Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My New Favorite Word - Wonky!

Yup...I have a new favorite word - Epic Fail has been bumped to my 2nd favorite word. My new word is (imagine drum roll) "wonky"!

According to Urban Dictionary, the top entry for "wonky" is "weird, whacked out, messed up, not working for no definable reason. Usually applied to technology."

*Although I've heard it applied to fashion don'ts, bad hairstyles & everything in between...*

Basically, I love this word because:

1. It sounds funny! ^_^
2. It's a good description for when voice mail messages disappear into the ether, your email account flips out, or any other mess up that you couldn't find the perfect word to use to describe it!

This is the Hotness...


Normally, I'm not a Snow White fan...for some reason she was one Disney princess I just couldn't like. She sang in annoyingly high tones & was just overall - a dumb chick.

Anywho...I saw this vinyl decal sticker on Etsy and I had to have it! It's Snow White, but she's a badass...note the awesome gloves and mask...

And of course, how awesome is it that the decal is created perfectly so that she's holding the Apple logo...

I bought it in white (I have a black MacBook). For only $8.99 + $3.00 shipping, this is a must have. To snag your own custom/stock vinyl decals, shimmy on over to Etsy. There are a lot of vendors who are selling them, but I bought mine from "Crafty Gal Decals"!

**And yes, I posted a pic with a watermark - it's not mine, and I don't have the goods yet! Once I get my product in, I'll update this post to show how the white looks on a black MacBook...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My New Favorite iPhone App (Weekend Edition) - Pen Pals

Keeping it short and sweet...

I just got this app last night, Pen Pals, and I'm already addicted. Okay, so I love meeting new people. And I especially love meeting new people from other countries because you never know when you'll get the chance to visit that country. And then, you'll have an instant friend. :)

So, last night I downloaded PenPals..I think it was like $1.99 but I decided to give it a try (although to be fair, it's getting mixed reviews because of connectivity issues with the Dos Hombres' server).

The deal is that you can create a random greeting message (either text or with audio & pics too) and then send it out to the ether. It will be sent randomly to someone else who's also using the Pen Pals app and then they can choose to either reply back to you or delete it. And from there you two can either continue chatting through Pen Pals or make arrangements to chat elsewhere (Skype, AIM, etc.).

So, I decided not to write a random greeting but to wait and see who might send me a random greeting. As of now, I've gotten 8 or 9 greetings. Half of them I tossed just because I wasn't interested and their greeting wasn't all that persuasive. But the others were interesting. And, get this, two of the people who's greetings I kept are from - yup you guessed it, South Korea! And one of the two also works in entertainment too...too funny.

So, I highly recommend picking up this app if you have an Apple compatible device. I haven't had any connectivity issues so far & you never know who you may meet! Plus the graphics on this thing are so's worth the $1.99!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

My K-Novella Obsession - 검사 프린세스

Yup...I'm going through a bit of a K-Novella obsession at the moment - especially since now the plot is finally getting juicy. So, obviously, as you guys know, I'm studying Korean right now and one of my tutors suggested that I watch Korean shows (without subtitles) to help with my listening comprehension. It seemed like a good idea, especially since I don't really have anyone in my close social circle who speaks Korean. 

Most of my friends and my boyfriend are Spanish, so there's no help there (I already speak passable Spanish). So, I went on and managed to catch a show at the very beginning of its first season - 검사 프린세스 (Prosecutor Princess). I only missed one or two shows, but 검사 프린세스 is about a privileged girl (Ma-Hye-Ri - who I will later just refer to as Hye Ri - also pictured in the show poster at left) who manages to pass the Korean version of the Bar and begins working in the prosecutor's office. At first she's at somewhat of a clerk position under the ultra yummy prosecutor Se-Joon...pause for yumminess... (no that's not Se-Joon in the pic - that's another guy who's part of the love square I mention below)

Okay, anyway Hye Ri is initially not really concerned with her job - and why should she be, she's privileged - living a life that the other prosecutors couldn't even begin to afford on a state salary. But eventually (and I forget the reason why because the first few episodes are honestly a tad bit silly) she becomes a full fledged prosecutor - but since she's been so flighty, the cases that are given to her are fluff. But eventually she takes herself (and her jobs) more seriously and proves that she really is the stuff that good attorneys/prosecutors are made of. 

