Halloween Costumes 2022

Happy Halloween! I hope you have a great day/evening while making good choices. That’s right folks, be safe.

Today marks the third Halloween that we have been blessed with two kids to dress up. Although we are yet to dress Sloan and Beau in themed costumes, I did make this TikTok video that chronicles their Halloween history together.

But this blog post isn’t about the past. Instead, this post is about Halloween 2022 and the costumes that Sloan and Beau will be wearing tonight. Let’s begin with the eldest.

Introducing Sloan and Beau for Halloween 2022!

Sloan is a witch this year. As will be even more obvious when we get to Beau, Sid and I went for convenience and thriftiness in 2022. Putting together a witch costume isn’t that difficult and it only really entailed us purchasing a witch’s hat and black skirt. We added everything else with stuff we had around the house, including a magic wand.

Sloan is a witch this year.

Beau is Georgie Pig from Peppa Pig. If you remember, Sloan was Peppa three years ago. That costume came in handy this year. As I mentioned in a recent Thursday Rundown blog post, Beau found the Peppa costume and wore it for a day. However, we didn’t necessarily want him to revive the female costume for Halloween. So Sidney went to Walmart and purchased a $2 shirt that is similar to what Georgie wears. She made alterations to the Peppa costume and fit it with the Georgie shirt to totally transform it. Beau is now a convincing Georgie.

Beau is Georgie Pig this year.

We have enjoyed a few Halloween activities this month but tonight is the main event. If a witch and pig come to your door tonight, I hear that their dad…oops…I mean themselves…really enjoy Reese’s peanut butter cups. Don’t Blink.

The Watcher Thursday Rundown

BOO! It is the Halloween edition of the Thursday Rundown. Prepare for five topics that are spooooooky…

Pumpkin Competition – I serve on a committee at work that stages fun social opportunities for our team. Yesterday we had a fall celebration that included a pumpkin decorating contest. The photo below shows most of the submissions. My wife actually created the string art pumpkin on the far left! We voted on our favorites and a couple of our designers received the most votes (go figure). Those submissions were Entry #2 and Entry #4. I work with some pretty creative people!

A glimpse at some of the pumpkins from yesterday’s fall celebration event.

The Watcher – I “watched” (pun intended) this seven-episode Netflix series over the past week. The fact that someone like myself, who doesn’t typically binge watch stuff, watched the entire season in just a few days should tell you my thoughts. I enjoyed the balance of spooky, eccentricity, and mystery. In my opinion, it was the perfect late October show and whenever you get a heavy dose of Shooter McGavin it can’t be a bad thing, right? It isn’t for everyone, but “The Watcher” is a thrill if you are looking for a show to watch this weekend.

I thought “The Watcher” was great. The role of “Theodora Birch” played by Noma Dumezweni is spectacular.

New Halloween Decoration – Nearly five years ago I asked an important question: Are inflatable holiday lawn decoration festive or tacky? I responded in a resounding way with FESTIVE. Now, a half decade later, I have a lawn decoration of my own. Well, technically, it belongs to Sloan and Beau. My mother-in-law sent the kids this pumpkin-clad ghost. Isn’t he cute? We needed something to spruce up our Halloween décor and this inflatable is perfect. Thanks, Gami!

Sloan and Beau with their Halloween inflatable decoration.

Fancy Coffee – Have you ever seen a coffee machine like this before? I found myself in a car dealership last weekend and advanced to the area of the building where they keep the really nice (and supposedly super expensive) espresso dispenser. I don’t drink coffee but did they have a hot chocolate option and I filled up my cup TWICE. If you ever want to install a coffee machine at your office, just Google Encore 29.

This espresso maker made a damn good cup of hot chocolate.

From Coffee to Soda… – Growing up, there was a certain shaved ice stand that we would sometimes frequent. Out of its numerous traditional flavors, it also offered an option called Tiger’s Blood. I always thought, well, what is Tiger’s Blood supposed to taste like? On Friday night, I tried a new beverage that brought up a similar question. It was dream-flavored Coca-Cola. Again, I was like, what does a dream taste like? The curiosity caused me to buy it and after drinking it I guess dreams taste like mangoes.

