Finishing off that book report!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Today is Monday aka the day from hell, so I figured I'll lighten it up by finishing this book report!  Party time!   I really did quite enjoy this book, and I'm glad I chose it for this assignment.  It wasn't draggy or overly-lengthy and again, a really useful overview of the social media world.

Beyond the Basics

Chapter twelve is entitled why you still need a Website and a newsletter.

I myself asked "why do I?"  I mean, I have this blog that nobody reads but I guess I enjoy updating it once a year.  If it had more of a focus or purpose then I would probably update it more often, and attempt to draw more readers to it.  The author mentions that having a Website gives you a permanent home on the internet.  And she's not talking about the Sailor Moon website I made in 1997.  She mentions that "your Website is your homestead on the electronic frontier."

  • Websites in a Social Media world - she mentions how you can have a HTML-based website which in this day and age, often requires expert help to update vs. a WordPress blog that you can largely update yourself.   An important note that I think she made is that you may or may not be selling products from your website, but you could be selling "you".  She says it should be the nexus of your brand.   She offers a basic summary of what a webpage layout is usually like and what sections you should have ('about me' being an obvious one).
  • Your newsletter list is gold - "there's a saying in the online world: 'your list is your retirement'.  This means that your opt-in, permission-based mailing list is an asset from which you can generate lifelong earnings if built well and handled correctly."  She says building a list comes down to two key elements: having an attractive incentive (what gets people to sign-up) and having a good e-mail program.
Snail mail is now just a fun way to send Christmas cards you've printed with a photo of your dog + Santa Claus

Chapter thirteen deals with Social Media, branding and influence.  Martin mentions that it now only takes five seconds to ruin a reputation, thanks to social media.   She says your brand, reputation and influence are both power and fragile.  
  • Branding - Martin says this is a combination of tangible and intangible factors...logo pricing, customer satisfaction.  The most important sentence from this section in my opinion is where she mentions that you are your brand - that doesn't come with an 'off' switch, it's 24/7.  I think alot of people forget this, even employees when they are off work and posting crazy pictures to social media, to an extent.  You have to be aware of who you work for and what image you are portraying.  
  • Reputation - this is a general section on how to behave so that your reputation remains intact.  It's pretty basic but also important - especially the part where Martin mentions not to get into an argument.  As a consumer I have seen this many times, and it just winds up making the company look tacky and almost guilty of whatever it is they are defending themselves for.  
  • Influence - Martin states that influence flows from your brand, reputation, actions and connections.  She says it "is the weight your opinion holds to be able to sway the actions of opinions of others, as well as your ability to tap into a network of people who are willing to help you make something happen."   This was a short section which I think she really could have gotten deeper into, as influencers alone are such a huge business in social media.  

Chapter fourteen is go global, stay local.  I didn't understand the purpose of this section until Martin mentioned that any time you leave a void when people are trying to discover you, there's a piece missing of the puzzle.  People need to be able to piece together who you are.  
  • Stay local - this was an important section because she points out how even local businesses should be online - because local customers also use things like Facebook.  You need to be accessible, and I totally agree.   I'm not going to summarize this section too much because I don't want to write her whole book out online!  But this section is great advice for businesses understanding the value of paying attention to their local audience and being accessible, active and social.  I like this section because she's reminding us to stay connected instead of being disconnected with others - as alot of larger companies can do.  
  • Go global - this section is alot shorter, but the essence is to use engagement strategies outlined in her Stay Local section (again, not writing them here because you should purchase this book) but an example are sharing pictures of your customers from various countries.  It's still 'intimate' but in a global way (my words, not hers).  
  • The power of community - this section deals specifically with online communities such as using Ning, an online community site.  At first I thought she would write about actual community management which is a role that sometimes confuses people, but she's speaking specifically about online places such as Meetup.  
"Don't be afraid of me, for I am but a massive object suspended in space housing billions of people"


Chapter fifteen deals with social media tips and tricks for authors, speakers, event planners and content creators.  This to me was a really useful section and really informative.   She outlines how branding, influence, credibility, connection, engagement are all important aspects for such people to be familiar with when actioning their social media strategies.  
  • Social media tips for authors - this is a great section specifically for authors, as there are sites specifically for them.  For example, Amazon offers an "author page" for authors whose books are on sale through their website.   She also talks about Goodreads, Pinterest (adding photos relevant to your books, places in your books, etc.)  She also mentions NetGalley, which I've never heard of - not being an author - which allows author to provide free digital review copies of their books to bloggers and reviewers.  
  • Making the most of social media for speakers and event promoters - this is again, a section outlining what sites to use for these individuals, such as ESpeakers, Meetup, and LinkedIn.  I like how she reminded the reader of the importance of the mailing list, and how useful these are for professionals.  
  • New ideas for creators on social media - this section provides useful information for creators in using websites like Etsy (that one I am VERY familiar with, as I have my own shop - see below - end self plug), EBay, DeviantArt, etc.  I like how the author takes websites and platforms that you wouldn't necessarily think can be used for social media for your particular profession (ie. a crafter using YouTube for promotion instead of just how-to videos).  She has a good way of thinking outside the box sometimes and really letting you know how to maximize your ideas and potential.  

Chapter sixteen is not-for-profit and caused-focused grass roots social media.  Again, I had no idea what this was about before reading this chapter.  I thought she meant that there was a new style of social media, not that these organizations can use social media!  Oops.   Why is social media good for these groups?  It's can be more inexpensive, but it can also feel more real and personal.  The costs aren't as glaring as say, receiving a package from the Humane Society with a calendar and a bunch of stickers.  
  • LinkedIN, Facebook and Twitter - she says to use LinkedIn for the business side of charity, and outlines various ways you can use LinkedIn to engage your employees/helpers/volunteers and engage others.  
  • Video rules the online world - this is a good section for outlining how powerful video can be and how useful, for bring viewers into your world.  An example she gives is doing a Facebook live at a Habitat for Humanity build.  An important note she made was to not wait for the media to discover your fundraisers - build your credibility first, tag people, etc.
  • Monitor your brand - she says to guard your brand's reputation to maintain your credibility.
  • Social validation - this is what happens when people follow what other, more influential people are doing and do likewise.  
  • Cause-centric crowdfunding and peer-to-peer campaigns - Martin outlines various platforms one can use for fundraising, such as Charitweet and Classy.  This book has honestly introducted me to so many websites and platforms that I'd never heard of before.  She really emphasis how you can lengthen your reach, and in this case in regards to fundraising.  

Chapter seventeen, the final chapter, is time in a bottle: capturing history on social media.  Martin mentions how social media has democratized the collection, curation (I personally hate how this word has become misused so commonly these days - a curator is not just someone who gathers stuff together.  But, that's a complaining for another day!) and sharing of our history.   The internet is fantastic for recording history and documenting things.  
  • The written record - the main difference between now and then, is that researchers are learning to compile information as it unfolds, instead of looking back.  It's a completely different ballgame now.  Libraries at one point moved to microfiche (which I actually dealt with at my first financial job in 2001), to now having things digitized.  She outlines how once computers and scanners became cheaper, many more individuals could upload documents, photos, etc. and preserve them online forever.  
  • Social media changes everything - she says it's the glue that pulls digitized history together.  One point she raised is how Facebook groups can be great for recording history. I personally follow a group that has uploaded historical photos from the city I grew up in, which is fascinating and I never would have seen these otherwise.   One website I think she could have mentioned in this section, is archive.org.  This website is amazing because it had crawlers take snapshots of pages since the 90s.  You can see what Yahoo looked like in 1997, for example. I love it.  