I'm leaving a lot of the plot out just because, there's a whole love square going on as well as the usual dramatic shenannigans for a love/work drama such as this one. Even if you don't understand Korean (or much of it - as is my case with this show) you can pretty much glean a lot of what's going on from watching it. And there are sites that offer the shows with English subtitles. I'm just purposely not watching those versions so my Korean can improve. :) Of course, if you don't want to watch with subtitles, yet aren't understanding everything that's being said (like me) then I highly recommend that you follow up the shows with an awesome blog I came across a couple weeks ago - They give a full recap (in English!) for all the major K-Dramas (fyi: K-novella is just what I call it because after studying Spanish for so many years, their word for TV drama is "novella"). So, you won't miss out on anything - or in my case, you can confirm that what you thought you heard was right!

The Skinny:  검사 프린세스
When: **If you actually get SBS then it airs Wed & Thurs at 9:55pm local (Korea) time - otherwise you can check out sites like where the latest episodes are posted every Wed & Thurs
Recaps: - just do a search for Prosecutor Princess, it takes a week sometimes for the latest recap to be posted 

My New Favorite iPhone Game App - Doodle Jump

Yup, it's that time of the week again...time for my favorite iPhone app.

Well this week, we're talking games and the winner is....Doodle Jump! I love this game because it's simple, fast paced and helps pass away the time on a long commute. The goal is to get the little Doodle Jump guy to jump on little platforms as high as you can without getting snagged by any of the obstacles.

Along the way there are little helpful things you come across that help your Doodle Jump guy jump higher, fly farther or protects him from being hurt by the weird creatures that might get in the way. My favorite is the rocket pack. Another added bonus is this game is always being updated - so there are always new themes, weird creatures and helps that show up from time to time.

Doodle Jump is only $0.99 for iPhone and iPod Touch users so I highly recommend it.

FYI, Lima Sky (the makers of Doodle Jump) also have another awesome app that I love called Flags Fun...definitely recommend it if you're in the mood for a fun brain teaser that also teaches you a 'lil something about which flags belong to which countries.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Social Media = Convos, Not Monologues

So, every once in a while, I get into these great discussions on LinkedIn (my business social network site) and it always gets me thinking on how much social media is misused in the business sphere. Yesterday (Tuesday) I replied to a post where someone was asking if joining a bunch of social networking sites was effective. And the original poster (OP) cited a friend of their's who joined like 10 - 15 sites, posted content daily and upgraded their page rank to the 2nd page. That's awesome right? No not really, and here's how I explained my reasoning:

That's not an effective use of time nor does it mean that your social campaign is truly effective. Yes, he gained rank, but that doesn't mean that people really know who he or his company is and what they do, and why they should want to use his company. I'm a social marketer, and I wouldn't recommend that someone use more than two or three social sites. For example, I have a FB, Twitter and LinkedIn account. My FB is linked to my Twitter so I'm not racing back and forth between the two. Everytime I make a tweet, it automatically goes to my FB page.

Yes, being active on a social site will increase your Google rankings, but I was able to push my rank to dominating page 1 (as well as doing that for some of my clients) without going on every social page. The reality is that social pages shouldn't be dominating your time - otherwise when are you getting real work done? And, how can you really have "conversations" with people if you're on every site known to man? That's the whole point of businesses using social media - to put a face to the company/to connect directly with consumers. If you're on all the social sites, then you're spending two or three hours doing mundane updates and not focusing on the response rates to your posts.

Plus, there's also the issue that not every social site will really address your demographic. For example, if you're marketing to people in the older half of Gen Y, why are you on Myspace? Myspace has essentially become the teenage playground (and young teens at that 13 - 15 year olds). So, I think your friend did a shot in the dark. It was effective in that it increased his Google page rank, but he probably could have gotten similar & more meaningful results with a bit less effort and more targeting.

And then I got a private inMail from a group member who read my response and asked specifically why they weren't receiving results for some of their social media campaigns for their company. They were posting to quite a few different networks, knew that it probably wasn't the best use of their time/efforts, but wasn't sure how to approach management with their feelings. So, I said: 

Hi [name withheld for privacy!],

It's about frequency & conversation, not just the total placements. Besides the fact that posting all over the place is just exhausting, you're not giving yourself the chance to see what the response rates are to your content/updates. One thing I noticed when I first started on Twitter (long before I jumped on the FB craze) was that the people who seemed to have the most followers & the most influence (when you hubspot someone's name) were the people who seemed to be "regulars" on Twitter. Maybe they posted about work things, but then they also posted nice random posts about just whatever they're doing. And most importantly, they replied to other people's posts. That's a conversation - rather than just posting content which comes across as a one way monologue.

Social media is supposed to humanize a brand - so if a company is just doing shot in the dark approaches by posting to too many services at once, it's disorienting to consumers and also makes them feel like the company is somewhat of a fraud. That you don't really want to connect with them, but just have an online presence (sort of a "me too" effect). It's a fine line with social media, and that's also a reason why I don't recommend that people post to more than 2 or 3 sites. If you spread yourself too thin, it shows and in turn makes it harder to connect with your consumer base. Of course, you can also link your services together to save time (much like I linked my Twitter to my FB account) but that still isn't an excuse to join too many sites at once.

Keep in mind page rank means nothing other than the Google/search engine crawler came across your name or meta tags that much more often than your competitors - it doesn't mean that consumers are actually searching you. Conversations will get you high ranks & more importantly, consumer recognition. Otherwise, you run the risk like the guy in the OP's post. Yes, he got page rank, but he got page 2 even after being on all those sites, and yet he still doesn't know whether or not consumers know who he is. And in the end, that's the point of social media, to get others to sing your praises and recommend you or relay your info to others without you having to pay for an expensive campaign.

Let your bosses know that a huge roster of social pages doesn't equal an effective campaign. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Yummy Stuffed Shells Recipe

More awesome recipes from me! So today I decided to make a tray of Stuffed Shells! Total time to prepare (prep & cook) 1 1/2 hours.

Here's the recipe:

1 package of ground beef
1 package of fresh asparagus
1 package of fresh mushrooms
1 red onion
1 box of jumbo shell pasta
1 container of ricotta cheese
2 packages of shredded mozzarella
fresh mozzarella (optional)
1/4 tspn basil
1/4 tspn oregano
1/4 tspn salt
1/4 tspn pepper
1/4 tspn garlic powder (or 2 fresh cloves of garlic)
1/4 tspn Goya Adobo
1 package Goya "Beef Bullion"
2 jars of Tomato Basil sauce (from Ragu)
Olive Oil

This recipe is done in three stages...listed  below:

*The Veggies:
1. Cut up the onions and mushrooms and store in a separate container.
2. Rinse the asparagus and trim the ends. Combine with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic and saute over medium heat until asparagus is tender.  (The salt, pepper and garlic powder used in this step is just to taste - not in reference to the 1/4 tspn sizes listed in the ingredients list)
3. Cut the asparagus into small pieces and store with the onions and mushrooms.

The Beef & Pasta:
1. Combine all of the 1/4 tspn ingredients and beef bullion with the raw ground beef and mix thoroughly. Brown in a skillet until the juices run clear.
2. While the beef is browning, heat the shells  and cook until al dente. (if you cook the shells too long, they'll be too soft to handle in the next step & might even fall apart - which will really suck! ^_^)
3. Once the shells are soft (yet still firm), remove from heat and drain. Let them sit under cool running water to keep the shells from sticking & to cool them down so you can handle them in the next step.

Stuffing the Shells!:
1. In a big bowl combine the veggies, cooked beef, the entire tub of ricotta cheese and half a bag of the shredded mozarella. Mix thoroughly.While you're at this step, preheat your oven to 425F.
2. In a 12x9 pan, spread a base of the tomato sauce to completely cover the bottom of the pan.
3. Begin stuffing a tablespoon of mixture into each shell and place on top of the tomato sauce in the pan.
4. Once all of the shells are stuffed, (note! I used an entire box of shells, and only ended up not using 5 of them) put another layer of tomato sauce to completely cover the shells. If you like your pasta extra saucy, feel free to add as much sauce as you please. I bought 2 jars to be safe and ended up using 1 1/2 jars of sauce.
**The shells can be visible, but none of them should look dry like no sauce has touched them.**
5. Take the remaining shredded cheese from the first package and sprinkle a layer over the shells. Again, if you like a lot of cheese, feel free to use the 2nd package.
6. If you opted to also use fresh mozzarella, place pieces of mozzarella at random over the top of the shells. You don't need a lot - unless you're really going for a super cheesy experience!
**if you used a disposable pan like I did, make sure you place the pan on a cookie sheet to give it support**
7. Place the pan of stuffed shells in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. 5 shells should be a good serving amount! Serve with garlic bread and a little parmesan cheese...enjoy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Shoes, Shoes & More Shoes!

Of course I love shoes, what woman doesn't?!