My bottle of Dream-flavored Coca-Cola.


Have a safe Halloween weekend, everyone. I appreciate your readership and will touch base on Monday. Don’t Blink.

911, What Is Your Emergency?

Yesterday, Sid barged into my office (which is really just our bedroom) with her hand clasped on her forehead and an exasperated look on her face.

What did our 2-year-old do this time? I thought…

“Beau called 911!” my wife exclaimed.

Well, okay. A bit more serious than dumping the whole box of Trix on the floor.

Beau managed to call 911 yesterday.

Pretty soon I was listening to the whole story. With Beau content in the playroom with his snack and TV show, Sid literally stepped just a few feet across the hall to run a bath. Only a couple minutes later, Beau entered the bathroom with Sid’s phone.

“Mama, my friends!”

Beau has a pretty loose interpretation of who his friends are. Sid could see that someone was in fact on the line so she grabbed her phone and said “hello,” expecting it to be her mom or my sister.

“Ma’am, this is 911. Do you have an emergency?”

The dispatcher had obviously “spoke” to Beau long enough to know that there wasn’t grave danger at the Reser residence.

My wife apologized profusely and confirmed that our house wasn’t burning down. But she wasn’t about to get off the hook that easily.

“We still have to ask you some questions, ma’am.”

The dispatcher asked Sidney for her name and the address of our house. She then asked for Beau’s name and age. Sid then had to double down that there was no emergency.

After the business was taken care of, the lady did manage to remark that she had a nice little conversation with Beau. What the heck was said during that brief moment between toddler and operator will forever be a mystery to us.

I guess we could request a transcript but since no fire engine came racing out to our cul-de-sac, we will just let this one go. Do you have a non-emergency 911 story to tell? Don’t Blink.

Venturing Through Small Towns

My recent travels have taken me through some small towns. On this cool October evening, I have decided to share with you three of those small towns representing three different states.

Arlington, Oregon – On our way back from the Vancouver conference, we stopped to stretch our legs in a tiny town called Arlington. Obviously not the major city in Texas nor the same-named area in Washington, this community was in Oregon. While most of the people on the bus admired a scenic view not too far from where we parked, I ventured over to the Arlington Grocery & Deli. Obviously the storefront has seen better days but the employees inside sure were nice and welcoming. I purchased a pack of combined red and black licorice.

I purchased candy from the Arlington Grocery & Deli.

Haugan, Montana – While traveling both to/from Missoula, Sidney and I pulled over in Haugan at the $50,000 Silver Dollar Bar. We made the stop to use the restroom and look around at the diverse knick-knacks. I wrote about the $50,000 Silver Dollar Bar more than nine years ago in an in-depth blog post. At the time, I was skeptical that the location actually contained 50,000 coins. However, after a thorough review of the quantity of the silver dollars hanging in the bar and documentation by the business itself, I know the amount now exceeds 50,000.

I took this photo from inside the actual bar of the $50,000 Silver Dollar Bar on Oct., 16, 2022.

Connell, Washington – Driving back to Spokane with a couple of my co-workers, we passed by Connell. I have a soft spot for Connell because it is the hometown of a friend from our Catholic Young Adult group. What I find most intriguing about this small Washington town is that it is home to a Dollar General. When I lived in the South, Dollar Generals were everywhere. However, I had never seen a Dollar General in the state of Washington until we stopped in Connell for gas last year.

I took the photo of the welcome sign earlier this month and I took the photo of the Connell Dollar General in Aug. 2021.


So go ahead and cue the classic John Mellencamp song. Even though I wasn’t born in a small town, I sure appreciate them. Don’t Blink.

Olivia Thursday Rundown

What do you say we do this rundown thing again? I have five topics to present to you so let’s get started…

Peppa Pig Reser Kids – Last week, Beau got into our old Halloween costumes and put on what Sloan wore when she was Beau’s age. For Halloween 2019, she was Peppa Pig, and, conveniently, Beau watches the show a lot currently. Sid couldn’t get Beau to take the costume off the whole day as he even insisted on sleeping in it. Although he won’t be Peppa for Halloween 2022, it was kind of cute.