Martin concludes the book with a summary called imagining the future.  She outlines the following:
  • Mobile matters - phones are basically now small computers.  As a professional or business she asks, "can you offer a mobile app that makes it seamless and convenient for your customers"? 
  • Vertical integration - when sites acquire other platforms, those capabilities get integrated into a seamless whole.  
  • Vicarious experience - VR, drones, smart glasses, she says that "surely social media will evolve as a way to share our experiences in ways that go far beyond words, photos and video clips".  

From a personal standpoint, I thought this book was really neat and as mentioned before, a really good overview of a variety of websites, social media platforms, and websites that can be used for social media purposes.  Martin's writing style is great - never dull, very engaging.  What I also liked about this book was how she interviewed numerous professionals in each chapter of each section.   This really gave me a real-life insights from other professionals on their thoughts and practices and I found them extremely informative and useful.
Overall I would definitely recommend this book.  It doesn't focus on anything like social media strategies, campaigns, SEO, or anything like that but as I said, it gives you a general overview on the best practices one should follow as an online professional/someone using social media to further their business and reach.

I would rate this book 9 likes out of 10 retweets!  Har har har.

Finally, I created one last Pinterest board for this section - find it here!

Thanks again for reading this and for joining me on this wondrous journey.  If you have any interest in social media marketing, I'd really recommend this as a starter book to wet your feet and get introduced to this whole world.

-Lisa

Moving on to section three of...my book report!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Thanks for sticking with me through this epic journey.  We're halfway there in my quest to review The Essential Social Media Marketing Handbook!

Yesterday I made a note wondering why the author didn't mention podcasts, then when I started reading this section today...yup, hello podcasts.   But hey, reading a section then reviewing it before moving onto the next section is ~*exciting and dangerous*~, right?  Right?  Well, today was a nice read because I was at my parents house on their cozy reclining couch, sans dog, so I blasted through this section like I blasted through the chocolates my mom hid for me.  That's right, I am a grown adult and my mother hid chocolates for me.  Deal with it.

Level Up Your Game

I quite liked this section of the book because it kind of got into 'nerd' territory, aka the territory I am super familiar with.  Martin covered places like Reddit, which I spent FAR too long on, on a daily basis.  Again, she's great with summarizing the general ideas of these platforms or websites and in this section she does relate them back to how you can use them to extend your influence and build your brand.

Chapter eight of this book focuses on maximizing interest sites, Meetup, Reddit and Forums.


  • Interest and industry sites - she mentions how whatever industry or professional associate or special-interest club you might be a part of, the chances are high that there's a website.  To me this is an obvious statement, especially in this day and age.   I think the most important part of this section was when she focused on the fact that if you're a professional on a more professional-focused website or forum, then you can use it to your advantage by answering questions, meeting fellow professionals, seeking out contacts, etc.  This is not Myspace - it's more useful than that.
  • Reddit - the author's summary of Reddit was spot-on.  It's a bit rough, has its own culture, and people on Reddit don't like being sold.   She mentions that you should be present consistently enough to be noticed, but not so much that you dominate.  You can post links to share expert articles, etc.  Personally I wouldn't recommend Reddit to a professional, but that's my opinion and the author is including it here just in case.  
  • Meetup - again, without getting specific, she gives a general overview of the Meetup website and what it does.  It's really self-explanatory.  
While I think the above three topics and their relationship to building a professional tribe or world on social media is questionable, Martin was good at introducing them and letting the reader know WHY they might be useful, and how they could attempt to use these places for their professional meanderings.  Her ending point?  That they can be enjoyable.  If anything else, to me, that's number one.
This is the kind of meetup I can get behind

Chapter nine focused on Internet radio and Podcasting.  These are two things I am personally a little unfamiliar with - I have Podcasts on my phone, but I always forget to listen to them and they pile up and then I just panic and delete them all.  I like Podcasts with scary stories, mostly.  Love scary stories.

The most important point I got from this chapter was when Martin mentioned that "it's easier than ever for someone with a good message and the gift of gab to reach a worldwide audience, without the need for a broadcast license, frequency assignment, expensive equipment, transmitter, or any of the old barriers to entry that used to keep radio locked up in the hands of a few."  This is so true and why the casual-energy of Internet radio and podcasts are kind of refreshing.  

She covers the following sections in this chapter.
  • Blog Talk Radio - I was 100% unfamiliar with this before reading this book.  Martin mentions that BTR is the "granddaddy" of Internet radio sites.  It's a place where you can find hundreds of shows on all kinds of topics.  I actually really enjoyed this section because as previously mentioned, I knew nothing about BTR and the author does a great job of letting you know what it can be used for.  She even mentions how if you want to be a radio host, you can use BTR in a do-it-yourself manner.   This coincides with another site, BBSradio.com which I was also completely unfamiliar with.   Importantly, she mentions how BTR and BBS have social media capabilities built in.  They make it easy to upload links to new shows on the main SM sites, which is great for hosts to interact with their audiences.  
  • Podcasting - I won't get specific here as she gives a brief yet concise summary of what Podcasts are and how you can listen to them.   She doesn't relate Podcasting back to social media marketing, but she does mention how it could be a potential new career for someone who wants to share knowledge, stories, etc.  

Chapter ten focuses on Kickstarter, Patreon and GoFundMe.  I personally have used GoFundMe numerous times, to donate to animals in need in some way or another.  Martin describes how these are the three best-known funding platforms, and details how different they are in their structure and purpose.

The first thing she outlines is that you need to have a good product.  This relates more to a place like Kickstarter, which we well know as a place where people have raised funds to make movies, for example.   One thing I learned?  She mentions that the beginning and ending of the campaign are when most of the funds come in.  
  • Kickstarter - according to Martin, it's the gold standard for crowdfunding sites.  I know this is the first one I ever heard of, personally.   This is a great section as it educates the reader on HOW to use Kickstarter effectively - the author gives good advice on what to do and what not to do.   Martin also mentions Indiegogo, whose main difference is that they allow crowdfunding for charitable causes.  Kickstarter no longer allows this (at the time she wrote the book, at least).
  • Patreon - I had NO idea what Patreon was until I read this book.  No idea at all.  Martin explains how most people who setup a Patreon site are in a creative field, usually people who have first proven themselves outside of the website.  The point is that hard-core fans will pay money for special access to someone who creates something they enjoy consuming.  Authors are an example, and an example of something they can share would be snippets of WIPs, deleted scenes, etc.  
  • GoFundMe - this is the one I was most familiar with, as mentioned above.  Just as Martin describes, "it's a crowdfunding Website designed for personal causes, not for business use".  
I don't particularly know why these were included in this book as the author doesn't really relate them back to social media marketing, but I suppose these could be used in ways as supplementary devices that a professional may require at some point in time, for whatever reason.  Regardless, it's good to be familiar with these. 
"Excellent I have raised enough money to draw the rest of my arms"

Chapter eleven deals with social amplification and gamification.  "Huh?" I said.  Well Martin explained that these two elements, extending reach/visibility and making engagement fun, are the heart of social amplification and gamification.  
  • Social amplification - Martin states that this occurs "when your content gets seen by a viewership larger than its original audience."  It doesn't have to go viral, but there are levels.  An example of one level of social amplification, are boosted posts on Facebook or promoted tweets on Twitter.  Martin does outline that questionability of promoted posts on Facebook and what kind of reach they garner/what kind of ROI occurs, whereas Twitter seems to delivery pretty consistent numbers.   A second form of Social Amplification is making your content available on other sites like Digg, StumbleUpon or Reddit.
  • Social gamification - Martin outlines how people are more likely to do something if it's fun.  Examples include online polls, draws or contests.  She mentions that a really good "game" with a satisfying payoff will get shared to a wider audience.  I've seen this on Instagram and it's SO effective because you have users tagging their friends in contests, sometimes following other accounts to enter a contest, etc.  
Martin finishes with asking the reader to look at how these sites can help you reach a larger audience.  She says "make your content valuable enough that others can't wait to share it".  

