FLX Creative

Finger Lakes // Web Design // Graphic Design // Social Media

filed under Geekery

I love when you talk geeky to me.

I’ve had a number of conversations with friends and family lately asking me about setting up a blog or improving an existing site.

I keep recommending the same two things over and over again, so I became an affiliate so that I get a little kick-back for recommending them.

I highly recommend Divi WordPress Theme from Elegant Themes. Elegant Themes also has some really great plugins included in the price of their theme package. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Both gopromom.com and inthefingerlakes.com run on Divi. This blog does not, because, I’m too lazy to switch it over at the moment.

I recommend Bluehost.com which has plans for as low as $4/month.

If you use the Elegant Themes and Bluehost links when you sign up, they’ll know you came from me, and credit my affiliate account. Let me know, so I can thank you dearly. :-)



Hilarious Commercials Don’t Make Up for Shippy Experiences post image

I’m on an experience kick lately. Probably because the company I now work for has customer service completely nailed and that inspires me.

I wrote a blog post recently about an unexpectedly phenomenal customer service experience, and since we’re on the topic of experience, it seems appropriate to share a terrible experience here too. In fact, I’m going to create a brand spanking new blog category: experience. This is where I’ll put customer service and user experience posts.

So, have you seen the Kmart commercial that has recently created quite a stir (and prompted protests, too)? If not, the video is at the bottom of this post, but I must warn you: it. is. hilarious.

My laugh-o-meter is pretty stiff. If I laugh out loud (for real, not just ha ha LOL) at the television, it’s some pretty dang funny stuff. Kmart got me. And they got me good.

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I Found a Customer Service Genius on EBay post image

I didn’t say I bought a customer service genius, but I did find one. I did actually  buy some jeans on eBay though (it’s a very convenient way of shopping, you know, especially on iPhone or iPad).

I actually bought two pairs of jeans from two different sellers (why did I buy jeans on Ebay?). One pair came in a USPS Priority Mail Envelope, and I wouldn’t have expected anything more than that. But the second pair that arrived really caught my attention. So much so, that I had to tell you about it.

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filed under Fitness (or Lack Thereof), Me


Have you heard the term “embrace the suck”? It’s something you tell yourself to just power through and git ‘er done.

I joined a Crossfit class here in Penn Yan this week. I thought I’d get in shape, or something. Do you know anything about it? It can be pretty intense.

In any situation, the way I embrace the suck is through sarcasm. Laughter is the best medicine, right?

So, here’s 10 things I thought during my Crossfit classes this week.

#1 Nice, Cross fit is conveniently located across from the Wagner Restaurant, where Ambulance personnel are frequently stationed. It’s also just one block from the funeral home.

#2 The paperwork Sean makes you fill out before starting the class is probably just to give the ambulance personnel a head start on your Patient Care Report.

#3 The chalk I use to mark each completed ‘workout of the day’ set can be used for my body’s chalk outline.

#4 Wow, I have taken more pain meds as a result of Crossfit than I did birthing my kids.

#5 Do you think I can use the back door as a handicap entry/exit?

#6 Burpees should be called Pukees or Dizzees.

#7 Just pretend you’re running from a gang of hoodlums. Oh, we’re running down East Elm St? It’s not really necessary to pretend.

#8 Awesome, this giant rubber band on the pull-up bar is like a slingshot for chin ups.

#9 I can’t feel my feet or legs. Cool, I always wondered what it was like to have an epidural.

#10 I wonder if a kettlebell is considered a blunt force instrument. Next time someone says, “if it’s hurting its working”, we’ll find out.

I could go on with all the things I’ve thought after Crossfit when I feel like 103 year old lady, but I thought I should keep the post clean and profanity free :)

(photo cred: gadgetgrid.com)

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Major Pitfall of Scheduled, Sponsored Facebook Ads: Yicky. post image

You may end up looking like a nincompoop.

I’ve read about examples like this before, and thought I’d share it because it came up in my own FB news feed.

Amid posts of prayers, concerns, updates, and photos regarding the Boston Marathon tragedy today, this sponsored post appears in my timeline. And there’s nothing wrong with that, really. But it just looks yicky.

I don’t know the stats, but chances are if a person is on Facebook, they are seeing similar posts of concern, and aren’t looking for Free Webinars. I dunno. Maybe it’s just me.


filed under A Pleasure Doing Business, Geekery, Me

This is a follow up to my blog post about Shifting Gears.

