Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Fifty People, One Question: New York from Fifty People, One Question on Vimeo.
Fifty People, One Question: London from Fifty People, One Question on Vimeo.
My response to the question is....a warm cabin in Alaska with a perfect view of the aurora borealis.
How about you?
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Google released a new version of the Google Mobile App for iPhone. It lets you speak your queries without pushing any buttons, and also lets you do local searches without specifying your location.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Just when you think Google has done it all, they go and introduce another innovation that leaves you in utter amazement. Google has taken its search to the visual mode with its Google Goggles mobile app for Android! Simply snap a photo on your phone and the app will give you relevant information associated to the items or landmarks photographed. It will be Android-only for now, and it's available in the Android market.
I've given it a go a couple of times on my T-Mobile G1 phone, but it took too long to "analyze" the photo and I simply don't have the patience. It's certainly a cool idea with lots of potential, but there are a few kinks that need to be worked out before I try it again. I'll stick to using Google search the old-fashioned way for now!
You can find out more here.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I was astounded to learn about Sinterklaass' helping hands, Black Petes. Black Petes are the men with black-painted faces wearing joker costumes that accompany Sinterklaas. According to Wikipedia, three small Moorish boys were sentenced to death for a crime they did not commit, and Sinterklaas intervened to help save them. To show their gratitude, the boys stayed with Sinterklaas to help him, tumbling and jumping on rooftops on Sinterklaas night to deliver presents. Their black skin may refer either to their Moorish background, or to the job of chimneysweep, an option is corroborated by their clothes, reminiscent of an Italian chimneysweep's costume and Pete's rooftop occupation. Another background story for Pete is that he is the devil who was enslaved by Sinterklaas. (Wikipedia)
Are Americans obsessed with being politically correct, or is this just flat out racist?
Black Dutch nationals have in recent years frequently criticized as racist the practice of having a white person in blackface portray a caricature of a 17th-century African slave. But, so far, the Dutch have vehemently rejected this and refused to change any aspect of the celebration, arguing that Black Pete is black simply because he climbs through chimneys.
What do you think?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
This is a great (and entertaining) presentation on how to convince your boss/organization that social media will further the company's marketing goals.
And if that's still not enough to win them over, below are some practical tips to help you effectively communicate to the CEO/CFO/CIO about the importance of social media, courtesy of the PR Princess.
TOP TEN ways to get buy-in from C-Suite on Social Media:
- Introduce social media in a "non-techie," non-threatening way. This might include sending links and screen shots of comments on Twitter or blogs that involve the company. Be sure to provide context in your message so they will know what they're looking at.
- Talk individually with execs or board members before you put it on the agenda at board meetings. Know who the supporters and detractors are ahead of time. Have answers for some of the detractors' stumbling blocks before you bring it up.
- Keep your passion for social media to a low flame. If you go into a meeting with demands and failure predictions, you will get shut down quickly.
- Offer to do a "Lunch and Learn" presentation for your leadership team. Keep it focused on results and not too technical.
- Point out successful social media programs in a "case study" format, showing that social media is measurable and generates results.
- Showcase how other companies in the same industry are already using social media. Chances are someone is already using it well, which may spur a call to action or a competitive response.
- Start listening to the brand in social media as part of your normal duties. You should never need permission to do this. Report any good things you're hearing, and alert your boss if there is a crisis brewing somewhere.
- Get a third-party expert to present to your board. Sometimes you will not be seen as an expert in your own organization (and that's too bad, but don't let it trip you up).
- Ask your current agency or public relations professional to bring it up as part of a strategic planning session or brainstorm.
- Anyone who's spent time around executives knows that "allowing" them to take credit for concepts and ideas is a way for things to get implemented quicker. Play the game and you'll eventually get credit for the ideas.
I was reminded of this beautiful poem (thanks to Miss Cherry Red) I once recited in front of classmates at university. Some days when I need a little pick me up, I refer back to this inspirational poem written by one of America's most famous poets and autobiographers, Maya Angelou. I'm sure you will all appreciate this divine piece of literary art!
