Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: February 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Brazilian Hair Straightening at Free Nation of Beauty


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You can see in the right hand column that I sometimes receive free products and services in exchange for a blog post (and other promotion). I will happily disclose that my friend and stylist Todd Fischer manages my mane in return for some publicity. This is a harder job for Todd (who works at Free Nation of Beauty) than it is for me. I have crazy hair! and Todd is a great stylist so it is simple the truth when I say great things about Todd.

Pre Hair Straightening


For the past few months, Todd has been trying to convince me to come into the salon for a "Brazilian Hair Straightening," which is a Keratin smoothing treatment for frizzy hair, I refused - over and over again. I was concerned about the price, the upkeep, the chemicals, etc. After MONTHS of Todd insisting that I would love the process, I agreed to give it a try. (Just a quick note, this treatment was not free for me but it was discounted)

We took before and after pictures of my hair because I wanted people to realize HOW CURLY and frizzy my hair is when it is simply washed and dried. Todd is a miracle worker, let the photos serve as evidence.

My Hair Pre Straightening


The Steps:
First, Todd washed my hair thoroughly with a clarifying shampoo. At least two washes with a shampoo which is clear of Sodium Chloride and no conditioner before the treatment. The hair must be absolutely clean and free of any product to ensure that the Keratin is properly absorbed into the hair follicle.

We then trimmed my hair because I needed it desperately. Next Todd sprayed the keratin treatment into my hair, section by section, making certain that every last strand of hair was saturated by the treatment.

After my hair was saturated with the treatment, Todd blew it dry. My hair was completely blown out, bone dry. Next was the flat iron process. Todd took pieces of hair, about two inches of hair, and flat ironed my hair. I tried to capture the steam coming out of my hair but it was difficult to catch. The flat iron process took about 35 to 40 minutes as we had be certain that each strand was ironed. The heat infuses the treatment to the hair.

The Hair Straightening Process



What to Expect
  • It takes a long time. I was in the salon for close to three and a half hours (including my cut & color). Without a cut & color, you should still expect to spend an hour and a half to two hours in the salon. But, you'll come out looking as fabulous as a P. Diddy era J. Lo at the Grammy's.



  • There is an odor. I was not bothered while Todd was spraying the stuff into my hair but during the blow dry and the flat iron my eyes burned and it made me cough. I know, it sounds scary but it is in the name of beauty.



  • Honestly, the process is far easier than I imagined



  • It is not cheap. The process runs about $350 and lasts between 8 weeks and four months.




  • Maintenance
    You cannot wash your hair for 48 to 72 hours after the process. You also cannot tuck your behind your ears or put it into a pony tail. The hair must remain completely STRAIGHT. (Don't tell Todd but by day 3, I had to put my hair in a pony tail, in fact, it is in a pony tail right now).

    The MOST important part of this process is after care. Once you receive the Brazilian Hair Straightening, you must wash your hair with a shampoo which does NOT CONTAIN SODIUM CHLORIDE. Todd recommended to brands of Shampoo: TRESemme which you can find just about everywhere and Pureology which is a salon brand.

    You can purchase TRESemme on Amazon.com or Drugstore.com
    TRESemme European Shampoo, Vitamin E Moisture Rich, Dry or Damaged Hair 32 fl oz (946 ml)



    The End Result
    Post hair straightening




    Related Items You Can Buy For Straight Hair:

  • CHI Turbo Digital Microchip Ceramic Hairstyling Iron






  • Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Know Your Target Audience


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    This is a very important blog post. Knowing your target audience is probably the SINGLE most important thing you can ever know or do in marketing or sales. This blog post is going to be an example of what happened to me this past week and how you should ask some questions of people before you try to recruit them or sell to them.

    About a week and a half ago, I was approached by two ladies in a coffee shop. Firstly, let me explain that I am not the type of person one approaches in a coffee shop. Generally speaking, I am there to work, I have a scowl on my face and I make eye contact with no one. Therefore, it is odd that these two ladies dressed like aging, catalog models should approach me.

