Social Media

Photography Trends in Social Media

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Getting ‘the shot’ doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes, we’ll schedule a photoshoot and it will take an hour to find the right setting, lighting and angle for just one photograph. The Genies have honed our photography skills to capture images that best represent our clients’ brands. Over the years, we’ve learned the type of images that perform better than others on social media. What’s trending and performing best at the moment?

1. Clean, crisp, light and bright images. White is super en vogue at the moment, and this home goods supplier hits the mark perfectly.


2. High resolution images. Some camera phones take great pictures, but a photo taken by a mirrorless or DSLR camera is going to show more detail and gain more attention. And…*hint*hint* Facebook indexes them higher. Here are some of the latest we took for our client in the footwear industry.


Naot Mystery Wedge

3. Images with a story behind them. @NatGeo is a well-known for providing the background behind each of their captivating Instagram photos which allows world issues to be shared and read by a global audience. @ChooseChicago is another unique account which features ‘Instagram Takeovers’ by local Chicagoans and it’s turned into the unofficial guide to Chicago through imagery.


4. Images attached to unique hashtags. Many brands have their own hashtags and when you click on them, you can scroll through a massive amount user generated content. One brand that did this exceptionally well was Mvmt Watches and their #jointhemvmt campaign. They have over 30,000 photos from fans telling their brand’s story to their networks of friends and followers. Another of my favorite hashtags to peruse is #ihavethisthingwithfloors. Though it’s not a brand, it’s opened up my eyes and made me pay attention to the variety of amazing flooring wherever I go.


How To Avoid Getting Your Instagram Account Deactivated

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, What Not to Post | No Comments

As an avid user of Instagram and having worked in social media for a couple years now, I have learned valuable tips to prevent your Instagram account from being deactivated:


  1. Do not go on a random following-spree. Most of these accounts will not follow you back, and you can “accidently” follow a lot of creeps. Instagram only allows you to follow a certain number of accounts per hour and could block your use of this feature for up to a week.
  2. Similarly, do not go on a liking-spree. Instagram will block your “liking” feature for any set amount of time, usually an hour, if you’re liking too many posts or liking too quickly.
  3. Post relevant, visually appealing, original content to your account prior to following accounts. Instagram may flag your account as spam if you start following accounts or commenting on content without posting any content to your own account. People will most likely not follow you back if you don’t have any content posted to your account or if it’s obvious that the content is not yours.
  4. Do not post images/videos that aren’t yours and slap your logo on it. If you’re going to use someone else’s content, tag them and give credit.


Sticking to these tips is a great way to avoid getting your account deactivated on Instagram. The process to get it restored is complicated and could take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks. Growing followers initially may be frustrating, but I found that staying in line with the brand’s voice and posting similar content works best.

Books & Facebook

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Think back to the early days of the internet, I’m talking pre-MySpace, when chain emails filled up 75% of our AOL inboxes. Heavy with capital letters, multi-colored font and riddled with typos, chain emails had us either catching our breath or rolling our eyes. Would we be murdered by a soul-sucking ghost if we hit “delete”? Would our crushes finally ask us out if we forwarded to ten people? Did we miss our chance to claim part of Bill Gates’ millions? Don’t deny it, 9 times out of 10 you probably forwarded the message too.

Now that chain emails are part of the distant past (except among my Dad’s friend group, it seems), we’ve moved on to bigger and better things. You know what I’m talking about. Yes, Facebook chain statuses. “Come on ladies, the Challenge is ON! If you have a man in your life who helps bring balance to your world, who isn’t perfect but is perfect for you…” – or – “Share if your daughter is beautiful and smart!” (Thanks mom ;))

Normally I scroll past these types of statuses faster than I can blink, but a few weeks ago one of them caught my eye. The “chain status” was posted by my friend Lindy and contained the phrase, “IF YOU LOVE TO READ!” If you know me, you know that there’s nothing I love more than getting lost in a good book. The gist of the status was this – I would buy one book to send to someone and in return, I could potentially receive up to 36 books. 36 books for the price of one?! Uhm, sold! All I had to do was ‘like’ the status and Lindy would send me more details. I know what you’re thinking, “What’s the catch?” I know, it crossed my mind too but I decided to like the status anyway and find out if it was worth re-posting.