Sloan (left) and Beau (right) each sport the same Peppa Pig costume as 2-year-olds. Beau’s photo is a little blurry because it was taken from video.

Naughty Step – Sometimes Peppa needs a timeout. Our newest form of discipline in our house is “the Naughty Step.” When Sloan and Beau get a little too out of control, they can see themselves to this branded step stool in a corner of our house. So far it seems to be working but perhaps it is just the novelty of it all? Hopefully not but we shall see.

Beau and Sloan have found themselves on this step lately.

Driver’s License – Red lights. Stop signs. I still see your face… Oh sorry, I am not talking about the song. On this date 8 years ago, I was issued my first South Carolina driver’s license. That part was cool but I sadly had to surrender my Montana driver’s license. If you are interested in learning about that strange trip to the DMV and you want to see some hilariously bad driver’s license photos of yours truly, make sure to read this post from October 20, 2014.

I wish issued this South Carolina driver’s license on this date 8 years ago today!

National Chicken and Waffles Day – Throughout my life, I have ordered chicken and waffles every now and then at various restaurants. I have to be in the mood for the combination as I don’t always prefer syrup on my fried chicken. But on those days that I am craving it, if the waffle is fresh and chicken is crispy, it makes for a pretty tasty treat. Chicken and Waffles Lay’s potato chips are a different story…

A chicken and waffles dish that I ate in a Missoula diner back in 2015.

Pumpkin Throwback Thursday – I shared this photo of me with a jack-o-lantern on Twitter. My mom reached out to me (since she is always browsing Twitter) and said that she could see Beau in the picture. Now I don’t know about that, but I am getting excited to carve pumpkins with the kids a little later this month.

Hanging with my pumpkin back in the 1990s.


Our extended season of gorgeous weather looks to be coming to an end. Today we once again hit 70 degrees but tomorrow the high temperature is forecast to plunge into the low 50s. Although I wouldn’t mind more sunny and 75 days, I am sure sweater weather lovers are happy. Don’t Blink.

The Value of Cheap Souvenirs

When I was in Vancouver last week, I chatted with a co-worker about what we could bring home to our kids as a souvenir. I brainstormed Crumbl Cookies or Voodoo Doughnuts. But then one of our speakers, Aaron Draplin, passed out sticker samples of his work. These will do, we thought.

I brought these Aaron Draplin stickers back to Sloan and Beau.

I then told her a story about when I was a child. I recalled that when my dad would go on business trips, he would bring back a couple bars of soap from the hotel he stayed at. When he would present them to us, we would marvel at the “exotic” soap from a distant town wrapped in hotel-branded packaging. We thought it was awesome!

Both the stickers and soap are examples of souvenirs that cost nothing. Despite their low monetary investment, both items still showed thought and were appreciated by the youthful recipients. I have one additional recent example…

Sid and I visited Missoula this past weekend. After the Griz football game on Saturday afternoon, we found ourselves inside the Adams Center. Right outside my old office was a table with Griz Cheerleading posters. We thought of Sloan and grabbed one of the free posters along with a couple of the maroon “You’re In Griz Country” cheer cards. We stuffed them in our bag and went about our day.

We returned to Spokane on Sunday afternoon and gave Sloan her poster later that night, right before she went to sleep. If only you could have seen her face light up. It was like it was 1996 and she had unwrapped a Tickle Me Elmo. To see those cheerleaders and Monte smiling back at her really made her evening. Before she turned off her lights, the poster was hanging on her wall.

Sloan was so proud of her new posters that they went up on her wall that night.

So what is the point of this? That cheap souvenirs are the best souvenirs? While this can sometimes be the case and I certainly don’t mind when it works out, I am focusing on something different. What warms my heart is the genuine appreciation that children display. It isn’t about the expense of the item but rather just the fact that they were remembered.

As we go about our lives on a daily basis, let’s remember the appreciation and gratefulness of children. We need to apply and express it ourselves. Not only will we better recognize the smaller efforts of others but it will make us happier people as well. Don’t Blink.