Anyway, I was in the city today and I bought this cute pair of shoes. They're pseudo classic looking but at the same time are super comfortable. It's almost a 3 inch heel but even as I walked around the city with them on this afternoon, my feet didn't hurt at all! Got them at the DSW in Union Square for $49.95...I love that store! ^_^

**I have long legs haha!**

**I love how classic these look, they go great with jeans, shorts (which was what I was wearing today) or a skirt!**

And I love the contrasting strap-work! Super cute!! ^_^ They also had this in a nautical navy stripe with red accent straps and silver hardware instead of the tortoiseshell on my version - but I decided to skip the nautical theme.

BzzAgent: Hills Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Dog Food Pt 2

So, I mentioned earlier this week that I was doing a BzzAgent survey for Hill's Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Dry Dog Food. Well, today I went out at picked up a bag (comped by BzzAgent/Hill's Science). If you remember, I have a 2 year old Yorkie who we currently feed the Eukanuba Yorkshire Terrier Formula kibble.

**The Hills Science is 4.5lbs vs the 7lb Eukanuba bag on the left.**

For starters, the Hill's Science Diet food comes in a resealable bag - which is nice, since we have to use a clip to keep our Eukanuba closed. The only draw back is that the Ziploc-like seal opening is so small that we can't use a scoop/cup to put food in the bowl but would actually have to take the entire bag to Jimmy's bowl and pour it.

Well, after putting the food out Jimmy seemed to like it - which made us happy because he's quite picky. He's free fed so we didn't expect him to demolish the bowl, but he ate for about 3 or 4 minutes.

But then it went downhill from there. About thirty minutes after being fed, Jimmy ran under the couch and started whimpering - which makes me think that the Hill's Science Diet didn't agree with him. Since about almost 7pm my poor furbaby has been very lethargic - nothing has motivated him to get up - so he must have a stomach ache. I know for a fact he's sick since as I type, I'm eating a bowl of pasta and normally the sight of human food is enough to energize him to beg for scraps while we eat. No begging tonight - he's been laying on the couch resting.

**Poor Jimmy has been whimpering for the last hour and a half...**

Verdict: I'm kicking myself for deciding to try out this product. I'm not saying that Hill's Science is a bad product because I'm sure that this isn't the outcome for everyone else. But I should have considered the old saying "if it ain't broke...". Jimmy Choo has been eating Eukanuba since he was 2 months old with no issues whatsoever. There are some foods that don't agree with him and ultimately when it comes to buying food (much like with babies), it's a trial and error. But at least I didn't have to come out of pocket. Although, the product is fairly cheap - $8.99 for a 4.5lb bag from PetLand (at least that's the price here in the Bx...)

So, now I'm feeding my pup a little plain white rice to calm his stomach which he is responding to. And now he's resting in his bed...I did this test because I thought it would be a graet alternative, but to be honest, when it comes to your pet's food (much like if you have children) don't go messing around unless you absolutely have to. -_- It's one thing to do a cosmetics review, it's quite another to mess with my pet's tummy - especially when the poor thing suffers as a result of it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Yummy Spicy Shrimp Salad

Yes, I love to cook - but only if there's people to cook for, otherwise it's just no fun. So, today I didn't feel like cooking anything that would require a lot of time at the stove/oven considering that it's still really warm out and I haven't entirely acclamated myself to the weather change. So, I decided to make a shrimp salad - it turned out a bit spicier than I had intended but it was awesome. The recipe is below and should make about 4 - 6 servings depending on how generous you are with your portions:

 **See my little Yorkie in the bottom left corner wishing he could have some! But this is too spicy for him!!!***

Prep time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 5 - 10 minutes

30 - 40 Shrimp (either fresh raw or pre-cooked frozen)
1 avacado
1 can mandarin oranges
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup thawed frozen/drained canned loose kernel corn
1 cup fresh mozzarella balls
1 1/2 heads of romaine lettuce
1/4 tspn cayenne pepper
1/4 tspn Jamaican curry powder
1/4 tspn oregano
1/4 tspn basil
1/4 tspn black pepper
1/4 tspn salt
1/2 tspn garlic
olive oil (I didn't measure the amount of olive oil I used, but put enough to liberally marinate the shrimp - which will later be used as the dressing)

Shrimp Marinade:
After thawing and peeling shrimp (as necessary) combine cayenne pepper, black pepper, oregano, basil, salt, garlic, curry and olive oil in a plastic bag with the shrimp. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for at least 20 - 30 minutes.