Book Status

(My version of the post that got my attention)

Shortly after liking my friend’s post, I got a message from her that gave me all the details for moving forward with the process and no, I’m not revealing the instructions – you’ll have to friend me and like my status if you want in. 😉 To my surprise, there was no catch. Well, unless any of your friends are associated with murderers and give them your address but I mean what are the chances, right? Anyways, thanks to Amazon Prime I was able to send off my favorite book to a stranger within minutes, then I posted my status and waited for the likes to start rolling in.

After sending 40 odd messages to the friends who liked my status, my work was done. I was anxious to see if I’d receive anything, I would’ve been happy getting just one book back. Over the next two weeks, books started arriving on my doorstep. If you love reading as much as I do, you’ll understand the feeling I got – it’s seriously better than Christmas morning. In the first few days, 3 books showed up. I left for vacation shortly after and when I got back, another 5 books were waiting for me. Just a few days ago, my 9th book arrived. Hello – does it get any better than this? I spent roughly $12 on a book and got back my money’s worth and then some.


Getting a ton of books was great but I really think the best part about this whole chain status experiment was being able to share my love of reading with other people. Even if I wouldn’t have gotten anything back, it was cool to be able to send my favorite book to someone else who enjoys reading as much as I do. If you’ve seen this status on your newsfeed but were unsure about it, or if you get the chance to do something similar, I would highly recommend it! If you want more details, feel free to email me at

Social Media Tricks You Should Be Using

By | Funny Photos, Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media | No Comments


Social Media Tricks (2)

In the world of social media, features come and go as often as middle school relationships. This quick turnover of features, propelled by a corporate desire to find the next big thing first, makes it difficult to stay on top of what’s available at any given moment. So, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite (lesser known) features on each platform so you can start using them as well.

Facebook: Save Button

Awhile back, Facebook incorporated a save button on their site. This button easily enables users to hold onto any links, videos or photos that they’d like to look at later. By having them all in one place, you save the time and energy it would take to dig them up again.

Using this feature is extremely simple. The next time you come across content you’d like to save, click the light gray arrow in the top right corner of the post. Then, select the ‘Save post’ button, and Facebook will keep it bookmarked for you. To access it again, simply navigate to your ‘Saved’ folder, which is available in the left-hand toolbar on desktop and in the dropdown menu in the app.


This feature is an excellent one to teach your grandparents, parents and other non-tech savvy relatives. You’ll definitely stop hearing “Hold on! Where is that video I wanted to show you again?” as often.

Instagram: Post Notifications

With Instagram’s chronological order, posts by close friends easily get lost in the abyss of models eating granola on beaches, bloggers living more exciting lives than you and humor accounts referring to everything as ‘savage’ or ‘bae.’ However, a lot of users don’t realize that you can actually set-up notifications for when your favorite accounts post a new photo. This way, seeing the content you care about is simpler than ever.

To set-up post notifications, navigate to the particular account you care about, press the three dots in the top right corner and then select ‘Turn on Post Notifications.’ Now, you don’t have to manually search for your friends’ accounts if you’re interested in seeing their latest posts.


Stalking your crush just got taken to a new level.

LinkedIn: View Recent Activity

I hate LinkedIn – this is no secret. One of my biggest complaints about the platform was that finding content created by my connections felt nearly impossible. Unless I happened to be online when a post was published, I was completely out of luck. I recently discovered, though, that there is a way to view this content directly from a connection’s account.

To view recent activity by a connection or prospective connection, you must first navigate to their page. Then, click the down arrow next to the ‘Send a message’ button, and select ‘View recent activity.’


It’s about time, LinkedIn. About time.

Snapchat: QR Codes

I just discovered this trick last week although (apparently) most people already know about Snapchat’s QR code function. For those of you like me, however, you should know that you can now add friends on Snapchat without needing their username or phone number.

Instead, you pull up your unique Snapchat code (which can be found by clicking the tiny yellow ghost on the camera screen) and holding a friend’s phone over it, with the app camera open. Your friend’s phone will then read the code and automatically add you.