Overall I actually really enjoyed this section, as this is the one where I learned the most.  Again, Martin is very clear and she makes everything so easy to understand and doesn't always go into specifics, but always offers a really good overview of the various platforms and websites.  

I've created a Pinterest board here to coincide with this section.

Thanks again and I'll be covering the final section tomorrow!

-Lisa


Book report continued...let's do this

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Thanks for joining me again on this, the day of my second book report post.  Section one of The Essential Social Media Marketing handbook was an overview of social media culture and how it has changed us and the world around us, and how we interact with others.

Section two deals specifically with specific social media platforms.

_______________________

Building a Foundation

Chapter one of this section deals with the mighty three: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  We have covered the three of these in class so I was interested to see what Martin's take was on these platforms.

I liked how she referred to Twitter as more of a 'cocktail party', where the emphasis is on short, witty conversations and working the room.  LinkedIn is like a 'business networking event'.   I always found that people I know in real life were hesitant to join Twitter as they couldn't really pinpoint what it was for, but I think this is a good description for people who can't quite understand the purpose.

The author breaks this chapter down into a few subsections which I'll cover now.

  • Facebook: where the world goes to mingle - the author refers to Facebook as "the crossroads gathering place for planet Earth".   She says Facebook is meant to be a conversation and not a broadcast, which is definitely true - Facebook seems to be the home of people sharing their opinions on anything and everything.  Whether on their own posts, or others.   She also outlines the initial success of Facebook fan page, and notes how over the years they've had a decline in reach and 'likes'.  She mentions that "those in the know suspect that the decline in organic reach comes from an algorithm designed to encourage more paid ads and boosts".   The algorithms Facebook uses are frustrating and confusing, but it still remains a top platform.
  • Twitter: short and sweet  - as I mentioned above, the author also states that Twitter confuses alot of people.  Your posts are limited to basically one long sentence (note: this has changed since she published this book.  Twitter now allows longer posts).   She mentions that she's amused as to how people struggle to find what to say but I disagree - sure, Twitter is conversational in short bursts, but how often do we talk like that in real life?  So many people use Twitter just to spout off random thoughts about like, what cloud they're staring at.  Nobody would ever do that in real life.  Continuing on, as she did for the Facebook subsection, she goes over the basics of Twitter and how it works.  
  • Getting the hang of LinkedIn - she calls this the 'epicentre of social media'.   She mentions that although the interface is clunkier than other platforms, it's the place to go for networking.  She gives a good and basic overall summary of what LinkedIn is for and how to use it.
"Helloooo I am an influencer, send me free stuff!"

I enjoyed this chapter because again -  although a bit long-winded in parts, she does give a good summary to the Big Three social media platforms (albeit is this outdated now?  Especially with Facebook's recent turmoil over privacy concerns and shared information).  On page 65 she was interviewing a LinkedIn expert who mentioned that "the social media imperative is transparency, authenticity".  I agree with this and think it's an important note for those who want to utilize social media for their businesses of from an 'expert' standpoint.  


Chapter five deals with navigating the Google empire.  I actually really like Martin's opening line: "Google is the ultimate over-achiever, striving to be everything to everybody.  Most of the time, they do a good job."  I have myself gotten the impression that Google has its hands in absolutely everything and most of the time to a great and helpful effect.  

She gives an outline of Google and its many arms - how it's still THE search engine, and how Google+ is still alive, yet still dead.  Speaking personally, Google+ to me is still a mystery! I have an account but - why?  Nobody knows.   Google Drives and Google Docs are both great tools and I use both of these myself.    She covers all the bases, Google Translate (used frequently by myself), Gmail, Google Calendar, etc.  This is a good section that informs the reader of everything Google has to offer.  I wouldn't mind if she went a little further in depth as to how all of these directly affect social media in business, but it's a good overview section


Chapter six of this section is Blogging, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram.  This is my favourite section because these are my favourite social media platforms.  Again, this is an overview chapter that outlines what these four platforms are for and a general idea on how to use them.   The following subsections are included:

  • Blogging - Martin states that "Blogging is an essential part of being successful on social media".  I do agree with this for the most part - although I personally don't really read blog posts from companies I follow, I know that many other people would.   This section is a bit repetitive as it calls back to the first section of the book where she talks about your "tribe" and how to be an expert and engage other experts to give yourself credibility.  
  • Photo sharing and blogging - she mentions that "photos get attention, and that's what you want online".  I fully agree with this as a visual person who spends a ton of time on Instagram - I generally steer clear entirely of blogs that have limited photo content.   She offers an overview of Pinterest and Instagram here, and describes how they are laid out and how photographs can be shared on these platforms.  It's useful for those who have no familiarity with these platforms.  One of the more important things she mentions on page 77 is to make sure you tag your photos and give them titles, so search engines can recognize your content.  I know personally that image alt attributes are very important for this.   What she didn't mention though, is how Instagram can shadow ban you for overusing tags, to the point where your posts will temporarily not show up under tags you've overused.   
  • She mentions that Pinterest is more straightforward, Instagram has more artsy photos, and Tumblr gives you more room for explanation.  I'm not sure I agree with this entirely, as someone who uses all three platforms.  From what I've seen, there are a ton of memes on Instagram and Tumblr, and Tumblr itself is the home of reblogs where people can just click click click and repost things, similarly to pinning on Pinterest.  

Chapter six of this section is for YouTube, Facebook Live and web video.  The author says "welcome to the video generation" which is true, video has proven to be key on social media platforms and key for getting engagement from other users.    She mentions this herself when she states that "video dramatically increases the impressions and visibility of your social media posts".  I agree wholeheartedly!  As an example, I posted a video on one of my Instagram accounts about two weeks ago.  The video resulted in me gaining over 2000 followers and has over 70,000 views.  A couple of days later I posted a still-photo, which garnered less than 300 likes.  It was a big wake up call for me.

In this chapter Martin gives a very basic overview of these video platforms.  She briefly touches on Google Hangouts and Periscope and Snapchat.  I think she could have gone more in-depth here instead of just offering a brief overview, and if the book were newer she likely would have discussed the issues/backlash Snapchat has faced recently.  I would be interested to read her take on this.
I don't know about you, but sometimes when I'm watching someone on Instagram Live or Periscope, I feel like this

The final section of this chapter focuses on GoToWebinar, WebinerJam and Zoom.  I enjoyed this portion because I am completely unfamiliar with these, as someone who never had any reason to use them.   She doesn't get too specific here nor does she give you a tutorial on how to use these, but she has pointed them out and listed what kind of tools you can look for with these platforms and what you should look for.  I found it helpful.  She didn't mention Podcasts at all which I find interesting, and although those are not 'social media platforms' they are still popular and used by those on social media.  

Overall I enjoyed this section, and I did appreciate her stance on some of these platforms, including the ones I was already more familiar with.   I would definitely recommend this section to social media 'newbies' who feel lost and need someone to break it all down for them.

Thanks again for reading, tomorrow I'll dive into section three.

In the meantime, I've created a board on Pinterest for this section of the book which you can find here!



A serious post...in fact, a book review!

Friday, March 30, 2018

The time has come for me to pull up my socks, roll up my sleeves, comb my hair and be serious for once.  I'm currently working towards getting my Social Media Marketing certificate from George Brown College, and one of the classes I'm enrolled in (Social Media Marketing - crazy, I know) requires us to complete a book report.