Returning to Missoula for a Griz Weekend

For the second consecutive year, Sid and I returned to where I attended college and where I started my professional career. Like we did in October 2021, we visited for a Griz football weekend. And, just like last year, it was a blast.

It was another awesome trip to Missoula for Griz football and other fun.

On Saturday, we hit the road at 5:30 a.m. We made it to Missoula by 10 a.m. and Ubered from our hotel parking lot to the Press Box (aka the most famous bar in town). After a quick round we walked across the footbridge to campus as we admired the most beautiful view of any college campus in the country.

I took this photo as we walked across the footbridge. With the mountains, the M, the Clark Fork River, and the beaming sunshine can you really ask for anything more?!

We scored free Chick-fil-A sandwiches and took them over to the Adams Center where we watched the Griz Walk. Just with many other college football programs, the University of Montana football team marches through a portion of campus lined with supporters before going to their locker room to dress. After we participated in that tradition, we enjoyed the one-of-a-kind tailgating that Griz football boasts. I also had the opportunity to visit with Seth Bodnar, the president of the University of Montana.

The coaches participate in the Griz Walk too. This is head coach Bobby Hauck kissing his wife before entering the Adams Center.

Sid and I entered Washington-Grizzly Stadium in time to watch the entire pregame show. From there we basked in the glorious October sun to watch the Griz battle the University of Idaho Vandals. Unfortunately, UM would come up a little short but we sure enjoyed being part of the crowd and cheering hard for four quarters.

Sidney and I from our seats in Washington-Grizzly Stadium. The Griz would ultimately fall to the University of Idaho, 30-23.

After the game we jumped on a shuttle that took us to downtown Missoula. We barhopped as I watched other college football games and Sid tried her luck at the gaming machines. Once that luck ran dry, we hopped an Uber to our hotel.

Sid and I had great seats! This was our view.

Once we checked in, we walked across the street to the Montana Club for dinner. We had the best date as we enjoyed quality food and watched the epic 18-inning marathon between the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros. After we paid the tab we made a quick visit to Dairy Queen and brought back a couple Blizzards to our room. We spent the rest of the night eating ice cream and watching TV.

Our entrees and the TV that we were watching the Mariners game on.

On Sunday morning it was mass at St. Francis Xavier, a parish that turned 130 years old in 2022! Fr. Steve Lantry presided and preached about what God’s justice looks like. It is always a gift to return to the parish that I was a parishioner at back in my early-to-mid-20s.

I snapped this photo outside of St. Francis Xavier in Missoula on Sunday morning before entering for mass.

After mass, it was time for brunch. Sid and I went to the Oxford, a business that is even older than St. Francis Xavier—it was established in 1883. We sat at the kitchen bar that overlooks the grill and watched the chef make meal after meal. Think of it like American hibachi!

A few of the images from our visit to the Oxford. The cook was a complete rock star and my sausage + cheddar cheese omelette was delicious.

We then picked up treats at Mary’s Mountain Cookies. We did the same thing last year too as I think a new tradition is brewing.

Mary’s Mountain Cookies is a fun shop with creative and fun treats.

To cap off the trip, we returned to campus and explored my old stomping grounds. To see all the new buildings mixed in with many of the timeless landmarks was a thrill. When we finished, we drove down the gorgeous university district streets lined with trees in different stages of autumn-colored leaves and then headed for the freeway where we made the drive home to Spokane.

Sidney and I on the University of Montana campus. It was good to be back.

The next time we do this trip, we hope to bring a couple of Griz cubs with us. We think that Sloan and Beau might be ready for a Missoula trip once the 2023 football season comes around. With that said, thanks so much to my mom and dad for watching them this past weekend (we brought them home some of those cookies for their troubles)—Sid and I sure enjoyed ourselves! Don’t Blink.

Building Internal Relationships

To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I had never attended an internal conference before. Would it be more of a glorified retreat or would it have elements of a big deal, networking-optimized industry conference? After all, I was speaking at it, so how prestigious of an event could it actually be?

I didn’t know exactly what to expect from the conference or how much of a “conference” it would actually be. But the official name tags definitely helped add to the conference-feel.