    Do not bother leyla


    In any case, I was in a "zone" when approached by Stephanie. She started with the compliment, "Wow, I love your shoes," or something equally stupid. But I fell for it and opened the door to conversation. Soon enough, we were exchanging business cards and I was attending some "networking event" at the Hyatt Regency. I was very unclear of what all this was about, I just knew that Stephanie was a MARY KAY person. And one could tell by the mountain of make-up on Stephanie's face.


    Let's get to the meat of this story
    Stephanie proceeds to phone me no less than five or six times reminding me about this stupid networking event. She is always super annoying on the phone with a fake yet friendly voice. She has been coached in a very transparent, sales-y way. I recognize her poor technique as a result of my days in recruiting (where I had to listen to six weeks of audio tapes of exactly what to say to people to coerce them into doing things they do not want to do). Nevertheless, she has me hooked out of guilt.

    I miss the first "networking event" but she convinces me to come to the second event. This is where it gets good.

    I arrive at the Westin Hotel in River North and I see six, pink Cadillacs parked in the circular drive of the hotel. I instantly feel myself becoming enraged. What exactly am I walking into?

    Pink Cadillac


    As soon as I walk into the hotel, I am POUNCED on by gaudy women wearing make up that would make a pageant girl look dressed down. I immediately asked myself, "Am I in Texas?" Each woman made her way over to me and asked me questions about myself all the while wearing a HUGE grin. The sort of grin sorority girls give you as you pledge their house - or at least I imagine since I was never a sorority girl. I knew instantly that I was being courted by these horrible women to become a Mary Kay sales person.

    Each woman said things like "I used to work in Promotional Advertising, I know how it is." Or, "I spent fifteen years working as an engineer for Amoco, I made good money but now I make $275K a year selling Mary Kay." Really? Really? In fact, more than one woman divulged her whopping salary to me.

    Red Flag #1
    This is another lesson I learned in my very brief career as a recruiter. When someone tells you how much money they make in a year - run! Run fast! You know why? Because if it were the norm, there would be nothing to say. Sure, you make $275K a year due to all the losers who spend $X.XX to get into your MLM scam and never make a dime!

    This went on for a total of NINE minutes (to be exact). Just moments before we were about to go into the presentation I started to hyperventilate. I asked the blonde with GIANT CURLS, a fur coat and an absurd amount of make up "How long will this last?" She says, "Why do you have somewhere to be?" Oh no, it's Wednesday at noon, why would I have anywhere to be? You a-hole!

    I start to panic and start to get pretty loud. I say, "Listen, I have NO idea why I am here, I think I was mislead into believing this was something else." She says, "Why what did you think this was?" I said, "A networking event" (Which is what Stephanie told me). The blonde says, "OH my, let me get Stephanie."

    Stephanie approaches me and in that same annoyingly fake yet sweet voice says, "Oh no, you want to leave?" I say, "Yes, this is absolutely NOT for me." She then says, "Ok, I will call you tomorrow." I say "What? Why?" She is STILL trying to sell me! I say, "No, absolutely not, do not call me tomorrow."


    Some lessons for Stephanie

  • Had Stephanie asked me even TWO questions about ME, she would have known that I was absolutely NOT her target demographic. I refuse to sell to my friends and absolutely hate "network marketing".



  • Though I do not wear make-up daily, I consider myself a premium brand user and Mary Kay is absolutely NOT a premium brand to me



  • I identify with women who have a stylish yet very edgy look, personified by the likes of Kate Moss and Angelina Jolie



  • I've never curled my hair, been to Church or joined a sorority



  • I eat girls like Stephanie for breakfast





  • Related Posts:
  • 28 Days of Blogging
  • Monday, February 15, 2010

    My Possessions Which Possess Me


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    In any case, I get my passion for material possessions from my mother who got it from her mother. I don't feel badly about my dedication for aesthetically pleasing, material possessions because I feel as though it is my pedigree. We have never acquired items of beauty to impress anyone or to out-do anyone. My mother and I have a deep appreciation for well constructed items, design, fashion, beauty and that is where our motivation comes for these purchases.