Tell everyone you know about this feature! Tell your friend who works in social media because they might not even know that this is a thing (oh wait, that’s just me?)!

Twitter: Gif Keyboard

After witnessing the overwhelmingly positive response Facebook received from making GIFs more accessible on its platform, Twitter decided to follow suit last month. Now, users have virtually thousands of GIFs at their disposal, directly on the site or in the app. I discovered that expressing yourself in 140 characters or less is a lot easier when you have Andy Dwyer reaction GIFs always at your fingertips.

To add a GIF to a tweet, simply select the tiny ‘GIF’ button – located between the location and poll buttons – to scour hundreds of options. Find the one that speaks your mind, and click to add it.

Now, I can conveniently let my audience know my mood when:

My post goes viral.

giphy (3)


Gossip Genie buys Glazed and Infused Doughnuts… again.


Tumblr: Inarticulate Bumbles

I’m in traffic for the 6th time this week.

nothing matters

Tumblr: I’m The Paris of People

All of the stair steppers at the gym are being used.

Tumblr: I'm The Paris of People

Tumblr: I’m The Paris of People

A friend invites me out for margaritas.

giphy (4)

Tumblr: Does It Look Like I’m Wearing a Party Hat?

Facebook Live: Why Live Video Matters for Your Business

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight | No Comments

With more and more ways to stream live video popping up, Facebook is getting into the action. I’ve talked a few times here about the emergence and popularity of video content for social media, specifically Facebook. Recently, Facebook has unveiled Facebook Live video, a streaming video service, similar to Meerkat and Periscope, where viewers are able to tune in to a live video stream from a business or personal page.

Live video has been a point of focus for Facebook in recent months, as it looks to broaden its News Feed to include more real-time content.

According to Facebook, people spend three times longer watching videos when they’re live compared to videos that are not live. To account for this, Facebook is altering its News Feed algorithm to make sure live videos appear higher in the stream.

In their latest blog post, they said:

“Now that more and more people are watching Live videos, we are considering Live Videos as a new content type – different from normal videos – and learning how to rank them for people in News Feed. As a first step, we are making a small update to News Feed so that Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in News Feed when those videos are actually live, compared to after they are no longer live.”

I’m excited to explore Facebook Live video further for my clients. It is great for marketers because it gives the ability to create an intimate, authentic connection with your audience while humanizing and personalizing your brand through behind-the-scenes video, coverage of live events, Q & A’s and more. Facebook Live also allows your audience to subscribe to your stream so that any time you are broadcasting, your audience gets a notification that you are live. I will keep you updated on my experience with Facebook Live!

Happy International Women’s Day

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It’s International Women’s Day and what a wonderful day to celebrate. In college I double majored in Communications and Women’s Studies. The confidence behind starting my own company was in part due to the courses I took in college that profiled determined, strong and successful women. It’s such a pleasure getting to work with so many women on a daily basis, coworkers and clients, that have the same qualities of the women my college courses profiled. Throughout my 6 years at Gossip Genie, I have worked with many different female owned businesses and it’s so rewarding to watch their businesses flourish. Here are 3 Gossip Genie clients that are female rockstars:LyndsayPS021-477x1024

Lyndsay Markley – The Law Office of Lyndsay Markley

Chicago-based attorney, Lyndsay Markley has dedicated her legal practice to fighting on behalf of persons who suffered injuries or death as the result of the wrongful or careless conduct of others. Her 2015 accolades include 10 Best Under 40 status from the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys, Premier 100 Trial Attorney status from the American Academy of Trial Attorneys and Illinois’ Rising Star status from Super Lawyers

Coco Meers – PrettyQuick
View More: Meers was a top marketer for L’Oreal working out of New York and Paris. As such, she spent a lot of time in airports. During a flight delay on a work trip, Coco was frustrated when she couldn’t use her downtime for an eyebrow wax. This sparked the idea for PrettyQuick, a beauty concierge app that makes finding and booking beauty appointments easy for women on-the-go. Since 2012, the Chicago-based service has expanded to five more cities and this year, was acquired by Groupon.