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
By Maya Angelou.
The poem is narrated by Maya Angelou herself.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
This newest video Socialnomics showcases how companies have successfully used social media for customer service, sales, marketing and creating brand awareness.
Here are some examples from the video below:
- Over 300,000 businesses have a presence on Facebook and roughly a 1/3 of these are small businesses.
- Gary Vaynerchuk grew his family business from $4 million to $50 million using social media. Gary’s eccentric personality and offbeat oenophile knowledge have proven a natural path to success with his Wine TV Library. Vaynerchuk found first hand that $15,000 in Direct Mail = 200 new customers, $7,500 Billboard = 300 new customers, $0 Twitter = 1,800 new customers.
- Wetpaint/Altimeter Study found companies that are both deeply and widely engaged in social media significantly surpass their peers in both revenue$ and profit$. The study also found the company sales with the highest levels of social media activity grew on average by +18%, while those companies with the least amount of social activity saw their sales decline -6%.
- Lenovo was able to achieve cost savings by a 20% reduction in call center activity as customers go to community website for answers.
- Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice Facebook program incented users to give up ten of their Facebook friends in return for a free Whopper. The estimated investment forwhopper-sacrifice this program was less than $50,000 yet they received 32 million media impressions which roughly estimated equals greater than $400,000 in press/media value. Which to put in context is somewhat like reaching the entire populations of 19 states (understanding this doesn’t account for unique vs. repeat visitors, etc.)
- BlendTec increased its sales 5x by running the often humorous “Will it Blend” Videos on YouTube blending everything from an iPhone to a sneaker.
- Dell sold $3,000,000 worth of computers on Twitter.
- To put things into perspective, only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive return on investment. This is where the majority of media dollars reside today. I don’t believe the majority of media dollars will reside there tomorrow.
- “You can’t just say it. You have to get the people to say it to each other,” says James Farley, CMO Ford. Ford seems to know what they are doing, especially with Scott Monty leading the social media charge. By giving away 100 Ford Fiestas to influential bloggers, 37% of Generation Y were aware of the Ford Fiesta before its launch in the United States. Is it any wonder why 25% of Ford’s marketing ford-fiesta-social-mediaspend has been shifted to digital/social media initiatives? Ford is the only US auto company that didn’t take a government loan.
- Naked Pizza, a New Orleans Pizzeria that specializes in healthy pies, set a one day sales record using social media. In fact 68% of their sales came from people “calling in from Twitter.” On top of that (no pun intended) 85% of their new customers were from Twitter.
- Volkswagen goes 100% Mobile for launch of GTI. The reason that I mention this is that mobile drives social media usage and social media usage drives mobile. More and more we will see most social media usage on the phone.
- Tweets for a Cause sent out a tweet from Atlanta to encourage support of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. As a result of retweets from such notables as @mashable, @G_man, @zaibatsu and others, the Atlanta Chapter site received 11,000 visitors in 24 hours as a result of this initiative by ResponseMine Interactive.
- Intuit introduced “Live Community” into their TurboTax® products 2 years ago. Due in part to the resulting word-of-mouth, they have seen unit sales increase +30% each year and have now integrated “Live Community” into their other products like QuickBooks, Quicken, etc. “Live Community” allows customers to ask other customers questions which has proved both beneficial to the customer and to Intuit. In some instances, the customer can answer questions that Intuit isn’t allowed to answer because of regulatory restrictions.
- Software company Genius.com reports that 24% of its social media leads convert to sales opportunities
- During Barack Obama’s rise to the White House, he garnered 5 million fans on social media and 5.4 million clicked on an “I voted for Obama” Facebook button. Most importantly this resulted in three million online shepard-fairey-obama-hope-imagedonors contributing $500 million in fundraising. An astounding 92% of the donations were in increments of less than $100.
- The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center witnessed a 9.5% increase in registrations by using social media.