    Here is a brief look at some of my favorite things...


    Roberta di Camerino handbag
    Roberta


    I was in Venice, Italy and I saw these handbags in the windows of the finer shops along St. Mark's Square or Piazzo San Marco. As I would walk up and down the narrow streets, I would see these bags and with each step I grew more and more fond of the style, shape, colors and the Venetian essence that the bags embodied. Finally, I got to a point where I needed to know who the designer of these bags were - as I had never seen or heard of them in the United States.

    A store clerk told me that the bags were Roberta Di Camerino and that the designer was local but sold throughout the world in finer stores. In the U.S. the handbags are sold in Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Barney's New York. It didn't really matter to me where the handbags were sold as I was already in love.

    It was a difficult decision deciding which bag I would purchase and what size. Many of the bags have bold, deep colors but the one I chose was a pale shade of blue with a deep green handle. The velvet is divine.

    I think the reason I love my Roberta Di Camerino bag so much is because I fell in love with Venice when I was there and Guiliana Camerino (the designer) is a native resident of Venice. When I asked around about the bags, people who lived in Venice had wonderful things to say about the designer. I also love the bag because I see it as a piece of art. I like that most people do not know the brand, the women who carry these bags are women who know and appreciate the beautiful craftsmanship. When I see a woman carrying a handbag with the bronze "R", I have instant respect for her sense of style.


    My YSL Tribute Sandal
    YSL


    These shoes are the newest addition to the collection of items which keep me from owning a larger condo or saving for retirement. I love these shoes. I stand nearly 5'11" in these shoes (I am 5'5) and I am not ashamed to wear them in nearly any situation.

    If I told you these shoes were comfortable, you would likely not believe me, but I am telling you, they are comfortable. Well, comfortable in a relative sense.

    When I put these shoes on my feet, I am instantly beautiful. My feet look amazing. Something just happens where you feel special, fantastic and gorgeous. You might be thinking "Well, that is really sad that you need a pair of shoes to make you feel special" - I don't really care if you feel that way. Put these shoes on and you tell me how much of a princess they make you feel. They make my legs look like they go for miles and I look incredible at the craps table at the Bellagio.

    shameless shoe promotion

    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    The Time My DJ Showed Up High On Crack


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    I've mentioned multiple times that I worked in the event business for more than a decade. I worked in various capacities - ad agency, professional services/consulting, and in catering sales and event management for a venue. I worked for four years at Sushi Samba. 80% of my events were corporate: banks, law firms, professional services, etc. I managed everything from a 10 person dinner to a 600 person post trade show, customer event for a chemical company. You name it, I did it.

    While at Sushi Samba, I had to hire various vendors for my events. DJs, lighting companies, dancers, hostesses, trick bartenders, photographers, bands, entertainers (kids & adult), corporate entertainers like magicians or caricature artists - I even hired stilt walkers (more than once). I kept a roster of three to four vendors for each category. My "regular" DJ, we'll call him Freddie, would pay me a commission on the gigs I booked for him (as did many of my other vendors).

    Freddie had a problem with the bottle but he was mostly reliable. Now, you're probably thinking, "Mostly reliable, that is unacceptable." But then again, you probably never worked in entertainment. Mostly reliable is not so bad, I had DJs who would show up more than hour late for an event.

    THIS IS NOT FREDDIE!
    DJ


    Despite Freddie's lifestyle, he was a U of I grad with an Engineering degree, in other words, he was smart. When sober, Freddie could have a great conversation with my clients and many of my clients wanted to talk to the DJ about their music. Freddie showed up on time, or early, always picked up my call, would show up on very short notice and he was great with our sound system. Another "added value" about Freddie was, he was the kind of guy who knew how to get things. Things (or women) my clients would sometimes request, particularly my out of town, trade show attending clients. I would simply refer them to Freddie. Again, you may be appalled but you would be surprised at how many Executive Assistants would pussy-foot around the subject - How do I get my boss laid in Chicago.