Those thoughts ran through my mind as I rode the bus across the state of Washington on Wednesday afternoon. As I had mentioned in a blog post that evening, communicators and marketers across the Washington State University system were convening on the WSU Vancouver campus for a gathering a few years in the making (thanks, COVID).

The conference took place on the beautiful WSU Vancouver campus (photo courtesy of WSU Photo Services).

The WSU MarComm Conference drew 75 professionals from our six campuses for a couple days of team building, presentations, and discussions. As noted by Phil Weiler, our vice president of University Marketing and Communications, the opportunity was as much about breaking bread with our colleagues as it was about learning from them. That was something I could get behind!

In answer to my first question, it quickly became evident that the experience was much more of a conference event than a general meeting. Phil and several other of my central marcomm colleagues brought in some external firepower to fill the agenda.

Joe Master, a well-known player in the higher ed marketing world, had us all sitting on the edge of our seats. The man did innovative work at Temple and Drexel and now works for a respected agency called Ologie. His reputation obviously preceded him but he still blew us away with his engaging presentation about considerations and mindsets for a post-pandemic higher ed world.

Joe Master is a prolific higher ed marketer. It was great to spend some time with him while he was in Vancouver.

We were also treated to, and I can’t characterize it in any other way, “the experience” of Aaron Draplin. A larger than life designer with a very non-designer vibe, he had the whole WSU Vancouver conference room howling in laughter but also marveling at the amazing work he has done in his career. Whether he was working for high profile clients (i.e. Chris Stapleton, U.S. Post Office, etc) or donating his talents to worthy causes, the designs he showed us were unique and spectacularly on-brand with his personality.

The guy at the lectern wearing the trucker hat and sporting the bushy beard is Aaron Draplin. He gave a presentation like no other.

From the feedback I gathered from my colleagues, the external presentations were complemented very well by the internal ones. Phil presented important updates that were of interest to most everyone in attendance. Communicators from our Office of Strategy, Planning, and Analysis also gave a presentation and offered a cool way to engage with them in real time.

During the afternoon, I had the honor of presenting. Phil was gracious enough to extend the speaking opportunity to me as a “dry run” for an American Marketing Association presentation I will be delivering next month with a couple of my Pac-12 colleagues in Baltimore. With that said, the presentation was very much customized for my internal audience and it was an awesome experience that was followed by an engaging dialogue with everyone in the room.

A shot of me speaking during the conference (photo courtesy of Sara Zaske).

The presentations were broken up with campus tours, meals, and work breaks. There was even an opportunity to visit with Aaron and purchase his merchandise after his presentation—all which sold out!

I mentioned how Joe Master is an industry leader. It meant a lot that he tweeted this out after my presentation concluded.

But my favorite part of our time in Vancouver—and this hearkens right back to one of Phil’s main reasons for having the conference—were the dinners we shared back at the hotel. When we sat down to break bread at the end of the day everyone was so relaxed and casual. Every table seemed to be filled with people from different campuses, colleges, and departments. Conversations flowed easily and laughter was abundant. Many people stayed at the tables long after dessert was served. To sit down with many people we had only seen on Zoom was rewarding and worth the long trip to Vancouver in and of itself.

I extend my gratitude to Phil Weiler, Maria Anguiano, Amanda Beardslee, and the many other people who organized this conference and made it a reality. Special thanks to Brenda Alling and her team for hosting us at WSU Vancouver. Going out of state for a ritzy conference is fun, but it is important to solidify relationships internally as well. I appreciated the opportunity to network with my fellow WSU communicators and marketers and I can’t wait to do it again at WSU Everett. Don’t Blink.

Mac Daddy Thursday Rundown

Greetings from Vancouver! I write this Thursday Rundown from my Heathman Lodge hotel room. Let’s jump right into tonight’s five topics…

Whitworth Football – Sloan is either a Coug, Chanticleer, or a Griz before anything else. But this past Saturday she was a Pirate for a few hours…even if she took a picture with a parrot? I took Sloan and Beau to the Whitworth University football game this past Saturday and we had a wonderful time on a sun-soaked October afternoon. After a similar positive experience a year ago, I knew I wanted to spend a portion of my birthday watching some Division III football. Although the Whitworth Pirates came up short against powerhouse Linfield College, we had a good time.