- Web host provider Moonfruit more than recouped its $15,000 social media investment as their Website Traffic soared +300% while correspondingly sales increased +20%. They also saw a huge lift in their organic search engine rankings getting on the first page for the term “free website builder.”
- eBay found participants in online communities spend 54% more money.
- 71% of companies plan to increase investments in social media by an average of 40% because: a) Low Cost Marketing b) Getting Traction c) We Have To Do It
“Think of Twitter as the canary in the coal mine.”
“Our head of Social Media is the customer”
Co-Chairman Alex Bogusky of Crispin Porter & Bogusky puts it best when he states:
“You can’t buy attention anymore. Having a huge budget doesn’t mean anything in social media…The old media paradigm was PAY to play. Now you get back what you authentically put in. You’ve got to be willing to PLAY to play.”There are other successful social media campaigns not listed on here (some that I've had the privilege to work on), but these are just a few to help get you up to speed with what other companies have already done.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
After clicking to view my direct messages, I noticed a new DM (below) from @scheinerinc who is a trusted follower and fellow digital media professional.
The message enticed me to click on the link and after a few moments of staring at the rotating sand glass, I was redirected to this site (pictured below), which looks EXACTLY like the official Twitter login page.
The only difference? The web address was not familiar http://sjkiowq.com/
I presume the hacker who created this web page gained access to Twitter accounts by getting users to enter their username and password into this bogus Twitter page and sent DM's to followers in an effort to hack into more accounts.
After contacting Mike via email, he confirmed it was a hacker who had spammed his followers and told me that he fixed the problem by changing his Twitter login details.
Moral of the story? Always check the URL to ensure it's from a trusted source!!! And think twice before entering your username and password!
Friday, October 16, 2009
This 2-minute video reveals some interesting stats about how the Internet has made an impact on patients/health consumers.
For the first time in history, more people are searching the Internet for health information than asking doctors. Health consumers are now empowered, equipped, engaged, educated and connected to others electronically.
I definitely fall under the 83% who search online for health information! How about you?
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Earlier this year, when I received the call from my cousin T announcing her engagement, the hairs on my arms rose followed by a million questions streaming out of my mouth! How did he propose? Did you know he was going to propose? What did your parents say? When is the wedding? Where is the wedding? Will it be a traditional Vietnamese wedding? Do my parents know? Can I tell them? I don't think I even gave her the opportunity to respond before bombarding her with all these questions.
After she downloaded me on all the juicy details, she then asked me to be apart of her bridal squad. I was truly honoured and immediately accepted the privilege to be apart of her special day. The wedding date was set for Saturday, September 19, 2009 in Portland, Oregon.
Nine months later, upon my arrival in Portland, the bridal party put me to work the moment I set foot in Oregon. Although feeling a bit jet-lagged, I enjoyed every second spent preparing for cousin T's traditional Vietnamese wedding. It was quite intense; preparations ranged from assembly of 100 hand-crafted boutonnieres to seating arrangements for 350 guests!
Hennessy," the dog, followed by a musical chime from someone's mobile alarm. What a great way to start the day!
Cousin T and Ut (above left), Bride wearing Khăn đống headdress (above right), and Mother-of-the-Bride (right)
It is Vietnamese tradition to host an array of ceremonies on the day of the wedding. These ceremonies include 'asking permission' to receive the bride, a 'procession and gifting' by the groom's family to receive the bride at her house (tea ceremony and ceremony to request permission from bride's ancestors occurs at the bride's home) , and 'delivering the bride to the groom's house' so that the groom's family members (including the groom's ancestors) that did not participate in the procession can celebrate.
Modern times do not require 'asking permission' to receive the bride. Originally, this activity was only done to confirm that the marriage would in fact take place. In the olden days, marriages were often forced and arranged, which funnily enough resulted in brides fleeing the scene!
Doubletree Hotel where a seven-course meal (Chinese and Vietnamese dishes) was prepared and served. Traditionally, the reception is held at a Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant, but cousin T and hubby wanted to shake things up a bit and added a Western touch with an American venue.
of groom's pant leg and carefully maneuver it to the top and across to the bottom of other pant leg.