One week from today, I’ll be starting a new job as the Web & Digital Media Manager at Wood-Tex Products in Himrod, NY. I’m really excited about it, and I feel really great about making the decision to switch gears from full-time self employed to full-time employee.

Truthfully though, I didn’t really see the shift coming. I wasn’t looking for a full-time job. Business is good and I am enjoying my work, despite the growing feeling that I’m not really going somewhere. I was just kinda cruising along, enjoying my freedom and my home office. To stick with the travel metaphor, I wasn’t really lost, but I was starting to wonder if I should look at a map.

When I was presented with an opportunity to work full-time for a company I’d never worked with before, for people I’ve never worked with or even known before, it seemed like a good time to take a long hard look at my career, my business, and what I really love to do work-wise.

So I have done a lot of thinking about how to know when to switch gears. There is no magic formula. Your vehicle does not tell you specifically when to shift. Sure, you can read the tachometer and shift when it’s between 2500 and 3500 RPMs, and you’d probably do okay for yourself (and be bored out of your mind).

The real trick is this: You Just Know.

It’s that easy.

It’s that hard.

It’s reading your instruments + looking ahead + looking behind + checking your mirrors + observing your surroundings.

It’s using your sight + hearing + sense of touch to determine when it looks, sounds, and feels like it’s time.

It’s a feeling in your gut. That’s the only way to explain it. Here’s hoping I’m right!

Over the next few days, weeks, and months, flxcreative.com will see a shift as well. It will shift from a “hire me!” site to something else. Something that I intend to be useful. Something that I intend to maintain as a resource for anyone who does any kind of web-related marketing in the Finger Lakes, for any kind and size of business, organization, hobby, interest or blog.

I will continue to work on projects like krossinkeuka.org and inthefingerlakes.com.

I will continue to accept freelance projects. Are you a construction company? If you need a website, I need a new front porch. Call me.


How Many Different Ways can I say “I Make Stuff on the Web”? post image

I’m not a fan of the term “Marketing”. It’s too broad, and too old. A word I like even less is “Marketer” (The British ‘Marketeer’ is better because it sounds cleverer, but it means the same thing: I sell stuff), because it sounds salesly and I’m not a salesy person. But when it comes down to it, if you work in the web industry, you work in the marketing industry. You’re selling something – a product, a service, an idea, an agenda.

So what do I call myself?

Sometimes I say I’m a “web person”. My father in law often asks me if I still “work on the Internet” or if people still pay me to “set up web pages”. My Mom usually tells people I “make websites”.

I usually say “I’m a web designer“. I feel the urge to immediately follow up with, “but wait, there’s more!“.

I anticipate the day when I new term is invented that means “person who designs and builds websites, develops strategies and creates content, uses the web to build communities for the good of mankind and for the sale of some product, service, idea or agenda.”

Until then, I’ve changed my twitter profile to Web Designery Socializer. 


I am pretty lazy about domain name renewal. I have been trying to transfer domain names over to namecheap.com [all Name Cheap links are affiliate links] as they come up for renewal on GoDaddy, but sometimes I just say “forget it” and let it auto renew (why transfer?).

Part of the problem is the process is overly complicated. It’s almost as complicated as getting your kids ready to go somewhere. As a matter of fact, the two processes are quite similar.

Here’s the basic steps I use to transfer a domain name from GoDaddy to another registrar (Name Cheap, in this case). This is a quick and dirty guide, and assumes you know something about domain names and registrars, even if very little.

Phase 1: Prepare your kids to leave the house

Sit your kids down for a chat
Log into GoDaddy and select the domain name to “launch” it.
Let them know you’re all leaving the house to go somewhere
Unlock the domain. Check your administrative contact email address (to make sure it’s current as well).
Make sure the kids understand that we are getting ready to leave right now, so be prepared for shoes, coats, diapers, and pottying
Select “Send by Email” for Authorization Code. You would also need to disable privacy protection service for the domain (if it’s enabled).

Phase 2: Getting your kids out the door

Start and unlock the car, and head towards it. Program you phone’s map app or GPS with the location you are headed.
Go to your new registrar (Name Cheap transfer page) and enter the domain names you’re transferring, and confirm.
Get the kids in the car
You’ll add those domains to your cart, and then you can enter the EPP code the GoDaddy should have sent by now.
Buckle the kids into their seats
Check out.
Make the kids wait in the car while you finish getting yourself ready
Wait for an email from your new registrar. You’ll get a receipt emailed to you, but what you’re really waiting for is more instructions from them. Move to Phase 3 when you’ve received that email.

