drinking it. The double tap kegerator will be available at

If any of you want to commission me for some taphandle art, I would be happy to work with you.