"The more you invest in a marriage, the more valuable it becomes."
Saturday, September 26, 2009
In the video above, we're about to experience the world's first vertical drop roller coaster, Oblivion at 110kph!!!
For my "Forever 21" birthday, we went to Alton Towers, UK's largest theme park located in Staffordshire. Loads of fun, but does not hold a candle to Six Flags (Magic Mountain), California!
Thanks to everyone's warm birthday wishes via Facebook, Twitter, email and traditional birthday cards yesterday! It meant a lot to me and brought a ginormous smile on my face throughout the day. Your kind gestures have touched my heart and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :)
Saturday, September 5, 2009
As you can imagine (btw - that's him in the back flexing), he was a huge fan of WWF (World Wresting Federation) - renamed WWE in 2002 - and he loved WrestleMania's Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Andre the Giant, and Hulk Hogan, among many other golden age wrestlers. Nobody dared to mess with his figurines unless they were prepared to be put in a headlock or worse, a DDT. It's pretty safe to say my Barbie dolls never got mixed up with his precious WWF figurines!
One of my favorite childhood memories of David was watching him play with a dot sticker between his fingers before falling asleep. He would hold his bottle with one hand and play with a dot sticker between his thumb and index finger, sticking it to each finger back and forth until he dozed off. He can't remember ever doing this, but believe me, it's all true!
And now, he's all grown up and preparing to start a family with the lovely Rosario. Where did all the time go?
David appeared in a local TV spot for Frank Hyundai thanks to Juanito.
Attending school in America with an ethnic name was no walk in the park for me. I hated my Chinese name growing up and wondered why my parents couldn't just pick a normal name for me. My teachers and classmates could never pronounce or spell my name, leading me to pick a more "American" sounding name, hence "Kim."
After adolescence, I eventually gained confidence and pride in my family's heritage and culture, so I reverted to using my birth name. I love my Chinese name, but it's not an easy name to use in English-speaking countries. I struggled and fought to keep it for as long as I could, but after three years of missed opportunities due to senders receiving bounceback emails and error messages, mispelled accounts and certificates, and people simply not being able to easily remember my name, I decided to go with my American name once again!
Boy, did I go off on a tangent there! Now...back to what I was saying. On behalf of everyone who knows David and Rosario, we are confident that you will make exceptional parents and the children you bring into this world are lucky to have parents who will lavish them with unconditional love and dedication.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
After visiting a few couture shops in Covent Garden, I decided to give it a pass. I couldn't find one that suited me and I didn't quite feel posh enough to pull it off.
However, the lovely bride (Helen) certainly pulled it off with her simple, yet elegant fastenator. Helen's other half (Ross) also strutted around in a beautifully embroidered silk vest. The duo graced St Mary's Church in Hampton with a whole lot of class and sophistication.
Before we were seated for dinner at the Ham Polo Club, guests were pleasantly surprised to find seating placecards with each person's photo on them! I can only imagine all the effort that went into searching for photos for each guest (and their significant other), especially since not everyone has a Facebook account.
Nick and Ross: University mates
We shared the table with three other couples that had one thing in common: KIDS!!! I somehow got the feeling that Helen and Ross were trying to hint at something! :)
All in all, the wedding was truly amazing! Beautiful weather, stunning bride, good company, flowing taps, tasteful entertainment and exceptional food! What more could a girl ask for? Congratulations Ross and Helen!!!
"Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end." - Anonymous
Monday, August 24, 2009
Taking advantage of South West Train's midsummer promotion, Nick and I ventured out to Weymouth, the perfect weekend destination for families and couples seeking a quaint seaside getaway not too overly crowded with tourists, e.g. Bournemouth's Dorset Beach (pictured below)
Bournemouth supremacy: Wave upon wave of visitors pack on to the Dorset beach,
creating an image that could be used to make the world’s trickiest jigsaw puzzle.
