Metric – Clone
Ads during the Olympics are such a treat; it’s like watching the best ads of the Superbowl, but on a worldwide scale that lasts a few weeks. I love both of these ads for different reasons – the innovation behind AT&T’s “The New Possible” campaign was super impressive. Incorporating real, record-breaking Olympic results seamlessly into the ads was such a smart way to showcase AT&T and celebrate big Olympic wins in the U.S. Check out how they did it on FastCompany. On the flip side, the P&G “The Best Job” ad is one of the most touching commercials of the year. I love how it includes different sports and different cultures, but portrays how universal a mother’s love and dedication is. Though no products were prominently shown in the commercial, it still beautifully represented P&G and its family of brands.
Samsung took a huge risk by choosing to capitalize on the hype and buzz surrounding the new iPhone 5. Rather than sitting back and letting the new Apple launch dominate headlines, Samsung proactively inserted itself into the conversation and made a bold, splashy statement. It’s not a secret that Apple users are uncharacteristically loyal, and Samsung not only made some question the supposed “greatness” of the new phone, but also made Apple fans look ridiculous for waiting in line for something competitors already make. I am a reasonably satisfied iPhone user, but I haven’t been blown away by any of the company’s recent launches. Samsung won’t ever convert the diehard Apple fans, but they are successfully targeting people like me who like their iPhones, but don’t think they’re light years greater than other alternatives.
Expedia also chose to make a bold statement, but in a different, much more meaningful way. Documenting the story of a dad’s emotional and deeply personal journey to find his understanding regarding his daughter’s same-sex marriage, the message was poignant, sweet and incredibly moving. I’m glad companies like Expedia and Oreo are openly endorsing same-sex marriage and I consider this commercial a huge win in the fight for same-sex marriage and equal rights. Not too long after that ad ran, Expedia created a “Find Your Strength” commercial sharing the heartbreaking story of a young cancer patient who found strength in her best friend who she met at St. Jude’s. This one’s a tearjerker, but an uplifting, inspirational one. In response, Expedia is matching donations to St. Jude’s on its website.
It’s 3:38 on Friday afternoon. On a typical Friday afternoon around this time, I’d be ecstatic. I’d be celebrating the conclusion of yet another work week and the fast-approaching, much-needed weekend. But today’s a different day. Today is one of the most devastating Friday afternoons I can remember and I hope our country never has to deal with a tragedy like this ever again.
The shooting in Connecticut might be the worst national news I’ve read in 2012. The poor victims and their families are in my thoughts, as well as the fortunate young survivors. As Obama so eloquently put it, “For as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain.”
This news certainly puts a damper on the holiday season that is centered around joyous, innocent children and spending time with your families and loved ones. I know I’m going to hug my nephews and niece extra tight when I see them next week. I’m so thankful that they’re in my life and I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to cause them any harm or sorrow.
I’m not trying to be political with this post. That’s not at all my intention. But I hope this tragedy causes our country to truly reevaluate its position gun control. I have been on the fence about the issue for a long time, supporting the right to protect and defend yourself, but in this year alone, Trayvon Martin, a theater in Colorado and now at least 20 little kids lost their lives at the expense of the irresponsible use of arms. I don’t have all the answers, and the government doesn’t either. There’s no easy solution to the problem, but I think we can all agree that this is a sad day in America. I think we can agree these children were taken too soon and unfairly, and there’s a pressing need for preventative measures to avoid anything like this happening ever again.
At some point last year, a friend asked me “How many concerts do you think you go to in a year?” and I honestly couldn’t give a fair estimation. It really got me thinking – “How much money do I spend on live music in a year?” “How many bands did I see?” “Did I see any bands multiple times?” “If so, how many?” To provide some insight, I literally kept a Google Doc spreadsheet listing every show I went to this year and updated it regularly throughout the course of the year. Upon auditing my year to date, even I was surprised with my results. I attended a grand total of 48 shows/events and saw a whopping 107 bands/artists. That doesn’t even include the bands I watched more than once. Numbers like that make me really grateful that I live in Austin (where all but one 3-day event) took place.
I decided to make an infographic visualizing my year in live music. A screen grab is pasted below, click-through to see the full visual!
Key findings include:
- Genre = Electronic and dance music comprised the majority of concerts I attended. Indie shows were a close second.
- March and October were my busiest live music months, which is to be expected since SXSW and ACL take place during those time periods
- Danny Brown and A-Trak are tied for artist I saw the most – each with 3 separate performances in 3 separate venues
At this very moment in the time and space continuum, I’m sitting at my cubicle on this dreary Tuesday afternoon, patiently waiting for the minutes to tick by before I can go home, and I just came to the realization that Christmas is exactly two weeks away. Two damn weeks!