    Back to Freddie...
    Holiday season was always crazy at Sushi Samba. I would have events starting right after Thanksgiving that went until just days before Christmas. I would have upwards of five events running simultaneously. The night specifically related to this topic, I had an event for about 100 people on our third floor lounge. It was a sports marketing agency, locally owned, and they had hired Freddie for four hours. Freddie was to "spin" from 8:00 PM until Midnight.

    Normally, Freddie would show up an hour early. By 7:30 I started to worry about Freddie so I sent a few text messages. 15 minutes into the event, still no Freddie and I am angry. I decided to wait in the entrance way of the restaurant for Freddie. Around 8:30p, a car pulls up to the valet and erratically parks perpendicular to the curb. It is Freddie.

    Freddie gets out of the car and storms into the restaurant only to find me waiting at the door livid. I may be a 5'5" white girl, seemingly mild mannered, but do not mess with my bread and butter. Freddie was a 300 lb black man and I was ready to take him down right there at the front door. Freddie walks in, takes one look at me and says, "Not now, I am in no mood." I take one look at Freddie and he looks like crackhead Bob so I back off.

    While Freddie was "spinning" his eyes were rolling back in his head and at times he looked as though he was going to fall over. Freddie's music was completely off! It was too loud, nothing sounded right, everything was messed up. The client noticed. No one would go near Freddie to request songs because he had white stuff all over his lips and it was gooey. I had NO clue what was wrong with him. I called a friend who had been to rehab in the 90s and described Freddie's behavior. His explanation was crack but, to be honest, to this day, I have no clue.

    At the end of the night Freddie had sobered up a bit. Freddie and I had a little sit down. 1. Don't ever make me look bad in front of my clients again. 2. Do you have any idea how much work I get you? (I had Freddie working almost four or five nights a week that month IN ADDITION to his regular nightclub gigs AND he would make a lot more at my events than what the nightclubs were paying him) 3. I make you more money than you make on your own. 4. You ever, EVER F**K with me like that again and I will tear your heart right out of your chest. And then I cut his pay for the night.

    After that night, Freddie had two more events of mine to work in December. I controlled his alcohol intake by not allowing any of the bartenders to serve him until the last hour of his shift. When DJs worked for us, they were able to drink for free - its a perk. Freddie was a like a kitten, he happily obliged and we went back to being good friends. Freddie, my weirdo, resident DJ, crackhead.

    And In The End, The Love You Take Is Equal To The Love You Make


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    My middle brother is a huge Beatles Fan, he has been so since he was a little boy. My dad, who was also a Beatles fan, had a Beatles album from when he (my dad) was a college student in Germany. My bro-ham got his hands on this Beatles album of my father's when he was just a kid...and my bro-ham, he never looked back!

    A few years ago, my youngest brother saw Sir Paul McCartney in concert in Chicago. This youngest brother of mine, Selcuk, strongly encouraged me and my other brother Ahmet to see Sir Paul McCartney in concert as well. The only problem was, Sir Paul McCartney was not playing in Chicago again.

    Long and short of it. My middle bro-ham, his g-friend, me, and my beau - we all flew down to Dallas to watch Sir Paul McCartney perform. My beau and I stayed at the Mansion on Turtle Creek (where I first met Nic Cage).

    The night of the show, my bro-ham, his girl, my beau and I, we all went to dinner at some Tex-Mex place. My bro-ham raised his Margarita glass up and said, "And in the end...the love you take is equal to the love you make." And, at that point, I thought my brother was a poetic genius. He immediately said, "Are you retarded, that is a Beatles lyric, you know we're going to see Paul McCartney, right?

    Well, I did not know the line from the song. But since that time, I think about it all the time. And, in the end, the love you take...is the love you make. Yes. Yes! Yes, you're absolutely right. What else would we be here for? You're right!