In all honestly, the entire concept of Social Media and Social Media Marketing is fascinating to me - as someone on the cusp of Generation X and Generation Y, I learned how to navigate the internet in my early teens and was presented with the concept of social media in my early twenties.  I did not grow up with social media; therefore it was never a part of my life in an integrated way.  I had to integrate it into my life myself, out of interest and partially out of necessity.

The book I chose was The Essential Social Media Marketing Handbook by Gail Z. Martin.  Full disclosure  - I chose this book because the cover was rather satisfying-looking, but most importanly, Gail and Martin are my parents names.  I felt like it was my destiny to choose this book.  Or, did this book choose me?  We will never know.  We cannot ask the book, as it is not alive and therefore cannot speak to us.

Is Gail's middle name Zebra?  Not entirely sure.

This book is broken down into four sections, and I will review those four sections separately and make each one of them feel special in their own way.  

Section One: Setting the Course
Section Two: Building a Foundation
Section Three: Level Up Your Game
Section Four: Beyond the Basics

_______________________________

Setting the Course

Chapter one of this section focuses on how social media changed the world.  The opening line "without social media, today's world would be a very different place" goes without saying and is entirely obvious, but also entirely true.  As someone who can remember what life (and the internet itself) was like before social media, the changes I've seen in both online attitude and attitude in general is really quite enthralling.

I enjoyed this section not only for the simple fact that this author's writing is easy to read and straightforward, but she really breaks down all the valid points that arise with the basic concept of social media.  I've outlined below the sub-sections in this chapter.

Some points of interesting from this chapter/points that I've taken note of in particular:
  • Social media has permanently shifted customer expectations.  This is absolutely true and in a way, one of my favourite facets of social media.  The author outlines that it's no longer a question of "whether" you need to use social media in business; "if you expect to remain profitable, what you really need to know is "how" to keep up with the changes in social media strategy and use these dynamic, constantly evolving platforms to maximize your brand, influence and credibility".  
  • The author outlines the key ways that social media altered the world in which we do business, which included Immediacy - the difference between now and before, is that before you had to wait for the 6 o' clock news to see what was happening in the world.  Now?  You see it - NOW.  Live, as it's happening.  Brands are and should be aware of this - live video, live-tweeting, uploading photos to Facebook are all things that businesses can do that the author has mentioned being vital to staying current and in the now.   She also outlines the downside of this - anyone and everyone is suddenly a news reporter, which means there are no filters, censors or controls.  One line in particular that stands out is where she mentions that "social media has changed the concept of 'expert'"; subject matter experts can reach niche audiences easier than ever before, without the need for travel.
  • Crowdsourcing - "Wikipedia and other wiki-powered sites amass the collective knowledge of individuals on every topic imaginable".   The author outlines that we have the essence of popular knowledge at our fingertips, and this includes online reviews  - something that the average person reads frequently, takes seriously and should be taken seriously by businesses.  
  • Connectedness - the author states that "thanks to social media and the Internet, we can have one foot in the tangible, local world, and the other in the virtual, global village.  Our friendships are no longer constrained by proximity or the expensive of long-distance communications methods." Speaking personally and from a non-business standpoint - this is incredibly true.  For example, there's a band I like who hail from the UK - through them/social media (particularly Instagram and Twitter) I have made life-long friends with people who come from Australia, Greece, Sweden, and England.  From an advertising standpoint, social media literally broadens the scope of where you can advertise, who you can reach and how you can reach them.  It's an invaluable tool if used correctly.    On the flipside, this also means more competition from the rest of the world.  
  • Privacy and security - the author mentions that social media has changed how we think about privacy and security.  These platforms "make it easy to share our thoughts, reactions, itineraries, locations, and purchases on a nearly moment-to-moment basis."  This creates immediacy but this comes at the cost of privacy.   A funny point she mentioned is that a few decades ago (I think she should have only written like, one or two decades) we complained about junk mail in our emails.  Now we are getting bombarded with ads that will display products we were researching a day (or even minutes) earlier.  It can be unsettling for people.  
  • Valid points she raises are that "drawing the line between 'sharing' and 'oversharing' has personal and professional rimifications.  Posting a Facebook rant on a bad day or firing off a tweet in anger can lose you clients and tarnish your reputation."  What's incredible to me is how there are still businesses out there that don't understand this concept.  
  • Language and paradigms - this subsection of the chapter was a bit repetitive in my opinion; the author is outlining how we need to be careful about what we say online, and how we say it.  A troll is no longer something that lives under a bridge.  
  • Blurring virtual and reality - she outlines how as consumers, "we have progressively moved more and more of our lives online".  Shopping on Amazon, consulting with a business mentor via Skype, logging into a secure page to e-mail our doctor with a question are all things she points out as being tasks we've moved online.  She mentions that we will see VR spill over into social media - mentioning that it was a breakthrough when real estate agents could post 360-degree videos online.  Imagine the consumer using enhanced VR technology to do this - so that it feels like they are there.  She mentions that "we don't know exactly what the future holds for social media" which goes without saying, but is absolutely valid.  
"I predict that Twitter will buy Myspace in 2020! Wait what"

Chapter two of this section focuses on creating a social media plan and platform.  The author states that "in order to be successful on social media, you'll need both a plan and a platform.  Your plan is your strategy, laying out a roadmap that helps you determine what you want to say and to whom, what you hope to get out of building relationships, how you are going to measure success, and what actions you intend to take to achieve your goals."  

This is very similar to what we've learned in class and very relevant.   I enjoyed this chapter because the author outlines how to achieve this in a very clear form.  One important comment of note is when she mentions not to make the mistake of "thinking that social media is merely a broadcast platform, like your own personal newspaper or radio station." She mentions that it requires a two-way interaction.  You want to start a conversation and participate in ones that others have started.

I agree with those wholeheartedly, from a business standpoint it's imperative that you acknowledge your customers and from a consumer standpoint, I know that having access to a conversation with a business (an engaging one at that) makes a big difference in how I view a company and how much I respect their customer service.  

She outlined the following as ways to create your expert platform on social media:

Raise your visibility as an expert
-demonstrate knowledge when you post content on a platform.  Participate in conversations.  Share useful links by other experts to create a 'web of reciprocity with other influencers'.  It shows that you go out into the real world and aren't just tooting your own horn.  
-demonstrate "fame" by posting links to articles you've written or been mentioned in by well-known authors or news sources.

An important note she made is that 'fame' is a relative statement and in this case means acknowledgement by a news source, fellow expert, publisher, organization, etc.  

Draw the attention of media and influencers
-getting noticed by bloggers, news sites, etc. is a key part of building your expert platform and creating circumstances "that increase the likelihood of that discovery should be part of your social media plan".  This provides social validation to your expert platform.  "Obscurity is your greatest enemy" rings so true to me.  As someone who started an Instagram page for my small embroidery business, having 120 followers was painful and not resulting in any interaction or engagement, not helping my sales, etc.  

Get sign-ups
-Martin mentions how your plan should address how you are going to increase your e-mail list and encourage people to like and follow your social media pages.  It's "important to have permission from your audience to be in touch".  

Demonstrate your influence
-the author notes that "the size of your social media following is another indicator of fame.  Rightly or wrongly, people will judge your legitimacy as an expert in part by how many people recognize your expertise by following you in some way.  Human nature assumes that the more popular you are, the more you deserve popularity".  To me, this is one of the more 'annoying' results of social media - everyone can make themselves 'popular' by garnering followers, and you see many influencers doing what looks like the bare minimum while constantly receiving accolades (and free stuff).  The only way I can personally describe this, is weird.  It's weird! 


