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Karen

There has been a lot of talk around our the Sandstorm Design office about possible “days.” Accent day, musical day, Spanish day (Día de Español), wacky socks day, potluck day. But pajama day is the one that really got our staff excited. So we brought this office talk into fruition and deemed the day after the holiday party Pajama Day. It was already a half-day workday (one of our cool holiday gifts was that the office didn't open until 1:00 PM the day after the holiday party), so coming to work in our pajamas was only appropriate.

It turns out, sleeping in and wearing pajamas is good for business. We were on top of our to-do lists, our brainstorming sessions left the whiteboard overflowing with ideas, and the overall office vibe was relaxed, comfy, and productive. What? Holiday stress? Not at Sandstorm Design.

This blog was posted by Karen on December 21, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

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Karen

At Sandstorm, we’re experts at a lot of things – branding, usability, marketing… and general holiday merriment. Yes, at Sandstorm we know how to do the holidays! We gathered Sunday night with our significant others at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba for the annual Sandstorm holiday party. For some of us, including me, it was our first holiday party with Sandstorm, and I’m sure I speak for all of us newcomers when I say it was even more fun than I had anticipated. With sangria in hand (or beer, or margarita), we laughed the night away. Everyone ordered a few tapas, and then the plates just started passing.

Fried goat cheese? Yes, please.

Spicy potatoes? Yup, right here.

Something with mayonnaise? I’ll take it.

Something with bacon? Pass that to Zak. 

We ate, drank, and cracked jokes until our cheeks were sore from laughing so hard. Then there was the Dirty Santa game. Alma stole Holly’s #1 spot this year, and got to be the first to pick a present, and the last to steal. Even though we had a private room, I’m pretty sure the whole restaurant could hear our Ooooh’s and Aaaah’s as each gift was unwrapped, and our bursts of laughter when someone would steal a coveted gift (like the Christmas Story leg lamp, or the neck massager, or the vampire Abe Lincoln book). And just when you thought you couldn’t eat, drink or laugh any more, they brought the dessert menu. To make the night even better, Sandy made an announcement that the office wouldn’t open until 1:00 PM the next day. Like I said, Sandstorm knows how to do the holidays.

This blog was posted by Karen on December 20, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

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Karen
Surprise Decking of Sandstorm’s Halls

Here at Sandstorm, we all tend to take on the same mood of the day. You'll know when we’re in our Friday mood because the jokes are more frequent and the laughter is a lot louder. We also get in seasonal moods, enjoying cider in the fall and tea in the winter. And now that the holidays are upon us, we thought it would be fun to deck the halls to accompany our festive mood!

So on this extra wintery Monday morning, the Sandstorm staff arrived to see lights strung, gifts wrapped and stockings stuffed. To add to our already hefty supply of sweets, there are now candy canes, old-fashioned candies, peppermints and lollipops on just about every table. Everywhere you turn there are decorations to remind you of the season. Along with all this snowy weather, we now have a fully decorated office to keep us in the holiday spirit!

Speaking of holidays, I still need to get my Dirty Santa gift for this weekend’s Sandstorm Holiday Party…

This blog was posted by Karen on December 13, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

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Karen
Mystery Offsite Mandatory Marketing Meeting Revealed

Our Sandstorm Design staff couldn’t stop talking about the mystery “Offsite Mandatory Meeting” scheduled for Friday. Concerns included what type of meeting this would be, exactly how far off site we would be going, and what type of clothing we would need (hiking gear, perhaps?).

With the meeting scheduled for 3:00 PM, Sandy called our anxious staff into a conference room at 2:45 PM to reveal that we would not be having a meeting after all. We would, however, be going off site – to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 on opening day! After a few excited updates to Facebook and text messages to jealous family members, we threw on our coats, jumped in the cars, passed out the tickets, claimed a row in the theater, and sat back to enjoy the Friday afternoon show. Sandy sure knows how to keep a smile on our faces! Thanks from all of us!

This blog was posted by Karen on November 22, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

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Karen

We are proud to announce the launch of the new F.H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen web site! We love working with this construction company, some say we’re almost as “Paschen”-ate as they are. Great people, great work, and a great history. We couldn’t wait for this site launch!