I hope you’re all getting into the Christmas spirit – I certainly enjoy seeing festively decorated homes, receiving Christmas cards and buying gifts. Since it is the season of giving, I thought I’d generously share some of my favorite holiday ideas and finds.
DIY Magnetic Advent Calendar
I love this idea for a clean, simple magnetic advent calendar. These tiny pots can conveniently adorn your fridge and you won’t have to fuss with nailing anything to your walls. Fill with candy or any other little knick-knacks, also easy to store and reuse for next year.
DIY Snow Globes
Snow globes are typically cheap and tacky, but these clean, minimalist ones are much cuter. Plus the different sizes and shapes of the jars adds height and dimension. If you want to be really creative, build a Lego landscape or use miniature action figurines. Who says snow globes have to be holiday themed? (Unoriginal people)
This is one of my favorite inexpensive Christmas decor ideas. The results are sleek and sophisticated and even the laziest and most creatively-challenged people could successfully pull off this project. I’d recommend only using round, spherical ornaments, so they stack nicely but I recommend experimenting with the texture, color and the shape of your glassware.
Printable Gift Wrap
I love all of the iconic and poppy designs from Minieco.co.uk. Plus, these are printable designs so you will never run out (theoretically)! You can embellish with high contrast gift tags and ribbons or print on neon or colored paper. A lot of these designs could certainly be used for other gift-giving occasions as well.
Alternative wrapping paper
I love the idea of using alternative materials for wrapping your gifts; not only is this sustainable, it’s creative and unique. With smartphones and the Internet, I doubt anyone uses antiquated maps or atlases anymore. If you want to be extra thoughtful, use a map of a meaningful location such as the honeymoon destination for a wedding couple or the hometown of one of your friends. Other alternative papers include pages from books, music or old calendars.
Brown paper is also one of my favorite wrapping materials; whether you buy a roll or reuse one of your paper grocery bags (like the Trader Joe’s example above), brown paper looks simple and classic and you can use for any gift giving occasion. You also have a huge range of accessories to decorate with! You could stamp patterns, write or directly on the packages or dress up with ribbon or yarn.
I love receiving Christmas cards; it’s a friendly reminder that your relatives and peers are thinking about you during this busy time. I’m personally not a big fan of the Walgreen’s family photo glossy prints and opt for simplified and minimalist designs.
I love wrapping gifts; it’s one of my favorite holiday activities. For whatever reason, I find the whole process oddly soothing and therapeutic. Crowded shopping malls, parking lots and screaming children tend to overwhelm me during the holidays, so coming home, turning on a movie and pouring a glass of wine while meticulously packaging and decorating my purchases is my way of unwinding and exercising the right side of my brain. I realize my love of gift wrapping is terribly inconsequential considering my beautiful creations will ultimately be destroyed and disposed of, but I don’t seem to mind.
Today, i devised a DIY holiday project that’s easy, versatile and relatively cheap. Plus, your newfound creative prowess will impress your gift recipients. Look below for instructions on how to make some handy dandy gift tags:
STEP 1: GATHER SUPPLIES!
For this particular project, you will need:
- Alphabet stamps
- Holiday stamps
- Ink pads in pigments of your choice
- White or manila card stock
- A hole-punch
- Decorative ribbon
- Wine (optional)
Tip: You can buy most of this stuff at your local craft store. These holiday stamps often come in packs of 4 or 5, so you don’t need to buy individual images unless you want to; these stores also have sales on seasonal stuff all time. Also, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby always have coupons, and not shitty “spend $75 and save 10% coupons“, but awesome “take 50-60% off of any item in the store” coupons, so look up their weekly ads online and print them. Michael’s even accepts coupons you download on your smartphone. If you want to save a few bucks, you can always get the card stock and ribbon from Walmart, Target or an office supply store. If you want to be really stingy, steal the hole-punch from your office like I did…
STEP 2: STAMP!
Neatly stamp your card stock. You can be as minimalist or as enthusiastic as you please, but keep whatever wrapping paper you plan on using in mind because the gift tags should match and compliment the end product. Don’t worry if your letters aren’t perfectly aligned. I think the words look cuter and more whimsical when they’re a little crooked anyway.
Tip: Make sure you thoroughly clean the stamp rubber if you plan on changing ink colors to avoid ruining your ink pads. I use a wet paper towel and blot with a dry one. Then I stamp out any remaining ink on a scrap piece of paper to ensure it’s fresh and clean for the next use.
STEP 3: AFFIX TO YOUR PRESENTS!
Crop and finish your gift tags as you see fit. I like to accessorize with simple accent ribbons.
The best part about crafting is the versatility you get from using the same materials. You can make a variety of other holiday-themed paper products based on your own family’s respective traditions. Some ideas include:
- Christmas cards
- Wish lists or Letters to Santa
- Holiday menus
- Holiday party invitations
- Christmas dinner place cards
Here are some of my other creations: