Keep the Story Going

20 Jan

I had been mulling over a genius idea for months, maybe even a year and the only soul I had shared it with was my husband.  Even though all husbands are obviously supposed to immediately agree with the ideas of their life partners (me), mine seemed hesitant.  I felt confident it would succeed so in the last few weeks I started to do some research.  Within minutes the great mind of Google brought me to a website which held all the answers.  As it turns out, some other really smart human that probably doesn’t have a 9-5 job had already invented MY idea, without consulting me at all.

The product:  Whispersync.

The brand: The ever-loyal Amazon.

This amazing idea allows Kindle readers to purchase a book as they are accustomed, add the audio companion (naturally incurring an additional cost) and then you are all set.  The system allows you to switch between reading and listening, saving your spot in your novel so no time is spent trying to locate it yourself.  Since this idea was initially mine, I’ll tell you why this is the greatest invention next to the imminent self-driving cars:

  1. By far the biggest issue with being a well-read person functioning in our ever-active society is that you cannot find the time to sit on the couch and pour into a book.
  2. This allows time for errands, working out, cleaning, and also relishing in the 30 minutes of alone time which you have been gifted.
  3. Not only does this system work on your kindle alone, but you can switch devices!  Left your Kindle at home?  No problem!  Grab your phone and plug into your novel instantly!

Amazon already has over 55,000 books with the special Whispersync companion, and the list continues to grow.  For someone like me who loves a good audiobook for road trips, and then hunkers down with a book to escape the real world, nothing can beat this.

“It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

26 Dec

Ah once again I’ve let busy season get the best of me, and my blog.

Now that Texas temperatures have dropped to the 40s at least once in the month of December, I decided a candle posting would be appropriate.

Two companies have stolen my heart in the candle department due to their sheer creativity and unique product.  One:  Nature’s Wick made by Smith Mountain Industries.  Two: Unwined Candles.

What first drew me into Nature’s Wick candles, available at Target stores nationwide, was the lovely aromas they had available.  They smell natural.  My holiday wreath candle has come in handy since our live tree isn’t exactly working its pine scent wonders.  In addition, these candles have wooden wicks, which allows a crackling sound as it burns.  If you live in an apartment and close your eyes for just a second, it sounds as if a delightful fire (the good kind) is nearby.  Approximate burn time is 180 hours.

I came across Unwined candles in a boutique store in Fredericksburg, Texas and the name already captured my attention.  The name evoking one of my favorite activities, unwinding, and playing on the pun of relaxing with wine.  This company actually uses recycled wine bottles as their base for the candle!  It’s a great idea – there are videos online about how to cut a wine bottle, but they appear rather daunting to me.  Unwined also uses soy wax candles, a sustainable resource.  Also, a well-made soy candle will burn slowly, a great advantage for the purchaser.

Every boutique store out there will likely have a vast selection of candles, but these two seem worthy of mentioning.

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Remember, candles are a gift year-round!

Come Share the Wine

29 Sep

I don’t know about you but as the weather starts to drop to cooler temperatures, my eagerness to be outdoors increases dramatically.  I am suddenly overwhelmed by the urge to work outside, to eat all meals on patios, and to find chores that involve the outdoors.  All those picnics that hip magazines and blogs referenced in the summertime?  Now is the time.  I have finally reached the point where a picnic sounds mildly pleasant.  The cast of characters: my closest friends and my Stack Wines. Truth be told, I came across Stack Wines on my beloved Pinterest app, where I delight in pictures of painstakingly delicious food and crafts I could never replicate.

stack_cab

The concept is simple enough:  portable wine.  The difference is, this wine isn’t heavy, or an awkward shape, or too many servings.  “Each “bottle” of Stack Wine consists of four individually sealed, shatterproof glasses of California wine.”                 (http://drinkstack.com/)  All a consumer has to do is zip, snap, and sip.  Currently the company offers four different options of wine available for purchase online or at certain stores such as World Market.  Are you thirsty yet?

It’s a Kick in a Glass

24 Aug

57 years ago William A. Mitchell formulated a new orange-flavored powdered drink that we all know and love. Tang. Need I say more? The question is… what ever happened to Tang? How do you keep a beverage that was created 57 years ago relevant with an ever-changing consumer base? Back in 2007, sales in the United States had essentially ceased altogether and international sales had subsided for the powdered product made famous in outer space.

tang

Kraft quickly put together a team of sharp South American associates and gave them a mission: double Tang’s international business in 5 years. How were they to pull off such a feat? Not many companies have the resources to enable their associates like Kraft did, to help this mission succeed. Kraft handed the executives a blank check and told them to fill in the amount needed.