Chapter three of this section focuses on building credibility and gathering your tribe.   Martin states that "before people buy from you, they need to like, know and trust you".   She says your social media plan needs to include "strategies and actions designed to gather your tribe and build your credibility."
Someone's tribe!

This chapter is broken down into the following subsections - if I didn't mention this before, I like the way the author lays out her chapters.  They aren't just walls of text and actually engage the reader in a way that will keep them interested and keep them informed.  

  • Secrets of tribal social media - Martin mentions how being personable online is a bit of an art, and it requires mindfulness because "it's very easy to come off as distant, programmed, and impersonal".  Today's customers are media savy and wary of experts who seem too perfectly packaged.   I like an analogy she used which is to think of your social media pages as campfires that draw people who are attracted to your topic, expertise and unique personality.  "You want to find the campires (sites) where your tribe is already gathering and gradually invite and incentive them to follow you home to your campfire".   This is a cute way of basically just describing you and your followers interacting with whatever it is that you do, or what you are selling.  
  • The power of stories - sharing stories is one of the best ways to engage with your tribe.  I feel like this section gets a little too into a philosophical area where it doesn't necessarily apply to everyone - not every person, expert or business will have a 'story' to share ie. something mind-boggling that happened to them, in order to create engagement.   I do agree with the portion where she mentions that asking customers to give a testimonial, as they have significant value.  Many people have difficulties (myself included) doing this as they feel invasive and bossy.  
  • Creating and sharing "results envy" - Martin says the goal is to create this, and this occurs when the customer reading the story identifies with the problem.  She mentions to get the reader's emotions involved.  
  • Credibility and charismatic integrity - she says these are essential for maximizing your brand and influence on social media and for attracting and growing your tribe.   Credibility is more than believability, especially now that fact-checking is easier than ever before, thanks to the internet.    The most important bite from this section to me is "be present and real".  Authenticity is so important, and it's always apparent when someone is not being real or authentic.  
Overall I quite enjoyed this section of the book - it laid out a good roadmap and foundation for the beginning stages of your social media strategy, and what you need to know to get started.  I find the author gets a little bit long-winded at times and goes off on tangents, but I appreciate her insight and understand where she's coming from with everything she's saying.  Again, I enjoy this book for its ease of use and for how it's laid out.

I've created a supplementary Pinterest board for this book review with some fun pins, here.  Check out the section setting the course.

I will be doing another blog post tomorrow for the second section of this book - try not to get too excited!  Hopefully you'll be able to sleep tonight.

Thanks for reading!
-Lisa




Moment of Sheer Stupidity

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Do you ever find yourself having a moment where your brain - such a complex unit shoved inside your head - just doesn't bother working for you in a timely and logical fashion?

I brought my lunch to work in one of those fold-able Longchamp bags; they fold up super small 'n cute 'n small enough to eat (I ate four of them already).  When I got to work I removed the contents and put them in my desk drawer, then folded up the bag and set it aside.

Several minutes later I wanted my Babybel cheese and I looked towards the lunch bag and saw that it was folded up really small 'n cute, and that's when all hell broke loose in my brain - the first thought that went through it was, "how did I manage to fold this bag up so small with my lunch inside?"  and then "did I already eat all my lunch?"  <---fool!

...as opposed to "oh right, I folded up this bag because not FIVE minutes ago I placed the contents in my desk and that's where they remain because they are not sentient beings and they didn't take off to go use the printer to print a 46 page recipe or leave pee on the toilet seat in the washroom down the hall or chew really loudly in the lunch room."

Anyway, after this happened I was really disappointed in myself and frankly, my brain.
I couldn't enjoy my Babybel because I was puzzled as to how stupid I had been just moments before (also, the Babybel was kind of warm and when Babybels are warm they are super creepy).

If anyone has any tips on how to get over such a traumatizing experience, please leave a comment below.  Usually I get so many comments that I have to turn them off simply to allow myself to get through them all, so please keep that in mind.

Newsflash: I Made a Spotify Playlist of My All-Time Favourite Songs

Friday, July 14, 2017

I know many people were waiting for this moment, and I'm pleased to announce it has finally arrived.

Lisa, aka me, has made a Spotify Playlist of my all-time favourite songs.  I know, try not to get too worked up.  Take a few breaths and relax.

Listening to this playlist will probably refill your bank account, thaw the chicken in your freezer faster than overnight and possibly approve your vacation request for next August.  The power of this playlist is undeniable and strong.  What you choose to do with this playlist is up to you, but remember that its power can be unleashed at any moment and it is important that you listen responsibly and keep your emotions contained.

Here it is:
Lisa's Favourite Songs of All-Time


Disclaimer: this list does not feature any 'pop' songs for the most part, because that would require another list, plus I really wanted to seem cool with the selections in the list above.  I'm really shallow and all about image and never showing my true colours, hence why I've chosen to omit my favourite 'nsync song "I'll Never Stop".   I mean I could have thrown some Sonique in there and maybe some classic 90s dance but WHO THE HELL CARES WHAT LISA LISTENS TO.

Whoa.  Bye!

I love these comics...

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Please check out this hilarious person's comics on Tumblr:

floccinaucinihilipilification

They are adorable/hilarious/everything I wish I could be but in comic form.

I Now Have an Etsy Store

Monday, August 29, 2016

A few months back I randomly decided I'd start being one of those embroidery people that embroidery stuff and then leave it on a hoop and then call it a day.

I think those people are called "crafters" or something, idk.  I simply don't know.  I don't know why I started, or when it will end, but for right now - it gives me something to do while watching Bachelor in Paradise.



The four Y's: Yes, Yolo, Yellow and Yo

Surely No Jokes, Kid!

Anyway, you get the picture.

This post is so pointless other than to tell my audience of zero people, that I make these things and I put them in an Etsy store that nobody will ever see/buy from:

The Elk Trail on Etsy

Crashdown Waitress Costumes for Halloween

Thursday, June 16, 2016

I meant to write about this back in October.  Assuming anyone was interested at all then, now it's January and I'm treading on the thin ice on the Frozen Lake of Caring!
*edit* now it's June and clearly I'm a flop blogger.  Who has time to blog all the time?  Oh, almost everyone you say?  Well good for them!  I mean I totally do too, but I just constantly forget to come on here and write and since nobody reads my blog it's not like the demand is high.
*the one person who reads my blog now weeps*

I have a friend (just one friend, only one) - let's call her Ohbray.  Since we both can't let go of the 90s, that means we still love the show Roswell (RIP, gone too soon, Netflix revival please, etc).  For previous Halloweens we had wanted to wear costumes inspired by the show...specifically, the waitress costumes Liz & Maria wore while working at the Crashdown Cafe.  We both fancy ourselves as something of 'waitresses' and thought these costumes were fitting.  I mean Ohbray likes to serve squirrels tiny peanuts and then dance and sing with them, and I like to serve sweet dance moves in the clubs.

Who are Liz & Maria you ask?  None of your business!
By business I mean hey, hey, IMDB ok
Hey hey hey

IMDB: A Haiku by IMDme
What is this website?
So many celebrities
But alas, not me

(I'm not a celebrity)

The purpose of this post is that by publishing it, hopefully it will show up on a Google search three years from now and if another duo of girls is also trying to figure out how to make their own Crashdown costumes - then maybe, just maybe, they'll find this useful.

Here's the secret - don't make your own! lol!  Pay someone else to do it!!