Mary Swabb – Eurostyle+ 

THURSDAY_NIGHT_68_7272deb3-43aa-426a-b727-cf0692bae22e_largeEurostyle Plus was founded by worldly traveler Mary Swaab, who also happens to be a born fashionista. Before bringing Eurostyle Plus to life, Mary often found herself frustrated with the lack of stylish plus-size clothing. During her travels, Mary discovered that Europe seemed to have more fashionable clothing than the U.S., so she made it her mission to bring it back to the States. It’s her personal belief that everyone should look fabulous no matter what size they are!

I Tried Snapchat’s New On-Demand Geofilters – Here’s What Happened

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Snapchat, Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, What's Trending | One Comment

Youtube: Snapchat

A few weeks ago, a close friend invited me to his birthday party, which happened to fall on a date I had prior plans. Even though I couldn’t make the event, I wanted to do something special as a ‘I wish I could make it, and I’m thinking of you!’ gift. I didn’t want to get the usual six-pack of beer or bake a basic funfetti cake so I tried to think outside of the box. That’s when I remembered that Snapchat rolled out a new feature a few weeks ago that lets its users create custom geofilters for weddings, bachelorette parties, family reunions – you name it. For a few dollars, users can now make their filter available for anywhere from an hour to a month. As a Social Media Coordinator, this party felt like a great opportunity to test out this new feature and give me some experience working with it.

So, here’s how my quest to give the most creative absentee birthday gift ever went.

Creating one was surprisingly easy

For some reason, I really expected to run into a great deal of trouble when creating this filter. I thought there would be all sorts of requirements or restrictions, but it was actually a really straightforward process.

Step 1: Create your filter. Overall, the limitations on what you could do were very minimal – no brand logos, no photographs of people, nothing drug-related, don’t cover up too much of the screen, obvious things of that nature. The only hiccup I ran into was sizing. Snapchat strictly requires that all filter submissions be 1080px wide by 1920px high. When I made my design transparent, the dimensions must have gotten thrown off because my first upload was rejected. A couple of minor tweaks later, and my filter was good to go.

My friend turned 23 so yes, this filter is a reference to both Michael Jordan and Blink 182.

Step 2: Choose your date and time. For this event, I just wanted the design to be available for my friends to snap a few photos before they headed out for the night. So, I ran my filter for only an hour on the night of the party. This time slot gave guests enough time to take some pictures and slide the ‘Nobody likes Kibs when he’s 23’ filter over their images before it went away.

Step 3: Choose a location. Since I wasn’t actually going to the event, I had no control over where my friends would be during my selected time period. So, I chose a location that included both an apartment and a bar I knew they were going to early on in the night, just to ensure that they wouldn’t miss it.

To pick the range, users draw a fence around the area they would like their filter to be available – it was a super easy tool to work with.

Step 4: Checkout! The first time I went to checkout, I had selected an area that would have cost me $40 (HAH!). So after reconfiguring my fence, I was able to drive the cost down to about $10. It takes a little bit of tinkering to find a time, location and price that meet your needs, but eventually I was able to find the perfect combination.

After I submitted my design, it took about 4 hours to get approval. Then, it was ready to go!

It worked – sort of

My design was approved, my card was charged, 10pm was almost here! I could not wait to see the snaps start rolling in, buuuuuuuut that’s not what happened. My partner in crime for this project (shoutout to Gina) texted me at 10:02 telling me it wasn’t working for anybody. It was so disappointing to hear. I had to email Snapchat support, not even sure if I would get a response. To my surprise, a customer service rep, Alex, replied almost instantly, understanding my frustration and ready to help. Even with his help, though, time kept passing without any luck. 10:10, 10:17, 10:32 – still nothing. It took awhile (almost my entire hour), but we were able to get it up and running (with a whole extra hour added to make up for lost time).

Personalized filter + alcohol = happy friends!

After all of that, I finally was getting the adorable snaps I wanted – friends smiling and dancing and posing, all with the filter on! FINALLY!

Looking back, I wish I used white text instead of black so it stood out better. You live and learn, I guess!

My takeaways

Snapchat definitely still has some glitches to fix on this feature. They blamed shaky GPS readings and my awkwardly shaped fence (I had to get both the apartment and the bar in, okay??) for the delay. However, if they intend to charge for this feature, there should not be such major difficulties to get it working.