What makes this different than all the other promotional activities out there today? Kraft went against traditional thinking. Instead of creating a budget and a methodical way to achieve all the necessary objectives within that budget, the check allowed the executives to work outside confined boundaries and allowed them to focus on the brand and its longevity. They also tapped into the expertise of executives outside the company.

Of course there was still a phased plan which was implemented — Tang is now offered in the popular one-drink packets perfect for school children. In addition, the team angled the add-water-only feature as one of convenience and earth-friendly.

And it worked!!

Credit for blog inspiration:  Sanjay Khosla and Mohanbir Sawhney, “It Took a Major Management Gamble to Rescue Tang,” Bloomberg Business Week, http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-07-30/how-kraft-foods-rescued-tang-from-a-downward-spiral

 

Scrubba those Bubbles Away

22 Jun

Shortly after arriving in Paris, I realized much of what I packed would be useless.  It was much colder than anticipated.   After all, I’m a Texas girl, through and through.  I sadly stuffed my flowery skirts and comfortable dresses back into my luggage, and vowed to forget they were there. During the trip, I managed to swap my clothes enough so that I didn’t feel incredibly dirty, but with all the activity, I couldn’t help but feel a bit like a slob.  What occurred to me after I returned was that I could have utilized the scrubba.  This masterpiece enables a consumer to wash their clothes during travel with limited clothing, or an extended camping trip.

Image

The concept is simple.  Buy the scrubba bag — the key piece is the flexible washboard inside — fill with water, cleaning liquid and clothing and scrub away!  Rinse thoroughly and hang to dry.  Okay so I’m skipping a few steps, but the solution is the same — clean clothes quickly and efficiently.  The portable design makes it a no brainer for purchase.  At $65 each, the scrubba may seem expensive, but think about what you are saving.  In addition, if you take care of your scrubba, it can last years.

Just to top off their goodwill, the scrubba company donates cash to charities that provide clean water to those in need.

So, next time you are camping, or need to save room in your baggage for souvenirs, don’t hesitate to consider the scrubba!

Young is the Goal, isn’t it?

16 Jun

Backdrops of the beautiful city landscape surrounded us while we were on our honeymoon in France.  Advertisements were few and far between with the exception of movie promotions and Evian‘s Live Young ad campaign.

A mature adult face next to the younger version of that face (often with a humorous facial expression) appears side by side with just one slogan:  Live Young.  These simple, yet riveting ads not only easily captured the attention of tourists and natives alike, but also send a clear message.  Drink water and stay young.  Isn’t that everyone’s ultimate goal?  We eat well in order to keep our bodies healthy so we can stay youthful.  Evian is here to deliver the message to its consumers.

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Pop on over to their website and read factoids such as these:

Water is essential to life. In fact, your body is mostly water. And about every 7 weeks, that water is renewed, mostly by what you drink. Each day, an average adult naturally loses 2.5 to 3 liters of water under normal conditions. That water must be replaced. A person can live 40 days without food, but will not survive more than 2 or 3 days without water. That’s why it’s so important to hydrate properly. (http://www.evian.com/en_us/264-Water-is-life) 

In terms of selling a product, Evian doesn’t have to do much convincing.

Even so, their latest ads and videos illuminate their message and encourage the viewer to crack a smile.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfxB5ut-KTs

Fortune Cookie

16 Feb

Every time I blink, a month and a half has passed and I start to sound like all of my coworkers.  “Where did all the time go?”  “I can’t believe it’s almost March!”  Something about the Spring and the end of the fiscal year rapidly approaching — it feels like time is moving twice as fast.

Now, I’ve never been to Shanghai but I know if I were going, I’d want the authentic experience.  I’d research thoroughly beforehand and ask for recommendations in order to find the food that the locals eat, so I could truly engage in my experience abroad.  Engaging in the culture would certainly last for at least a few days, but I could see the food leading to disappointment.  Where’s the sesame chicken?  I want my sweet and sour sauce!  This is what Americans sadly equate to chinese food.  Are you shaking your head in disgust right now?  Apparently, I’m not alone in my Americanized chinese food desires.

Fortune Cookie, created by David Rossi and Fung Lam, opened its doors in Shanghai eight months ago, is become more well known.  The core target market is Americans living in Shanghai feeling nostalgic for the guilty pleasures of American chinese food although 40% of their customer base represents Chinese people.

The main ingredients?  Skippy peanut butter, Mott’s applesauce and Philadelphia cream cheese – all American favorites.  This restaurant has really struck a chord with customers and the two young co-owners hope for business to flourish.

If you happen to visit Shanghai, please let me know how it tastes!  My guess?  It’s a bit of home in every bite.

Idea credit: NPR

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