I did contact a girl who previously had these made (via crashdown.com) and she was very helpful.  What we wound up doing, was the following:

  • purchased the McCalls pattern #m5847 (the shirtdress).  I had to buy this off someone on Etsy of all places, since it's no longer in production.  I guess nobody cares for shirtdresses anymore.  I think that's rude and unfair.  Shirtdresses are the combination of two things that are awesome.  Dresses are awesome because they are not pants.  Shirts are awesome because they can have pineapple prints on them.
In progress. 
  • purchased the blue fabric (Kona cotton in Aqua) from an online Canadian fabric store.  If you don't know how much to get, just do what I did and google 'how many yards for a dress' or something like that.  I'm so helpful!
  • Ohbray located the silvery grey fabric from another fabric store (ours wasn't that stiff, but stiff enough - plus we got this fuzzy stuff from another fabric store to put inside, and that made it quite stiff.  No idea what this fuzzy stuff was called, but your local fabric person should know).
Finished product.  SO COOL I MEAN WHAT
  • The black fabric for the alien eyes was just a random cotton fabric, I think.  I don't think it's that important.  The woman who made our costumes drew the alien heads herself; we didn't use a template.  Templates are the restrictions of life - don't let templates hold you back from your dreams.
  • Purchased some small, clear buttons from another fabric store.  
  • Purchased some alien-antennae headbands from Party City, and just covered them in sticky, glittery scrapbook paper (the thicker kind with the peel-off back).  
Check out my bobbly wobblys 
  • We made the crowns out of the same paper, and had some trouble with these.  It's hard to get them the right shape AND make them big enough to fit on your head.  I suggest looking at what it says in the Crashdown link above, as ours were a bit of a flop (they did the job though).
  • Hired someone to make the costumes for us.  She was amazing and did a fantastic job.  A+ would recommend again.

There you have it, the least helpful and worst instructions possible!  

Note the ruffly socks - I feel like they were something Maria would wear.  Helped me get into character, ok.

Maria 'n Liz

Closeup of my armpit area, for fun

We had some social media success, as Shiri Appleby and Brendan Fehr both tweeted us.  We also got a Twitter like from Majandra Delfino.  It was a great Twitter day for us, one we will not soon forget.  We've already gotten commemorative tattoos on our foreheads - mine says "Won Twitter 31/10/15" and Ohbray's says "Lisa Forgot to Tag Me In Her Tweet to Shiri".   I'M SORRY OHBRAY.

One person's Twitter success is another person's egg salad sandwich.

What



An Ode to Years & Years

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I haven't updated this blog in months, because I have a very busy and enriched life - full of things that take up quite a bit of time and make me seem very important and worldly.  Trust me, I'm constantly doing stuff that is really awe-inspiring and not at all a waste of time like some OTHER people.  OTHER people might go home and spend 45 minutes staring at their phone, then eat chips for dinner, then spend another 1.5 hours on the same phone scrolling through Instagram, then turn on their laptop and spend another hour on various social media websites, then eat ice cream for dessert, then watch TV until 2am.  But NOT me.  I don't do ANYthing like that, EVER. Cough.

Anyway, a few months back I was shuffling around on YouTube like people do when they're eating chocolate chips for dinner, and I glanced over to that side thinger that suggests Demi Lovato videos to me sometimes, and I scream because I do not like Demi Lovato videos.  I think that happens because once I watched a few Miley Cyrus videos, and now YouTube thinks it knows what I like in my life.

On this one particular day, the big YT suggested this song called 'Take Shelter' by some band called Years & Years.  It was one of the 10+ tabs I had opened up with other videos, to see which ones would pass my rigorous and harsh viewing test.  If you pass this test, it means you are part of the Lisa Likes You Club. This is a not very-exclusive-club and you get a membership card and beanie if you join.

You don't actually get either of those.

What happened next, was that I downloaded the song and proceeded to listen to it on repeat for the next two days.  Then I was like "hmm oh well I see they have other songs, maybe I should check those out too." <---most exciting story you'll hear this week tbh

On September 14 they had  their first show ever in Canada, in Toronto at the Danforth Music Hall.  I really wanted to meet them, and WOW it smells like sausages in my office.  I don't even know what to make of this...on one hand it's kind of awesome, but on the other hand it's 4:15pm and who could possibly be cooking sausages in the kitchen of a bank building?  WHO

On the day of the concert I dragged my poor friend with me - let's call her Shmanielle, and we waited outside the venue for a couple hours (don't judge me, you....Judge Judy person), huddling in a small ray of sunshine as it was rather chilly outside I say - until the first band member showed up, Mikey.

He was super nice and chatted with us for a bit.  Shortly after that, Emre and Dylan showed up in another cab.  They were also so nice that I wanted to perish...I took selfies with them too.  WOW!  Dylan chatted with us as well, and I said "oh hey Dylan I was just on your Instagram ten minutes ago" because apparently I'm really good at saying things that aren't creepy and make for good conversation.....
I also shook Emre's hand rather formally, because when you meet musical artists that you're currently a fan of, you should act like you're at a business meeting and you could even follow-up the handshake with something like "I'll get back you on that, Bruce.  The numbers seem to add up and I should be able to get that report to you by Friday.  Let's do lunch next week."

Check these out - these guys just walked up to me and asked me for a photo?  I was like sure 'that's totally cool, let me look as blobby and tired as possible if u want'

Olly showed up and asked me to take a photo with him as well:

The Denim Siblings on their First Canadian Tour.  


The concert itself was DELIGHTFUL, I SAY!  They sounded amazing and Olly interacted with the audience quite a bit.  You may view the setlist here.

During the show's closing number 'King', I thought it would be a great idea to scribble a quick note on this Babybel label I had in my purse (don't ask) and fling it at Olly.  I wrote something completely stupid on it, like "From Lisa" with a sharpie and signed with my Twitter handle, and then when Olly came over I hollered at him loudly and he took it from me.  I was filled with glee until the next day when I gave it a second-thought and was rather embarrassed tbh.  I mean, I basically handed him a piece of garbage with the worst note ever written on it in sweaty-Sharpie.  If they come back to Toronto I'm really going to have to step up my game in the gift department.

The moral of this boring story is download Communion on iTunes








Hey Alexander McQueen (the company, not the man), write me back!!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

I've been a fan of Alexander McQueen since his fall 2006 RTW runway show.  As someone who's always been drawn to creepy old things and castles and SCOTLAND, I thought it was amazing.   Plus, the runway floor was a really cool worn-down wood and I was like OMG SO KEWL, SO KEWL IS THIS WOOD OH WOW!

This is the same show where a ghostly hologram of Kate Moss appeared and everyone peed their pants and screamed, clutched their pearls, tweeted (JUST KIDDING no Twitter yet) about it, farted some, etc.

I was also a fan of Alexander McQueen during that same time, because celebs were wearing his infamous skull scarf and they were so. cool.   Anything with skulls was cool.  I still think skulls are cool.  They're cool, cause everyone has one!  Skulls for all!  You don't have to worry about feeling left out when it comes to having a skull.  Skulls are for everyone.

A couple years ago I finally received a skull scarf of my very own, and I was very blessed and humbled by the experience of receiving a very expensive, thin item.