- Photo and caption courtesy of Metro.co.uk
Aside from fish and chips sold at every corner, my only disappointment was the lack of seafood dishes. We searched far and wide visiting several establishments in Weymouth for restaurants that had mussels on the menu. We finally came across a rinky dink pub on Westwey Road that had mussels and frites on the menu, but as expected the quality was poor and the service was rubbish.
Before leaving Weymouth, we stopped at a souvenir shop and bought a rock, which is a type of hard stick-shaped (cylindrical) sugar confectionary commonly sold at seaside towns in the UK. Can't say we have anything like this in my hometown - San Diego, CA. You can read everything you ever wanted to know about seaside rock here. Caution, may contain too much excitement for one person.
My only regret was not making enough time to visit Chesil Beach or Hamm Beach, which are located at the centre of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site.
I guess that just means I have to plan another trip back to Weymouth...not a bad idea indeed!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I couldn't have imagined a more perfect day for a 10K bike ride in Hounslow - clear blue skies, support from local residents and businesses, and the sun stayed with us throughout the entire day!
My last experience with a bike at Richmond Park left me with scrapes and bruises, but I decided to suck it up and give cycling another go! Not being too keen on cycling in the streets, the Mayor of London's Skyride Hounslow route was perfect for cyclists intimidated by busy streets (like myself) because the 10K route was open and free from traffic from 11am to 4pm. It was the second in Skyride's series of five mass participation cycling events taking place this summer, following Skyride Manchester on 2 August and ahead of the central London event on Sunday 20 September, formerly known as the London Freewheel.
It was a nice and easy route, not too difficult except for one moderately steep hill on Wood Lane. I enjoyed the route so much, I did it three times! (And then enjoyed a Kit-Kat chocolate bar of course)
Highlights of the route included:
* Osterley Park House, a wonderful Grade 1 listed mansion, with its beautiful woodland area
* Spring Grove and Riverside Conservation Areas
* Syon House, a 'four-square' mansion built around 1550
* Isleworth's historic wharf
This Skyrider (above) motivated cyclists for hours on out! He somehow managed to maintain the same level of energy throughout the day --- believe me, he was quite the entertainer!
Check it out! Even the Mayor of London is on Twitter!
Friday, August 7, 2009
If you haven't already watched this video, watch it NOW! I promise you will be shocked with the incredible and frightening statistics. It's been out since October 2008, so I'm sure some of you have already seen it...so what can I say except S-O-R-R-Y for posting it now! It's worth a replay in my opinion. I still think it's relevant and should be shared, discussed and redistributed all over again!
Did You Know?
- If you're one in a million in China, there are 1,300 people just like you.
- China will soon become the number one English speaking country in the world.
- The 25% of India's population with the highest IQs is greater than the population of the United States.
- California uses more gas than China
- The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004.
- Schools are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist, using technologies that haven't been invented in order to solve problems that we don't even know exist.
- The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that today's learner will have 10-14 jobs by the age of 38.
- 1 in 4 workers has been with their current employer for less than a year; 1 in 2 has been there for less than five years.
- 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met online.
- There are more than 200 million registered users on MySpace. So, if MySpace were a country, it would be the fifth largest in the world (behind Indonesia, ahead of Brazil).
- The #1 ranked country in broadband Internet penetration is Bermuda. The U.S. ranks 19th. Japan is #22.
- There are 31 billion searches on Google every month. In 2006, this number was 2.7 Billion.
- The first commercial text message was sent in December 1992. Today, the number of text messages sent and received each day exceeds the total population of the planet.
- Years it took to reach a market audience of 50 million: radio - 38 Years, TV - 13 Years, the Internet - 4 Years, iPod - 3 Years, Facebook - 2 Years
- The number of Internet devices in 1984 was 1,000. The number of Internet devices in 1992 was 1,000,000. The number of Internet devices in 2008 was 1,000,000,000.
- There are about 540,000 words in the English language, about five times as many as there were in Shakespeare's time.
- Estimates say that a week's worth of the New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th Century.