However, with a few tweaks, these new filters can really change the way users and businesses interact with the app. From a business standpoint, this could become an effective way to raise brand awareness and increase audience engagement, particularly for companies looking to target younger demographics.

I am excited to try this feature again in a few weeks to see if its process has improved or remained the same. Until then, stay tuned!

Potato Pranks & Other Mail-Order Gag Gifts

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Did you know that you can send someone a potato in the mail? Yeah, like… an actual potato. If you’re a normal human being, there are probably a million questions going through your head right now – the most important being, “Why would you ever send anyone a potato?!” One inside joke later and a long story short – I asked my brother what he wanted for his birthday and in turn, received this weird potato meme. What do you do with that kind of sarcastic response? You open Safari and search, “send someone a potato.” Thanks to Google and Potato Parcel, I was able to have a prank potato in the mail about 5 minutes after receiving my brother’s text (see below).


To answer your second question – yes, I was just as surprised as you are that you can actually mail someone a potato. Could I have gotten a potato from the store and mailed it myself? Sure, but these people have got it down to a science, so why bother? My little potato prank got me thinking about other prank (or revenge) items that companies will send in the mail for you. Check out some of the hilarious, bizarre and even gross things I found below.

Ship Your Enemies Glitter


Photo via

When I saw this my initial thought was, “I could definitely think of worse things to send to an enemy.” I wanted to know how the glitter sending process works, so I watched this YouTube video. Although this company sends self-described “glitter bombs,” the product hardly lives up to the hype. Sure glitter is annoying because it sticks to literally EVERYTHING, but you’re essentially spending $9.99 for a bunch of glitter (that you could’ve paid $3 for at the craft store) to fall out of a piece of paper. On another note; they also sell “farm made horse manure, sprinkled in glitter,” posed as a cupcake and surrounded with toilet paper. I know… what?! Warning: the custom cupcake is NOT edible.

WTF Candles


For those with a lighter sense of humor and less hate in your heart, WTF candles are the mail-order gag gift for you. With the appearance of a lovely gift, these candles are actually more of a ticking time bomb. The first few times they’re lit, your victim won’t notice anything unusual. Then one day – BAM! Sweaty gym sock smell all up in your living room. Ranging from “dirty fart” to “stank breath,” these anonymous candles are the gift that keeps on giving. Seriously, they have a 30 hour burn time.

Poop Senders


I’m still having a hard time believing that I just typed that. Poop Senders, the name almost leaves no need for an explanation. Almost. According to their website, this company, “will (anonymously) send your friend or enemy a healthy helping of some of the nastiest, stinkiest, fresh poop packages you have ever seen.” You can even choose from cow, elephant or gorilla poo – lucky you! It appears that this service is in high demand, has over 10,000 Facebook fans. Uhm, what?! I guess if you really want to get even with someone, this is your chance.

Note from the editor: What goes around, comes around. Right, JT?

6 Years Strong

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Gossip Genie turns six on February 10th, 2016. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 6 years. In honor of our anniversary, I wanted to take a look back at what I have learned each year through Gossip Genie.

2010 – If you were to calculate what I was charging clients and how many hours I was actually working, I was probably making less than $5 an hour. I would bend over backwards for even the prospect of a client. I was so hungry for business; I would gladly take on the cheapest yet most demanding clients out there. There were many days when I would sit at my make-shift desk (kitchen counter) for 14 hours straight working on every aspect of my newly founded little business. I did not set any client boundaries and I soon realized that it was going to lead to premature burn out on my part if I kept up at that pace. It took me a long time to realize that it’s okay to say no or to charge more because it’s reflection of your business and worth. It was at the end of this year that I put together structured pricing and detailed scopes of work.