    Ahhh....late, Friday night meaning of life blog posts whilst listening to Iggy Pop & the Stooges, that's what I really need to be doing.

    In any case, of all the cases, and lastly, finally, having said all that.... Just believe it is true. Because, you get what you give and don't you want to be the guy who gave it all? I do.

    (I'm not too clear on what I was trying to say in the last sentence but ... I think I meant it)

    THIS IS ME...RIGHT NOW...
    I Can't Believe I Gotta Triple Double



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    Friday, February 12, 2010

    My Non-Expert, Briefly Researched Post on Measuring Social Media


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    I've tried to fix the spacing issues below multiple times and it is not workign. Sorry!

    I get a lot of questions from friends, potential clients and curious cats on how to measure social media. I have my own methods and tools to measure social media and other online marketing efforts and how they returning. My methods usually take a lot of time, multiple steps, and a lot of effort. My method is my personal ritual and I am a slave to my rituals. I know there are more efficient way of measuring social media, therefore, for future reference, and to quell the curiosity of the cats, I decided to take a quick look-see at what was out there and report back.

    Take a look at my research, I am fairly good with research. I had a nice head start, I read what everyone else always writes on this topic. I know I didn't get all of the products out there THEREFORE, I encourage all comments and feedback! I'd love to know more too! Do my research FOR ME, if I missed something important let me know.

    One thing I can say about all, or most, of these products is that they all measure in similar ways. The scan Twitter and (what they can of) Facebook. Others scan a lot more - including blogs and traditional news sources. You can learn who is talking about you or your brand online. Or where your customers are hanging out online. Some of these products have tools where you can "engage" with your customers and others do not. Price is directly relatd to the products capabilities.



    Here are my non-expert findings in no particular order:


    Radian 6
    • Perhaps the leader in this field, one can see from their home page that they have some major clients
    • They have a plethora of free information on their website - I strongly encourage anyone who has an interest in Social Media to take a look at their site as it is informative
    • Sophisticated graphs and charts which are well designed and easy to read (see below)
    • They scan 100 million sites and sources (blogs, photos, etc.)
    • Metrics and filtering - filter by sentiment, engagement, reach, inbound links, vote count and comment count
    • Customizable "Influencer" scores - you can score people based upon their influence
    • Engagement tools
    • Proprietary crawlers and 3rd party crawlers
    • You can segment your data by region (IP address and domain) or media type
    What sets Radian6 apart is (IMHO) is their ability to integrate with other platforms
    • Ability to integrate with Salesforce.com I believe you can import your leads directly into Salesforce.com (if you have an account with them)
    • WebTrends and Omniture integration - as well as compete.com
    • You will have to reach out to Radian6 for pricing but from what I understand, they do not require a contract, you can pay as you go

    crisismgmt_11

    radian 6 case_2


    Vocus
    • "Engage, Monitor, Analyze" - or so it says on their site
    • Fully integrated PR software solution allows you to monitor, analyze traditional media, bloggers and social media
    • Allows for news distribution (which, I don't believe the others do)
    • Broadest online distribution in the US (according to their website
    • Open architecture allows you to monitor millions of sites (they do not say whether it is proprietary or a third party tool)
    • Analyze your online reputation with dozens of charts

    ------ I have no graphs for Vocus ------ sorry -------


    Filtrbox
    • Recently acquired by Jive Software
    • See what others are saying about your company in real time
    • Monitors 1000s of news sources and consolidates into one dashboard
    • Allows users to engage with whom they're measuring
    • Their tool allows you to "reduce noise" by dialing down your filter - you can opt to read articles with a higher "score" or articles which are more relevant
    • Daily briefing emails
    • Web Metrics - integration with Alexa.com and Compete.com
    • Monitors mainstream news




    • Monitors top blog sights: TechCrunch, Huffington Post, Technorati and Google Blog Search




    • Monitors Twitter, Friendfeed and limited monitoring of Facebook (or what is public on FB, which is probably ONLY status updates of public accounts)