- It's estimated that 4 exabytes (4.0x10^19) of unique information will be generated this year. That's more info than was produced during the previous 5,000 years.
- NTT Japan has successfully tested a fiber optic cable that pushes 14 trillion bits per second down a single strand of fiber. That's 2,660 CDs or 210 million phone calls per second. Those figures are currently tripling every six months and are expected to do so for the next 20 years.
- By 2013, a supercomputer will be built that exceeds the computational capabilities of the human brain. Predictions are that by 2049, a $1000 computer will exceed the computational capabilities of the entire human species.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Just for fun, I plugged in my information to see how other people in my demographic use social media.
Customer Profile (2008 data results)
Here are the result:
It looks like I belong to 5 out of 6 different levels classified by Forrester. Overlap may occur since we may choose to read blogs and join a social network. I provided examples of how I belong to each classification in parentheses to the right.
The Social Technographics for U.S. Women from ages 25-34 is listed below:
27% Creators (Blog, Twitter, YouTube)
40% Critics (Yelp, Trip Advisor)
21% Collectors (Delicious, Digg, RSS)
52% Joiners (Facebook, Linkedin, Meetup, MySpace, etc.)
72% Spectators (Read blogs, listen to podcasts, read customer reviews)
Just as I suspected, people in my demographic are mostly spectators and a little more than half are joiners. To my surprise, 18% are inactives?! That is shocking, I thought everyone was on some sort of social network!
Plug in your profile and see where you stack up!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
What is swine flu?
Swine flu is a respiratory disease, caused by a strain of the influenza type A virus known as H1N1.
H1N1 is the same strain which causes seasonal outbreaks of flu in humans on a regular basis.
But this latest version of H1N1 is different: it contains genetic material that is typically found in strains of the virus that affect humans, birds and swine.
Although the strain may have originated in pigs, it is now a wholly human disease.
It can be spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of swine flu in humans appear to be similar to those produced by standard, seasonal flu.
A fever - which is a temperature of 38ºC (100.4ºF) - is the key symptom, combined with other complaints which may include a cough, sore throat, body aches, chills and aching limbs. Some people with the virus have also reported nausea and diarrhoea.
As with normal flu, the severity of symptoms will depend on treatment and the individual. Many people have only suffered mildly and have begun to recover within a week.
People are most infectious soon after they develop symptoms, but they cease to be a risk once those symptoms have disappeared. The incubation period may be as little as two days.
What should I do if I think I have it?
Anyone with flu-like symptoms who suspects they might have the swine flu virus are being advised to stay at home and contact the National Flu Service on 0800 1 513 100 or via the internet at www.direct.gov.uk/pandemicflu
The service allows sufferers to get access to anti-flu drugs without the need to consult a GP.
However, those with underlying health conditions, the under ones and pregnant women are still being advised to contact a doctor.
The GP route is also open to anyone who does not want to use the service.
In the initial phase of the outbreak, lab testing was done to diagnose the flu but this is no longer happening routinely.
[All swine flue information above has been retrieved from BBC News/Health. For more information visit click here.]
So what's the real deal? Should Londoners be worried? Health officials say that if you're pregnant or have underlying health conditions, it's in your best interest to learn more about the virus so that you can take all necessary precautions.
I don't know about you, but I find myself leaning further away from the person coughing up a storm on the tube and stocking up on antibacterial products when I visit Boots!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Summer is the perfect season for backyard barbecues...even if you live in London! Instead of investing a couple hundred quid on a top-of-the-line gas barbecue grill, we picked up disposable BBQ's at Tesco for $2.99 (2 for £5).
Hailing from San Diego, disposable barbies are quite foreign to me, but they certainly did the job! I highly recommend it for anyone planning to host a BBQ for up to twelve people.
We bought three disposable barbecues for Nick's mum's birthday today. We prepared enough food to feed eight people and were able to cook four hamburger patties, three steaks, eight pieces of chicken, and twelve sausages on the barbecue before the flames started to die down.