Chop the lettuce and place into a large bowl. Drain the mandarin oranges and add to the lettuce. Combine dried cranberries, corn and mozzarella to the lettuce and toss. After 20 - 30 minutes has passed place shrimp and marinade in heated skillet. If using pre-cooked shrimp cook for 5 minutes, no more than 10 if using raw shrimp (until it turns pinkish). Add shrimp and marinade to the salad and toss. Plate the salad and garnish with wedges of avacado.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

My New Favorite iPhone Korean Learning App - LingoPal

Yup, I'm doing it's time for the "My New Favorite iPhone App" segment! Last week it was a game, this time, it's something educational (yet fun at the same time).

If you've been reading my blog or just know me personally, you know that I'm learning Korean. I watch my K-novellas (검사 프린세스), I have language apps on my iPhone, learning websites I use and I've run through a number of tutors (one of which is coming back this month - yay!). But I came across an app that is actually intended for you to use when you're actually in a situation where conversing in a foreign language would be extremely useful. It's LingoPal's Korean app on iTunes. They're a language company that produces apps and products for all different types of languages, but obviously, I was only really interested in their Korean content.

They have phrases that can be used in any situation from getting around the city, ordering food and flirting - and better yet - learning how to properly reject someone in Korean. ^_^ My favorite rejection lines are the following (things I wouldn't mind telling some obnoxious dude on the subway):

Leave me alone: 저를 혼자 두세요 (jeo-reul-hon-ja-doo-se-yo)
I don't like you: 난 너가싫어 (nan-neo-ga-sil-heo)
Fuck off: 꺼져 (keo-jyeo)
(Because seriously, after I say I have a bf, I'm not interested in you telling me "well why can't we be friends" - I don't want to be your friend. I have plenty of friends & they don't look at me like I'm the last rib on the plate)

Anyway, the app is free (a huge bonus when dealing with learning apps) for those with iPhones/iPod Touches. If you're wondering why I said it's a huge bonus when trying to learn or make an application part of your daily life, the reason is nothing is worse than paying for an application with limited functionality - especially when trying to learn a language. I usually don't "buy" language apps just because I hate to be disappointed, but the most I've ever spent on a language app is $1.99.

The other useful thing is, it has a pronunciation guide that you can play for each phrase as well as showing you what the phrase is supposed to look like (extremely useful for languages like Korean where the writing system is entirely different from Romance languages). A word of warning, you need to have at least a basic knowledge of the Hangul (Korean) writing system and pronunciation for this to be an extremely useful app because there is no romanization available. If you don't know what "romanization" is, go back to the list of Korean phrases I wrote above (the pronunciations I made for each one is considered "romanizing" the phrase to make it easier for non-Korean speaking people to understand how to pronounce the word).

BzzAgent: Hills Science Diet Small & Toy Breed Dog Food

As many of you know, I'm a BzzAgent. I get to test out new products and services for free in exchange for offering my opinion on them and spreading the word to all of you readers out there in cyberspace. So I have two upcoming BzzReports that I need to do, one for Cover Girl & another one for Hill's Science Diet - the pet food company.

Well this post is about Hill's Science Diet. I just got my BzzKit for the program, and unlike normally where the product is delivered directly to me, this time, I've been given a coupon to redeem for a free bag of Hill's Science Diet Small & Toy Breed dry dog food.

A bit of background info: I have a Yorkie - Jimmy Choo. He's just over 2 years old, about 6.3lbs and is somewhat of a picky eater. Since my boyfriend and I got him when he was just two months old, we've been feeding him Eukanuba kibble. Of course, we give him other things too (Mighty Dog and the occasional treat of chicken, rice, cheese or turkey), but the Eukanuba kibble is the mainstay.

 **Our Jimmy a rare moment of inactivity**

At first we gave him the Eukanuba Puppy Lamb & Rice Formula but then once he was a year, we switched to Eukanuba Yorkshire Terrier Formula. The Yorkie specific formula is specially created to address the nutritional needs for not just Yorkies but a few other toy breeds as well as addressing the special needs of their coats, dental care and probiotics for healthy digestive tracts. So, I can't really complain with the Eukanuba formula, it's been good so far.

 **Our current dry dog food of choice. You can't see the green sticker (hidden by the clip) but it lists that the food has probiotics in it. **

But when I saw the offer on BzzAgent, I had to give it a try. However, our Jimmy is a picky eater, so it will be interesting to see if he likes this new formula from Hill's Science Diet. But, I just refilled his bowl this morning (we free feed our pup) so, I won't be able to try out the Hill's Science until probably Tuesday when Jimmy finishes what's in his bowl right now.