A photo posted by Lisa ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️ (@minielk) on

The first day I wore it,  I spilled coffee on it.  Since that day I've received a few more McQueen items, including a ring, embroidered bee shoes (see previous post here), and another scarf for Xmas a couple of days ago (see here).  I also bought someone an Alexander McQueen cardholder for Xmas this year, which will be returned on Monday when the post offices are open and willing to accept frantic-faced gift-giving failures like me into their fold.  "COME TO US!" they will scream, as we rush forth with our parcels held out from our bodies as if we held a plate filled with poo.  "TAKE THESE BACK!"  we will holler, "THEY ARE UNWANTED ITEMS OF SHAME AND THINGS OF THAT NATURE" and the post office clerks, they will stand there - rubbing their hands together in glee.  For they know that they will make not one, but two sales that day.  The sale of either a box or an envelope, whichever one fits your parcel.  It's up to you, as long as long as the package can be fastened shut so your parcel doesn't fling itself off an airplane.  The second purchase will be the exorbitant fee you pay to send the parcel back to wherever it came from!  BYE!

Here is a fantastic 3-part haiku I wrote to illustrate what's wrong with the ring, shoes and cardholder.  I spent alot of time on these* and would really appreciate your respect.

Oh this ring of mine!
One quick knock, and you're battered
Like a decent fish

These bee covered shoes
Such beauty - such blister.  Ow!
Did my feet have skin?

Cardholders hold cards.
If a holder holds nothing
Did it ever hold?

*I mean I guess about 45 seconds.

HEY ALEXANDER MCQUEEN (THE COMPANY, NOT THE MAN) SOMETIMES YOUR PRODUCTS SUCK.

This should not come as a surprise, as dollar value does not always equal quality.  Not that I paid full price for any of these items, or paid for some of them at all.  But that's not the point.  The point is that products should do what they are told!  If I'm telling a card-holder to hold cards, it should hold cards instead of releasing them into the wild, thirty seconds later. Shoes should not be made of an odd plastic material on the insides, so that the top layer of skin basically falls off your feet and you have to continue walking along King street in the 25 degree weather pretending you're sooo cool and soooo not in horrible pain and that your feet have sooooo much skin on them.  The ring, I don't know.  Maybe I shouldn't swing my arm around so much and bash it into things.   It has many dents.  Many, many dents.

So I wrote to Alexander McQueen (the company, not the man) and whined about these products. Mostly because I was afraid the company I bought the card holder from would not honour my return.  Because that's what they said on the phone.  They then told me to contact Alexander McQueen directly to try returning the product,, and I said "but he's dead!" And they said "lol - the company silly, not the man!"
But when I emailed that same company instead of calling again, they said ok.  I MEAN ALRIGHT, THEN.

I didn't expect Alexander McQueen (the company, not the man) to care, because they have many, many horribly rich clients and I'm just a person from this place here.  But my point, which as usual is unclear and completely meaningless, is to not spend money on products unless you know they don't suck!

I hope that one day the Alexander McQueen company replies to me and offers me a 75% discount on all their products, from now until the year 2060.   In the email I sent them, I made two typos that were pretty bad, but I also mentioned how I visited Alexander McQueen (the man, not the company) on the Isle of Skye.   The grave, not the man.  I hoped they would read that part and as a single tear fell onto their cheek (one cheek spread across the office) they would know that I truly care.

Here is photographic evidence that I was at his grave, btw:

He's not really buried here.  His ashes were scattered on this beautiful island, and I mean that it's actually beautiful and I'm not complaining about the island being ugly in a failed sarcastic way. 


Anyway, knowing this, they will know I'm a true fan and that I should be treated with more respect and importance than Angelina Jolie.  Knowing this, I will continue shopping at Winners and not at Holt Renfrew where a security guard once tried to do a sneaky-glance into my shopping bag.  I will continue accepting gifts purchased at Holt Renfrew, though.

My Tips For Getting Rid of Stuff

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stuff is great, and we all like stuff - but how much stuff do you really need?  Not that I'm not one of those people that sells all their belongings and their home and then skips off to Timbuktu for twelve years to live a simpler life in the bush (but I mean that's cool, though if you like bushes and air),  I just feel like we all have too much stuff and that stuff could go away to stuff heaven*

*If my parents read this they'll laugh at me, because they've been swimming in my stuff for years.  They are friends with my stuff, and should probably write songs together.

I've been improving my stuff-removing capabilities in the last few years and have improved by 312%.  I used to keep everything - not like the Hoarders-TV-show-everything-type-stuff, but I kept every receipt of every item I bought since 1996 (I can even remember the exact nail polish that produced the receipt that started that collection) and I kept every single school note from every class, thinking that one day I'd need to remember how to solve some random calculus problem.  I kept every single nail clipping from every nail clipping session, too.

JUST KIDDING LOL THAT'S HOARDERS-TV-SHOW-EVERYTHING-TYPE-STUFF

The receipts and school notes were disposed of in previous years, btw.

There are a number of steps you can follow in order to achieve a successful dumping of stuff.  I will share with you the ones I have found that bring me the most success, and have brought me the most joy and harmony in my life.  Once you achieve this higher state of joy and harmony you can walk around with a serene look on your face and creep people out.  Or maybe you can do that at nighttime and turn your serene look into a creepy smile and just wander up to people without saying or wearing anything except that creepy smile, and then wind up in a creepypasta on Reddit, my #1 dream tbh!!

Wait, if you're naked you're probably not scaring them so much as just making them very uncomfortable, so I'm not sure if that would land in NoSleep or LetsNotMeet but I'm just going to move on now.

***********

Below are the steps I take while standing amongst a pile of belongings and wondering 'oh god why do I have all these belongings and just WHAT can be done about it?!' (Definite First World Problems).

Hold a specific item or piece of clothing in your hand and go through the below points.  Once completed, you should be able to decide if the thing should be flung into the trash, the Goodwill bag or back to wherever it came from (under your bed).

Steps:

#1 - Do you remember it exists when you're not actually staring at it
If the answer is yes, you probably like it and should probably keep it, but use your discretion.  If the answer is no, continue reading and sort yourself out!

#2 - Do you like it
If the answer is no, you shouldn't own it and if you still do own it, it should go away from you.  If the answer is yes, proceed anyway but sort yourself out!

#3 - When was the last time you wore it (if clothing, probably)
If a year ago or more, it must go.  No excuses.  If within the last year, go back to item #2 and if the answer is no, it must go.  And sort yourself out!

#4 - Would you ever wear it again
If you wore the item within the last year, how many times did you wear it and how did you feel while wearing it?  If you didn't feel 100% confident in it, it must go.  Are you excited for the next time you wear it?  If not, it must go.
I have a potentially helpful but guaranteed weird solution that might help you if you don't wear or use the item, but there is a great nostalgia attached to it.  If you know it must go but feel sad at the prospect, take a picture of it. This has helped me be rid of many items that I had an emotional attachment to, but were wasting space in my room.  Eventually when you look at the picture without feeling any FEELINGS, delete the picture and BYE BYE THERE IT GOES AND YOUR FEELINGS ARE GONE AND YOUR SOUL AND YOUR whatever.

#5 - Do you need it
Do you have 10 black tank tops or a YM Magazine from 1995 with Gwen Stefani on the cover like me? You don't need those.  They must go, and you should sort yourself out!

Currently in the closet of my old bedroom, wondering why I left it alone in the dark and scary recesses of nowhere-land.  I picked it up the other day and said "what have you done for me lately?" and the ym magazine said "nothing lol" and I said "well back to the closet you go, to rest under my Rolling Stone issue with 'nsync on the cover."
"Oh ok", it replied.

#6 - Was it a gift?  If so, please rate the current situation with the person who gifted it to you.
An ex?  Do you think they are the worst person in the world?  Then the item should go away from you.  Be gone, any and all items that remind you of a hideous person!  Be gone with you!
A loved one such as your mother?  Walk into the room and say "hey ma.  Ma.  Hey ma!!!! Hey ma you gave this to me twelve years ago but I haven't used it yet, will you be sad if I get rid of it?"  If she says yes, you should have a conversation because that's odd.  If she says no, then it must go.
If you don't care who gifted it to you because you really like it, then keep it, duh.  Keep the attitude to yourself, holy.