Oh, and here's a side note about shopping in the UK: Is it just me or do you feel compelled to buy more than what you intended when you see a "buy 3 for £5" deal? Sometimes I'll just need to pick up a carton of juice on my way home from work, but when I see that I can buy 3 for £5, I end up leaving the store with three cartons!!! I recognize that it is a clever marketing scheme, but fall for it every time -- I'm such a sucker for bargains!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
So you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that traveling is what most people would opt to do if they were out of work!
Our current economic climate is icky and we are constantly bombarded with headlines about the job market worsening! A few hours ago, the Associated Press released an article titled, Jobless claims indicate economy remains weak, and just 24 minutes ago UK Yahoo! News published Job market slump continues. Day in and day out, that's all we read and hear about on the news!
While most people patiently wait for the economy to stabilize, some people are actually taking advantage of this changing job market to pursue their dream career! That's not a bad idea considering that 7 out of 10 Americans would change jobs tomorrow if wishing could make it so.
After the success from Australia's Best Job in the World campaign, there have been a couple of "copycat" campaigns such as The Next Best Job in the World (which has been suspended due to “unforeseen events,” whatever that means!!! Booooo Mason Horvath Elite Travel Experiences!) and Taiwan's Best Trip in the World contest (ended June 30, 2009).
So if you are looking for a new career involving travel, here are two hot opportunities you may want to consider:
* Lastminute.com: One lucky winner will have the opportunity to spend 60 days traveling to eight cities across three continents, collecting over 32,000 miles! All you have to do is submit a photo from a trip you took, along with a review (200 words or less) of your experience here. The deadline for the One Heck of a Summer contest is July 15, 2009.
* TheBigTrip.com: Spend 15 weeks traveling the United States as a travel correspondent! All travel expenses will be paid along with a $50,000 salary. Submit a 60 to 90 second video here explaining why you are the perfect candidate. Deadline for entries is November 1, 2009.
Good luck to everyone! BTW - each winner gets to bring a friend along with them (Ahem, clearing my throat), so uh keep me in mind yeah?
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
What is an American Expat living in London to do this Fourth of July? I don't know about you, but I can't bare to celebrate Independence Day without a barbecue, fireworks and other Americans!
Whether you're looking for a picnic at the park, boat party on the Thames River, or a late night getting your freak on at the clubs, here are some events to consider:
The London Expat American Meetup Group will be hosting their 7th annual 4th of July Picnic at Battersea Park! The event is FREE of charge all day and everyone is welcome. They will set up in the grassy area in front of the Pump House Art Gallery, which is rented for the event and will have two fully stocked bars in operation as well as clean toilet facilities. There will be softball games and impromptu frisbee playing. Guests are encouraged to bring American footballs, volleyballs, kites or just bring a blanket and a bottled water (which is all you really need)!
Green Man on the Boat Party. From 2pm to 7pm, the all-inclusive cruise up the Thames River promises a little debauchery and some of the finest musical happenings including newcomers 6 Day Riot and folktronica artist James Yuill. Tickets are available for £20 plus booking fee, click here to purchase.
But if you happen to be a night owl, the APT Bar is offering a £5 guest list if you RSVP here. Open until 4am, guests are encouraged to sport red, white or blue (or all three)!
Any of these events tickle your fancy? If not, check out Time Out London's comprehensive list of Yankee-themed celebrations!
Let's hope the sun decides to keep us nice and thirsty all weekend long. Have a happy Fourth of July!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
"This is the first show I've ever done where taxpayers' money is being used to hang my pictures up rather than scrape them off," Banksy was quoted by the BBC as saying. "This show is my vision of the future." (Reuters, June 12, 2009)
When I first heard Banksy would be exhibiting his work in Bristol, I knew I'd find a way to get there. This opportunity does not come along too often, and for me to be living in England when it did, I knew I had to make it happen.