Sloan with the Whitworth mascot at the football game this past Saturday.

Mac Daddy’s – How could a macaroni and cheese fanatic like myself go wrong with a restaurant that specializes in the dish? Well, I couldn’t, obviously. We ate at Mac Daddy’s in north Spokane on Friday night and the food was incredible. I ordered the buffalo chicken mac and savored every spicy, rich, and cheesy bite. The chicken, wing sauce, and blue cheese elements combined to make a truly unique and delicious dish. When I return again, I think I want to give the Cougar Gold mac and cheese a try but I would definitely order the buffalo chicken mac again.

This buffalo chicken mac and cheese from Mac Daddy’s was some of the best I ever had.

Reminds Me of Childhood – I took a photo of the below Dennis the Menace comic strip and immediately tweeted it. I just couldn’t resist—it resonated hard with my childhood. We would always bring candy into the movie theater back in the day. My parents would take us to a gas station or grocery store and we would buy candy for the show. The fun part was then smuggling it in. Sure, we had a little bit of envy as we passed the candy that rested under the glass but at least we had candy in the first place.

This was our family growing up 😂

Camino Winds – In high school I read most of John Grisham’s law novels. I recently re-discovered his work but his genre no longer focuses solely on lawyers, juries, briefs, petitions, and judges. I read “Camino Winds” which was an awesome tale about a murder that takes place during a hurricane and its connection to a major Medicare scheme. Not only were the characters and plot superb, but the writing itself was top-notch. After reading a lot of different authors this year, Grisham’s writing stood out dramatically. It was a joy to read.

I finished reading “Camino Winds” on Tuesday. Super enjoyable book.

Supportive Wife – After I entered my hotel room yesterday, I opened up my luggage to find a sweet note from Sid. Little things like that sure make a guy feel loved. So thankful for my wife!

Sid secretly put this note in my luggage.


Back to Spokane tomorrow and then it is off to Missoula on Saturday morning. With that said, it is time for this trailblazer to sign off and enjoy his final hours in Vancouver. Don’t Blink.

Connecting With WSU Colleagues in Vancouver

It is time for a business trip! This evening I arrived in Vancouver. No, not the major Canadian seaport but the southwest Washington city that is a stone’s throw from Portland. I am in this beautiful city for an internal conference. For the next couple days, I will join my fellow marketers and communicators from across the Washington State University system for team building, presentations, and discussions.

For the next couple of days, I will be connecting with my WSU communications and marketing colleagues at an internal conference on the WSU Vancouver campus (photo courtesy of WSU Photo Services)

Sometimes people don’t realize how big WSU is. Besides our flagship campus in Pullman (which I am headquartered), we also have physical campuses in Spokane, Tri-Cities, Everett, and Vancouver. Additionally, WSU is home to a thriving online campus. All these campuses have marketing and communication teams. On top of that, most of the academic colleges, student services, and other university departments boast marketing and communications teams too. This adds up to a lot of marketing and communication personnel that represent WSU. Every year or so, during normal times, we like to get together.

Because of the pandemic, this is my first WSU MarComm Conference. It will also mark the first time that I engage with many of my colleagues in-person after working with them for 2.5 years on a virtual basis. Other “firsts” include my first time ever on the WSU Vancouver campus and my first time ever on the WSU Tri-Cities campus—I caught the bus on the latter that took me to the former.

Perhaps the most significant “first” will be an in-person presentation to my WSU colleagues as a Coug staffer. The last time I presented in-person to a WSU audience was when I visited for my on-campus interview nearly three years ago. I am honored and a little nervous to have a speaking role at a conference with 75 of my co-workers. I am prepped to discuss how we are leveraging TikTok at WSU and anticipate a lot of interest. Wish me luck!

I feel grateful to be at this conference. Marketing and communications is definitely emphasized at WSU and it is cool to see all the people who play a role in it. I look forward to leaving Vancouver with more connections and a greater appreciation for the hard work that my colleagues put forth on a daily basis. Don’t Blink.