#7 - Would you feel good about giving it away or giving it to charity
If yes, then that means you're normal and not a hideous individual.

Once this is all complete, give it a couple of days and go through these steps again, with the remaining items.  I guarantee you will get rid of even more stuff this way.  This is not a money-back guarantee.

Those are all the steps I go through and I have successfully gotten rid of bags and bags of clothing and items that I no longer need but someone else can use.  I encourage you to try these steps next time you attempt a Spring cleaning (probably next Spring I would think) and if you fail, then you should be donated to Goodwill and your stuff should be allowed to run free inside your home and set your PVR to only tape the Maury Povich show.


Nostalgia Gem + New Gem = Gem Party

Monday, October 20, 2014

I don't know why there's a part of this song...


That reminded me of this nostalgia pop-rock-soul gem:



BUT THEY ARE BOTH AMAZING

I was obsessed with this Res song like 12 years ago.  She deserved more success, FYI.

Bye now!

Mmmmmsloobbberrr

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DO YOU LOVE OREOS

DO YOU LOVE BROWNIES

DO YOU LOVE BROREOS

'what are broreos?!' you may ask...well I totally thought I just made that up and was feeling all cool and clever, but then I googled 'broreo' and discovered that I absolutely did not create that term.  oop @ me

That aside, I saw this recipe the other day and decided that they looked like the greatest brownies I'd ever seen and that I needed to make them immediately and love them immediately and write poetry about them immediately and

Here's what you need/need to do to make these exist in your mouth:

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (I melted it in the microwave because WHAT)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (I didn't even notice this the first time around and used some cold eggs)
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 all-purpose flour (mom I almost finished that bag of flour and I may have put the nearly empty bag back in the cupboard)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 16 oreos <---my favourite part

For the topping:
  • a few more oreos, crumbled up
  • 1 cup of whipped cream (Now, I made whipped cream myself instead of using the spray can, and I didn't make enough the first time around.  I was advised by the internet that whipping cream doubles in quantity when it's turning into whipped cream, so I whipped half a cup and that wasn't enough.  Just whip the whole carton, dammit!!  If it's a small carton, I mean.  I tried to get all creative with the second batch, but mixing in the oreo bits before whipping the cream - don't do that? At first it looked cool, then it turned into some weird mixture that looked like mud with a layer of sand on top, then it looked like something that was inside a garbage can.)

(Because it was.)

Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In one bowl, mix together the butter and sugars until 2-become-1 
    Actually it's more like 3-become-1, but whatever
  • Add eggs one at a time into the same bowl, mixing completely between each addition.  Mix in the oil and vanilla.
  • In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. 
  • Pour the flour mixture into the wet mixture in 4 parts, mixing well between each addition and ensuring that you spray the entire table with cocoa powder and stir too hard, thus causing blobs of this mixture to fly onto the nearby Keurig machine.
  • Pour half of your mixture into a greased 8" x 11" baking dish.  *Sidenote, I didn't have that - so I bought one that was like 9" x 9" or something...which turned out fine.  When you look at the original recipe linked below, she actually says to use an 8" x 8" pan which I already had in the house and therefore should have used instead of going to Walmart and buying another one!!  What does one do with all these pans??!
  • Place cookies on top of batter in 4 rows of 4 cookies:
oreo brownies, oreo cookies, brownies
  • There are about 28 Oreos in one package, so you have some free reign to shove a few in your mouth while performing this task.
  • Pour the remaining batter mixture on top and distribute evenly
  • Bake for 20-25 (mine took about 25) minutes until you stick a toothpick in and it's pretty much clean.
  • Cool for awhile on a wire rack.
  • While this is baking, make the whipped cream.  In order to do that, you pour whipping cream in a bowl and whip it until it turns into whipped cream.  Super hard!!!!  Again, don't do what I mentioned earlier.  
  • Once the brownies are cool, spread the whipped cream on top and fling on some crushed Oreos, and cool in the fridge for 1 hour.
YOU REALLY WANT TO EAT THIS
  • Cut into squares and EAT LIKE YOU'VE NEVER EATEN BEFORE!!!!
  • I would have had a photo of the finished product, but all the brownies were consumed before I had a chance to photograph one.  I will update this post later when I make batch #2, but for now here is a borrowed picture c/o Lark & Linen:



Recipe from http://www.jacquelynclark.com/ (via http://www.grandbaby-cakes.com/)

Some Stuff About Halloween

Friday, October 3, 2014


It's October now!!!!  Everyone loves October!!

Pinterest loves October:

Perfectly placed leaves, on-trend arts 'n crafts and walkways that have apparently never felt the pressure of a human foot. 


Halloween loves October:

A pumpkin clearly showing its affection for October.  I think?  Maybe it loves itself?  This picture is actually confusing and potentially misleading


Pumpkin spice haters love October:

Next time you are hanging out in your backyard, carving a gruesome face into the delicate layers of the pumpkin you kidnapped from its family of pumpki, and the thought crosses your mind to diss pumpkin anything, take a look down at your hands riddled with the slimy blood goo and remember that YOU are part of the problem!

I like October because that's when Halloween is, and that also means scary movies are on TV constantly...which is what full TV schedules should always be like, tbh.  And I'm not just talking about Maid in Manhattan or the Wedding Planner, which are on regular rotation apparently.   BA DUMP DA!!
I'm talking about the Jason movies played on repeat because they are apparently the only horror movies ever made.

I feel like that turned sarcastic, but in a really tentative way.

I'm currently deciding what my Halloween costume should be, and I'm wavering between a sexy telephone cord or a sexy sock... or maybe a sexy empty beer bottle or a sexy shoehorn or a sexy jar of olives or

I would like to briefly take a trip down Hallowmemory lane, and visit previous years' costumes:

2008 - A unique idea that's never been done before

2009 - a Supermarket Sweep contestant (low maintenance and comfortable, I considered this a great success)

2010 - a girl who wakes up every morning and emerges from her bedroom as the chick from the Black Swan movie

2011 - a version of Katy Perry in her ET music video but the version that's permanently holding a glass of wine

2012 - what is supposed to be a ventriloquists dummy but I mean I could just be a weird looking girl with food dripping down the sides of her mouth

2013 - a serious Lady Gaga Applause creature

I also went as Phyllis Nefler with a cool sidekick


These were all mediocre costumes for the most part, but as long as you enjoy what you're wearing on Halloween, isn't that all that matters?

Actually no - because some things are not ok!   Like dressing up as a minority/painting your face to look like other races and appropriating other cultures!

There are so many things to dress up as, keep it cool and don't be an offensive loser!  Things like these, found in a random couple of Facebook photos while I was bored:

A person looking out a window.  Complete your look by fashioning a window frame out of tinfoil and the glass pane using saran wrap.  Walk around for the duration of your evening holding up your fake window, while consistently pressing your face against the saran wrap.  You can't drink or use your arms for anything else.

A confused/fake paparazzo at the opening of a new bar.   Wear anything you want, but ensure you have a DSLR camera and neck strap and a furrowed brow for the entire evening.  Extra fun points if you bring a random friend with blonde curly hair that nobody seems to know, but is in all the pictures from that evening.

Lauren Conrad. Just kidding - it's impossible to reach the expert level of Pinterest, and nobody else in the world has ever received such a successful ombre!!  Mostly I just posted this picture because her hair is like a shower of diamonds and joy.

The most important thing to remember this Halloween is to stay safe and steal children's candy.

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