Phase 3: Getting to the new location

Follow directions and GPS carefully
Your authorization email from the NEW registrar will have specific instructions for authorizing the transfer. You will probably have a very specific link in that email that you have to click. It will take you to a page where you accept the agreement and transfer.
Freak out and double check your directions and destination address
Once you’ve agreed and authorized, you will get an email from the OLD registrar letting you know that a request was made to transfer your domain name – this is to make sure it was actually you, and not someone trying to steal it. You don’t need to do anything with this email.
Enjoy the ride, your GPS will let you know once you’ve arrived
Once you’ve gotten to this point, the NEW registrar has 5 days to complete the transfer. Once it is completed, you will get an email from them letting you know.

Now that I’ve written it out in a way I can relate to, I (and you!) can refer to this guide when transferring domain names. On a side note, the Name Cheap links are affiliate – if you purchase or transfer a domain name by clicking on my link, I get a small kick back. Thanks in advance! ;)


filed under A Pleasure Doing Business, Geekery, Me

91 Civic, courtesy of coches.com

91 Civic, courtesy of coches.com

Do you know how to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission? I will assume that you do. Do you remember learning? I learned to drive stick on a ’91 Honda Civic Hatchback that belonged to my sister. She tried to teach me. It was not pretty. Once I got my license, I’d take her car across town, by myself, just to practice. I would avoid all stop lights, all stop signs at an incline, and as much “heavy traffic” (in Penn Yan…) as I possibly could.

Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall in Days of Thunder 1990 from beyondhollywood.com

Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall in Days of Thunder (1990) via beyondhollywood.com

Beyond the “this is the clutch, this is pedal” instruction, I taught myself how to do it (and with a little help from Robert Duvall and Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder ).

“Now, Cole, when you shift the gear, and that little tach needle goes into the red and reads 9,000 RPM, that’s bad.” – Harry to Cole in Days of Thunder

It wasn’t until several years later that I realized that a ’91 Civic is just plain hard to drive, let alone learn on. The transmissions in those suckers are like some sort of Japanese torture device. Nice. I had taught myself how to drive stick on the hardest car EVER. Thanks, universe.

When I started my career as a web designer in 2007, I did so in a manner completely opposite of the typical college graduate. Near the end of my college education, I said, “I’m going to work for myself. People need a web person, I’ll be their web person” (of course it wasn’t quite that simple of a decision, but that’s the gist of it). Instead of looking for employment at some corporate-ish web company in a major metropolis, I happily donned the jeans-and-t-shirt uniform of the freelance work force, did up some business cards, and proceeded to push out some pretty horrific (some were okay) web creations as “Meredith Marsh Design”.

Soon I felt that using my actual name as my company name was possibly conceited or self-centered, so I switched things up and called my business “FLX Creative” (that’s FLX pronounced “eff el ex”). Thankfully I got better at web design, and learned to like growing client relationships and connecting with people, whether they were in the market for a web person or not.

I felt like I was grooving in third gear. You know, the gear that you downshift to when making tight turns but don’t really want to slow down? The gear you downshift to when you’re going up a giant hill? The gear you downshift to when you want the engine to work really hard but not gain a whole lot of speed? I was doing better than second or first gear, but I was really only going about 25-30 mph. Enough to get somewhere but not really “going somewhere“, ya know what I’m saying?

It’s hard to know where somewhere is. I have enjoyed nearly everything about self-employment and working from my home. Flexible schedule. Work in my PJs. Afternoon naps (honestly, I did that once when I was ill). Free-flowing coffee. Just plain good old fashioned freedom. “My name is Meredith, and I’m an American. I’m addicted to freedom” (it’s becoming quite a crime these days).

I would often randomly wonder, “am I going to do this forever”? In third gear? In my pajamas? I was never able to answer that question, and instead, reminded myself to be open to opportunities and opportunities will lead me somewhere.

This concludes Shifting Gears, Part 1. Stay tuned by receiving my blog posts by email or rss.


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A couple of months ago, I asked on my Facebook Page if anyone would have an interest in me doing some videos on the “how’s and why’s of the web, and ways that you can DIY”. I was going to try to do one every week of 2013 but here I am on the 22nd posting the first one!

Video Notes: Any time you can use web forms instead of paper, it’s a win win! Some places to look for free: Google Drive, Wufoo, and MailChimp (my favorite!).