The National Express Coach (£18 return ticket) from London to Bristol took 2.5 hours, the (uphill) walk from the bus station to Bristol Museum took approximately 20 minutes, and the queue to get inside the exhibit was one hour! It was worth the trip, no doubt! The exhibit is FREE -- a great way to bring some business to Bristol and showcase the city as a funky, hip destination.
Banksy's work is brilliant. He conveys such strong controversial messaging using the simplest images.
"Banksy, who is rumored to hail from the Bristol area, but has never revealed his full identity due to ongoing legal complications, is mounting the show as a salute to the city, which supported his early street career," according to a PR company representing Banksy, which it said came directly from the artist, explaining why he was staging the show in Bristol.
These are three of my favorite displays. The Chicken McNuggets and fish sticks are creepy --- you can bet I won't be eating them any time soon!
Friday, June 19, 2009
If you enjoy sipping Cuban rum, listening to Cuba's hottest musical talent, and watching troupes dance to invigorating drum beats, you won't want to miss out on Havana-Cultura, a series of musical events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. Havana-Cultura will be hosted at London's famous Barbican Centre, the largest performing arts centre in Europe!
On Saturday, June 27th, Havana-Cultura will be offering FREE pre-show musical performances by Yoruba Andabo, Changui de Guantanamo, and jazz violinist Omar Puente starting at 2pm.
The ticketed show (£10-20) is a triple bill of Cuba's finest artists, featuring leader of the nueva trova movement singer-songwriter Pablo Milanes, Harold Lopez Nussa, and Son del Tropico. The show begins at 7:30pm.
The FREE stage pre-show performances on Sunday, June 28th will include Son del Tropico, Chacon y su Timba, Charanga del Norte and Leo Duany & Tumbao Tivoli.
And starting at 7:30pm, the ticketed show (£10-20) will showcase Cuba's biggest, funkiest dance orchestra Los Van Van, and Yoruba Andabo, a company of singers, percussionists and dancers performing original West African music styles preserved since the 16th and 17th centuries!
I don't know about you, but just listening to the music by these talented, extraordinary Cuban artists makes me want to shake my bon-bon!
Hope to see you there with a Mojito in hand!!!
Click here for a map of the Barbican Centre located at Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS. Nearest tube stations are Barbican, Moorgate, St Paul's, Bank, Liverpool Street and Mansion House.
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Banksy (Robert Banks) is considered the most provocative and politically controversial graffiti artist of all time, and that's why we love his work so much!
"Banksy's stencils feature striking and humorous images occasionally combined with slogans. The message is usually anti-war, anti-capitalist or anti-establishment. Subjects include rats, monkeys, policemen, soldiers, children, and the elderly." - Wikipedia
The exhibit opened on Saturday, June 13th and will run for 12 weeks ending on August 31st. Admission is free and open from 10am to 5pm every day. Bristol Museum is located at Queen's Road, Bristol BS8 1RL.
Click here for directions.
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Some of his work may be a bit disturbing and upsetting (especially for young children), but his crafty work demands appreciation and praise, whether you agree with his messaging or not.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
No Durian, No Music, No Talking, No Littering, No Jaywalking, No Peeping and No Urinating Allowed in Singapore!
I studied abroad at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and remember my first impression of this city/country/island/state was not all too positive.
This "fine" city made front page news for the caning of Michael Fay, an 18-year-old American charged with theft and vandalism. Before leaving to Singapore, we were briefed on the strict rules and policies, i.e. no gum chewing, jaywalking, littering, spitting, etc.
To my surprise, my Singapore experience was amazing! I loved every minute of it and would recommend it to anyone, especially if it's their first time visiting an Asian country. Singapore is an Asian country with strong western cultural influences, i.e. McDonald's and Starbucks available throughout island. Although English is the official language (and language of instruction), many Singaporeans speak Singlish.
So please don't let these signs deter you from visiting Singapore...
Last, but not least....No Studying! (My personal favorite)
Check out this video (below) produced by a former colleague from Norway, Kjartan. We both lived in Hall 14 and he was crafty enough to create this wonderful video to share with the rest of the students in the study abroad program!