In addition to a new branded look and feel, the web site is filled with interactive video and functionality. We built a searchable project database that includes over 100 of their top projects. We also created an interactive experience on the homepage, new custom videos, an interactive map and a dynamically building ‘Contact Us’ form. To top it all off, custom photography highlights one of the company's strongest points of pride – their people. We couldn’t be more passionate about launching this web site for F.H. Paschen, a company we are proud to call our client and partner.

This blog was posted by Karen on November 15, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Karen

Sandstorm Design is hiring! We're looking for a freelance ASP.NET Developer with Sitecore CMS experience. We have been (and will be) busy creating the concepts, designs and information architecture for a site for a large local non-profit and need your development skills to build it. The project will be starting in development in January 2011 with some up front consultation needed immediately. Ideally, we would like to find a local Chicago ASP.NET contractor with whom we can build a long-term relationship to help with this project as well as future projects.

Candidates must have 4+ years .NET experience, preferably with a Microsoft certification, 1+ years hands-on experience using Sitecore CMS and 2+ years experience with MsSQL. We would like someone with experience developing high volume web applications, and the ability to design database tables, stored procedures and SQL Queries. You will need to know HTML and CSS. We also need you to be able to meet project timelines and budgets, collaborate with peers on a project to meet client needs, and have strong written and verbal communication skills. We're looking for a highly motivated, detail-oriented individual with excellent problem solving skills and a passion for delivering high quality products and creating highly usable web sites that optimize the user experience. A few pluses that will give you an edge: experience with AJAX/Jquery, developing e-commerce sites, and/or familiarity with Shopsite shopping site software.

Think you might be the one we are seeking? Submit your resume and work samples and/or links to jobs@sandstormdesign.com. Please NO phone calls.

This blog was posted by Karen on November 15, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

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Karen

It’s easy to love your job when you work for Sandstorm Design, and it’s even easier when the projects that come your way are for organizations that are working to make the world a better place – like The Cradle, an open adoption agency in Chicago. Along with giving them a fresh, new look, we also made their site easy to update by completing development in Drupal so that they can change their content regularly with current news, new waiting families, and new stories of success.

We loved working with The Cradle and being a part of helping birthparents, adoptive families, and adopted children come together to create their own unique family stories. We are so proud to launch this web site!

This blog was posted by Karen on .
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Karen

Sandstorm Design is excited to announce the launch of SRES.org! We’re so happy to provide this excellent resource to anyone age 50+ with real estate needs, helping them connect with SRES® designees all over the country. The SRES® designation, offered by the National Association of REALTORS®, indicates specialization in the real estate needs of those age 50+. Baby boomers can visit this web site to easily search for an SRES® designee near them, and prepare themselves for what types of considerations they’ll face with their real estate decisions.  We love working with the National Association of REALTORS® and marketing to seniors, and couldn’t be more excited to launch this web site!

This blog was posted by Karen on November 2, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Karen

Sandstorm Design is thrilled to announce the e-PRO® logo and website launch! e-PRO® is a certification from the National Association of REALTORS® that helps REALTORS® build their businesses online. We loved working on this web site to encourage interaction and conversation (our specialty). A social media API integration on the homepage, including their blog, Facebook and Twitter pages, continues the conversation beyond the website. And certificate holders can create and update a profile to stay connected with clients and peers.

At Sandstorm, we’re all about staying connected with those you really enjoy working with, and that makes this launch even more exciting!

This blog was posted by Karen on November 1, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Karen
Secret Ingredient Wins Marketing Firm's Guac-Off

Tasting the guacamole

The Sandstorm crew gathered on Sunday afternoon with bowls of guacamole in hand for our marketing firm’s annual Guac-Off. I had suspected the competition would be steep, but my poor minimalist recipe really didn’t stand a chance. The colors and flavors of the different guacamoles on the table were diverse, intriguing, and sometimes shocking (chocolate guacamole?!). Once the tasting began, some of us couldn’t even tell which was ours. I personally made one round to taste them all, and a second round to try to identify mine.

In the end, it was a snazzy, secret ingredient that made the winning dish stand out. Janna and her husband Tim used smoked paprika (yes, smoked paprika) in their recipe and won the trophy! There were so many tasty guacamoles, but this one was definitely one of the more creative. Congratulations Janna and Tim!

This blog was posted by Karen on October 25, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

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