I have always been very frugal with my expenses and my collateral in 2010 proves that (bottom left)

2011 – Thanks to the wonderful interns I had hired in 2010, I was ready to hire a full time employee. Let’s just say I learned a valuable lesson in hiring, firing, employee contracts, trial periods and intuition from the person that I hired (she is not in any of these pictures). Hopefully she has updated her resume since we worked together to include skills such as defamation of character, thievery and fabrication on another level. Let’s just leave it at that, growing your own business and finding the right people is a very complicated process. That was a bump in the road and my interns helped me pick up the pieces. At the end of 2011, I got married and it was the first time I turned on my out of office in almost two years. It was short lived because a few days into my honeymoon, I left my strawberry daiquiri melting on the beach in Hawaii to hop on a new business call. I spent the rest of the afternoon doing work in our honeymoon suite. Side note – the picture of the cookie in the upper left hand corner of the collage is from my bridal shower. Yes, the theme of my bridal shower was Gossip Genie – that’s how much I love what I do.

Client products came with me on my honeymoon and everywhere else

Client products came with me on my honeymoon and everywhere else



Bottom right – Colleen at her “desk” in my apartment. We had to use a laptop in the literal sense.


2012 – The hard work was paying off; Gossip Genie was growing at a rate every entrepreneur dreams about. It was a pivotal year for us; we successfully made it to our second anniversary, which many start-ups fail to do. I hired Elizabeth in January and Anthony in August. I knew from the moment I met them both that I needed them on my team. Four years later, I am still fortunate to call them my coworkers and the evolution and growth of Gossip Genie is largely in part due to them. A solid team can take your company to the next level but in order to build a solid team, you need to trust and support the people on that team. I learned a lot about managing a team in 2012, I caught myself micromanaging at times and Elizabeth helped me realize how detrimental that can be to the success of a team. I vowed never to do that again and that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. In May we moved into an office and out of the second bedroom in my condo. We ended the year with a 62% increase in revenue over the previous year.

Jean Chatzky 140

Second bedroom office

new office

New office

Genies painting

Genie Office Painting Party in 2015









2013 – At this point we had some really incredible clients on our roster. We were on our second year working with a Fortune 500 company, TDS Telecom and in August we signed Reynolds Consumer Products and Hefty Brands. In September we put on an incredible hour-long presentation for social media week about the ROI of Social Media. Our seminar sold out and we signed a client as a result of it. This was another year of extreme growth and learning.

2014 – By far the worst year of my entire life, I wouldn’t know that until July 24th but just the mere mention of 2014 makes me cringe. Despite my unimaginably difficult personal life, Gossip Genie continued to thrive. That is a testament to how incredible my team truly is and how fortunate I am to work with them. It was this year that Stephanie Reed and Anneliese Peper joined us, two fabulous additions to our team. Unfortunately, we lost Stephanie to London due to the expiration of her visa but in the two years we worked together she introduced PR as an additional service to Gossip Genie. I’ve learned that it’s so important to always search for additional sources of revenue, updating services and refreshing/enhancing current offerings.



2015- Gossip Genie had been around for half a decade. The company had been through ups and downs, client wins and losses, many new hires and fires. Over the past 3 years, Elizabeth had been so instrumental in our growth through incredible client acquisitions; she deserved a piece of ownership in Gossip Genie. I was thrilled to give her 10% of Gossip Genie as a token of my appreciation. Elizabeth was made VP and Anthony was deservedly made Director of Social Media. It has been one of my greatest professional pleasures having watched Anthony evolve at Gossip Genie. His passion, dedication and loyalty to his clients is beyond admirable. In May we hired Dana and Kristina, both have been a wonderful addition to our team. This year I learned a few very valuable things, fight for what you believe in even if it means getting lawyers involved to collect what you are owed. I also learned to relinquish control when necessary, I took a 3-month maternity leave at the end of 2015 and Gossip Genie continued to flourish despite my absence. In contrast to 2014, 2015 was the best year of my life, my sweet baby girl arrived, Liv Liberman, on September 25th, 2015.

Liv-hannah drews chicago newborn photographer-66      1507948_10152793820283542_1544226469681933223_n


2016 – It’s clear that Gossip Genie has been the greatest learning experience of all time. I learn something new every day and these past 6 years have provided more education than any number of years in school could ever provide. I learn from my clients, I learn from my coworkers and I learn from trial and error. I would not trade my job for any other in the world. This year I hope to continue to grow and somehow find the perfect work/life balance.