    • Unlimited number of search terms and results per your monthly fee (again, contact Filtrbox for pricing)




    • They also have great charts (see below)




    What I liked best about Filtrbox was working with Michael Fraietta. Michael was super helpful, interested in the subject matter, he was interested in working with me and I knew he read my Twitter feed. For me, that goes a long way. When I know I can pick up the phone and talk to someone who understands my problems, I like that.
    Jive002 Jive001
    Host Unlimited Domains on 1 Account

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    People I Stalk Online - Obsessively


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    I really don't think I need to get into my background and love for the Internet, I've talked about that a lot here in this blog. My career started in the ad agency world working in event marketing and I have almost always been employed in that field. In the past few years (about four years), I have become overwhelmingly smitten with social media. Though, I was online probably WAY before most of you were (early 90s thanks to @mknox999 and my bro-ham) I started to use MySpace for work in '05, sourcing bands, DJs and other talent, and it just has not stopped for me.

    In the early days of web surfing, I joined newsgroups, posted on message boards, made friends in chatrooms. Some of those friends I am still friends with to this day (15 years later). But this post is about the present.

    Today, I stalk people on Twitter, on Facebook and on their blogs. I was thinking about it today (I think about my blog NON STOP since I joined the @thescottbishop 28 days of blogging challenge) I follow people's lives online. I don't even care that much about Celebrity Gossip any longer, these days, I find myself fascinated with every day folk.


    I decided to showcase three of my favorite Internet Personalities for you....
    Two of these three people I met online. The third, I met IRL and became OBSESSED with online. He is going to find out TONIGHT that I am obsessed with him. I hope you're as strong as you look Scott, because guess what, I am obsessed with you.


    They are all my favorites, all for various reasons, but not in any particular order. I will start with the most weird and work my way backwards (or whatever).

    Joe Winett AKA @aBigHairySpider
    • I am not sure how I came across Joe online but since the time we met, I've become his "Nemesis"
    • He is totally strange and more than likely a liar
    • He was most recently homeless - which was sad but entertaining in Internet-Land
    • I like to see Joe win, but at the same time, I like to see Joe suffer
    • I sometimes stay up until the wee hours of the morning reading Joe's blog, mostly in disbelief
    • I like Joe's artwork
    • Deep down, though we live 1000s of miles away, I feel a closeness with Joe which I cannot explian

    Here is some of Joe's finest work


    abighairyspider

    Joe Loves Jennifer Anniston

    joe loves jenny

    Joe and I have become quite close
    joe and I have become quite close





    My next online obsession also comes from Twitter. Like Joe, she lives 1000s of miles away, therefore, we have never met. Yet I obsess over her and her life online. We've added each other on Facebook and I often find myself gazing at her photos wondering what it would be like to be her friend. What would it be like to sit on those Manhattan rooftops drinking cheap beer under the stars mocking people from the Midwest.

    She is @TwittsMcGee. And she will be famous one day.
    • She lives in Manhattan
    • She is a concierge in a large mid-town hotel (if you've ever stayed in a "large" mid-town hotel, you can understand where she gets her material)
    • Her tweets are to-die-for funny
    • Her humor is quite simple, if you do not "get" her humor it is likely because you suck
    • I probably give her way too much credit but that's OK because she makes my days go by more enjoyably

    darkhair

    kikikiss



    My last and final online obsession is....Scott!
    Scott and I met OFFLINE first (I know, that is a rarity for me). He and I met through a mutual friend and he made a Kanye West joke directed towards me because I speak too much, think I am more important than everyone else and have a tendency to cut others off. Like we learned about the whole Kanye and Taylor Swift scenario.... I, similar to Kanye, am usually right.

    In any case, I find myself spending HOURS on Scott's facebook page looking at his phototshopped pictures. He makes me wish I could have lunch inside his brain with his glorious talent.


    Scott is VERY strong
    scott rench

    Scott likes piglets (he nurtures them before he eats them.... as bacon)
    scott rench and pig



    There you have it! My Internet Obsessions REVEALED!

