My favorite online tool for work, play, and everything in between
I love to create gardens. Not just any gardens, but spaces that flow and have areas of interest with plants you don’t find at Home Depot or Lowes. Sure, I’ve gotten some great deals there, but I’ve primarily shopped online with specialty tree suppliers through eBay or on their own websites.
Back in 2014, my father and I rebuilt the entrance to my house with rocks, stone, concrete, and a myriad of Japanese maples and conifers. I thought it was time to actually catalog my investment and keep a diary of “how does your garden grow” because we’re not talking a dozen plants and trees – we’re talking over 70 plants.
I needed a way to visually track their growth, record what I paid for each and where I purchased them, what warranty they had, when they’d bloom or fruit, when to fertilize, make notes about their health, and map their location in my garden. The most important feature of my catalog though was pictures! Pictures of what the mature specimens looked like, what the plant looked like when it arrived, and images throughout the years to show how it had grown. You can’t do that with Excel.
This tool is simply incredible. I created a complete database with full photos where I can view my trees and plants in “cards” with full pictures or a database. I can filter and sort results which gives me the chance to see what other species I want to add to my garden.
And this was the beginning of my love affair with Airtable. Since then, I’ve told dozens of creative friends and peers about the tool, and because I provided them a referral link, I’ve received credits in my account, although I’ve never used them. I still have a free account because it’s enough for what I need. Soon after discovering it, I began using Airtable at work for creative projects (production calendar for a magazine), budgets, directories of VIPs, and simple short-term projects.
One Thanksgiving weekend on Black Friday ( I do not leave home that day, no-sir-ee!) when my mom came to visit, we were looking for something to binge-watch since Downton Abbey had ended earlier that year. Being a fan of Korean dramas (K-dramas) since 2010, I thought she’d enjoy a fun romantic fantasy called “Legend of the Blue Sea.” She loved it and started watching K-dramas on her own. During Christmas when I went to visit, we watched “Descendants of the Sun” (“DOTS” in fan-speak), and that was the start of her obsession (like daughter, like mother).
While I’ve taken several Korean language classes at Wake Tech and have watched a decade of K-dramas, I have a better understanding of the language than my octogenarian mother. We had a bit of a language barrier when she would call me to tell me about a new actor she found and would totally butcher his name. She had been keeping a box of index cards with the actors names and shows, but she had no pictures, bless her heart. She didn’t have Airtable. So I created us a shared database of K-Actors with pictures and movie posters so we can have Hangul-centric conversations. Right now, we have over 140 actors so we can giggle over.
As a marketing pro by trade, I keep my eyes out for cloud-based tools that let me do things easier, smarter, and more efficiently. This tool is absolutely incredible. Trust me. It’s addictive. Just give it a try and see how much easier you can organize ANYTHING.