    My prediction....

    The next internet phenomena will follow "Reality TV". Brands will find regular people to give marketing dollars to more and more often than they already do. Not just in blogs but on their social media sites and in their photo streams and Flickr. People will start to receive sponsorship dollars to sell brand's products to friends and family in their facebook. We will will make internet personalities "famous" just so we can continue to sell things to random individuals.


    Some Other Shenanigans I've Been Up To:

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    This Valentine's Day - Video Tape The One You Love


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    Just kidding! Sort of.
    I am still on my daily blogging schedule and as the day is coming to a close and I got a little desperate. I saw The Flip newsletter for February in my inbox and thought, "Ah ha! Blog post!". The adorable hearts on the Flip handheld camera made me think of Valentine's Day and then I thought I would get a little cheeky. That is when threw in the video tape your lover on Valentine's Day bit. You can if you want to, please just don't send me the footage.

    In case you have not already had an opportunity to play with a Flip camera, here is an older post I wrote on the Flip. I still don't have one, I borrowed a friend's camera on my trip to Thailand. You can check out my awesome YouTube channel here. You certainly get better at holding the camera still the more you shoot.

    I have a nice post for tomorrow, I spent a bunch of time today doing some research so hopefully I will gain some credibility when you've all read that post. In the meantime, I will continue to fill time and space with meaningless things I like. Much like my Twitter feed.



    Monday, February 8, 2010

    28 Days of Blogging - The Scott Bishop Challenge


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    I've decided to take the Scott Bishop Challenge. Scott Bishop, AKA Real Time Marketer, is someone I met on Twitter, someone I like IRL and someone who's business and marketing ideas I respect. For the month of February, Scott decided to blog everyday - get it, 28 Days of Blogging. I think it was a slight cop out since Scott picked the shortest month of the year.

    There were many thoughts behind the 28 Days of Blogging process, one of which was to measure the results of daily posts. Scott challenged other bloggers to take the Scott Bishop Challenge (btw, I have renamed it the Scott Bishop Challenge, he did not call it this) and I am accepting this challenge. Here is the difference between Scott and me - Scott writes great posts on Social Media and other marketing topics. I, on the other hand, write about oat meal, ex-boyfriends, boat whores and social media and marketing.


    Post 1 of the 28 Days of Blogging Challenge

    I've been eating oat meal since I was a little kid, always Quaker Oats in the little packets, peaches and cream is one of my favorites. When I was a little girl, I ate oat meal all the time. Young Leyla refused to eat anything but oat meal - breakfast, lunch and dinner. My mother grew so frustrated with Young Leyla that she had to convince me that an oat meal tree would grow in my stomach if I continued to eat oat meal for every meal. I still remember being afraid of the oat meal tree growing in my stomach.

    In any case, as an adult, I still eat oat meal. It is a quick and filling way to start the day. I bring a packet to work, warm it up in the microwave and I am good to go until lunch time. My ONLY complaint was that Quaker Oats flavored packets of oat meal were too sweet! I would buy a box of plain and a box of flavored oat meal and mix them 1/2 and 1/2.

    Finally, Quaker Oats has come to the conclusion that there are other people, like me, who think there is WAY TOO much sugar in the flavored packets of oat meal. The good people at Quaker Oats have come up with a flavored oat meal with 1/2 the sugar. Dear Quaker Oats, thank you for finally making an oat meal with 1/2 the sugar. The oat meal is still on the sweet side but FAR LESS sweet than the full sugar version.

    These are the types of posts you can expect from me on the 28 Day Blogging Challenge

    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    I Am Running The Chicago Marathon in October of 2010


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    I decided to run the Chicago Marathon this year and officially started to make my public declarations as of Monday. I ran the marathon in '00 and trained but didn't run in '01. '00 was my first and only marathon, I ran it in 4:36 minutes, I was 28. This year is my 10 year anniversary of my first and only marathon.

    When I first made my "public declaration" on Twitter, I received a few Direct Messages from concerned people. People who don't know me too well, apparently. The main concerns were that I bit off more than I could chew. And, for a minute, they had me pondering if perhaps they were right. But I know better.

    In '00 when I ran the marathon, I was in far worse shape than I am today. I was not taking care of myself, my weight was up, I was drinking quite heavily too. I was basically an irresponsible 20-something-year-old who wanted to start living better. Today, I am not nearly as irresponsible with my health.

    I've been a runner since I was a kid. In junior high & high school, I often came in the 2nd or 3rd fastest when running the mile in gym. Even in high school, when I was a rebellious teen who smoked cigarettes and refused to ever change into her gym clothes for gym (I just took the detention instead), I ran the mile faster than every girl in my gym class. My senior year, when we had to run the mile for gym, I ran it on the track, outside in a miniskirt sundress and flats and ran it under 8 minutes. I said, I would refuse to change into my gym clothes, I meant it. All the other girls were in their gym clothes, I had a dress on with flats and I still outran almost every girl in my class.

    Then I heard comments like "Leyla, this isn't 10 years ago." Really? No kidding a-hole. Bring it, I'm not scared. Plus, my 20 year high school reunion is this year and I'll be damned if I am not going to look good.

    I also heard "But your toenails will fall off." And "Aren't you a princess?" I've been running for more than 20 years and I have yet to lose a toenail. I have great circulation but thanks for the concern dude. And, no, I am not a princess. At times, I may look like a princess. I love manicures and pedicures, sugar and spice and everything nice BUT I also thrive on adrenaline and I have an extremely high threshold for pain. I'd make a great hostage or action hero.

    I am the type of person who sticks with things I do well. Running is one of the few things I can do well with very little effort. I ran cross country in High School and my coach would always laugh because I would finish a race without breaking a sweat. I am just not good at pushing myself too hard. I could run two miles in under 14 minutes and still finish a race only slightly flushed.

    When I ran the marathon in '00, while people were screaming "Come on, you can do it!" to others, I would hear "Keep smiling!" That was at the 18th mile marker. After I completed the marathon in '00, I went out for beers that night.

    So, what's left? I start training on 3/1/10. I will read a little. I will not likely join a running club. I will look for inspiration from my Twitter friends like @chanthana and @runnergirl33.

    And, I will likely buy some cool running gear - starting with this awesome watch.




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    Monday, February 1, 2010

    MacSpecialist Event


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    Last week was my busy week filled with events. I had the SUSHISAMBA Tweetup (which you already read about because you subscribe to my blog and read every word I write because you love me - uncontrollably) and I attended the "Let's Create" event run by @big_teeth and @timjahn and finally I had the MacSpecialist event.

    Sign in table


    I worked with the guys from the MacSpecialist store when they had their grand opening party for the Chicago store (located at 500 N. Wells Street). This time around, their event was a customer event and an anniversary party celebrating their third anniversary. They had 10 vendors displaying product and providing demonstrations. There were a plethora of prizes that were given away too - headphones, an Abelton Live Suite (I should know what this is, I think it is DJ stuff), I think an iPod, speakers and a hard drive.



    The event took place at District (a bar on west Ohio Street in Chicago). There were a total of 400 invites sent out to existing customers and potential new customers. There was delicious food and cocktails for invited guests to enjoy. Two different DJs took turns "spinning" music and lots of mingling and checking out product.

    I planned the event. Found the venue. Negotiated the contract. Worked with the internal person to make sure everything went smoothly. Selected the menu. Managed the budget. Rented all the materials necessary to get the "booths" for the vendors set up. Set up & broke down on the day of the event. I also helped promote the event to the right audience, gather additional people to attend the event who had not previously heard of MacSpecialist.



    Overall, I think it was a great success for MacSpecialist. People were happy, most of the people in the room were supposed to be in the room (as opposed to people being in the room for the free booze) and everyone mingled with the vendors checking out their product.