Greasy Screen?

Screen Cleaners

Screen Cleaners

First Impressions

All smartphone owners would agree that smudges found on phones made by greasy fingers,  oily makeup and the general riggers of everyday use is annoying. Also, what could be more embarrassing than showing someone your phone and realizing it is covered in the free range bacon you just ate for breakfast? Or you are ready to make a big presentation to an important client and you realize your iPad is covered in sweaty finger grime. Not exactly the best first impression you were looking to make. Something convenient and discreet to wipe your screen with would be useful, right?

Tech Swag

The previous technology company I worked for specialized in communication IT. We worked with a wide range of clients and many different vendors. Technology was a unique industry to work in because it is fast paced and always changing to adapt with technological advances. Working with many vendors was fun as the tech companies were developing trending promotional items that were different and innovative. People actually wanted the items because they were so cool. One of the firms I worked with gave away iPhone converters/chargers with their brand on it.  Custom flash drives, charging accelerators, portable power packs and retractable power cords were a few of the more memorable promo items that I still carry with me.

Clean Me

The technology company I worked for designed custom screen cleaners that would cling on phones or iPads. When I first saw them I was not that excited, however I soon realized after going to many trade shows that they were unique and rare to find as promo swag. Plus the cleaners had a use! I would give them away after meeting with a client only to encounter a client a few weeks later visibly using their screen cleaner on their phone. I soon saw the cleaners all over my community with the logo prominently displayed. I thought the screen cleaners were an extremely effective and inexpensive way to promote the firm through an item that people wanted and visibly used. People knew of the company as a direct result of the customized screen cleaners.

Customize screen cleaner in use...however I realize I missed my ear:)

Customize screen cleaner in use…however I realize I missed my ear:)

#OnlyinMN

Do your summer plans include checking out the live music at Rock The Garden? How about taking a hot Memorial Day trip with your family to roast marshmallows on the glimmering shores of Lake Superior? Or is a nature hike in search of blueberries and wildflowers more your style? Life is made of moments. Whatever your plans are this summer, there are some experiences that can only happen in Minnesota.

Last Thursday at approximately 1:30pm, I was taking an overstuffed airplane to a girls weekend in Las Vegas, NV.  I paid  $17 for the overpriced Delta wifi to stream my favorite radio Minnesota radio station The Current (tip, streaming while flying over the midwest is not recommended for quality or entertainment purposes). DJ Jade was hosting The Current’s afternoon show and she presented an advertisement on behalf of Explore Minnesota.

I have heard the Explore Minnesota ad shared on The Current before by a DJ, but never paid close attention to this message. This time was different. I listened intently and the Explore Minnesota promo encouraged the listener to travel the state in search of the ultimate summer adventure that can only happen in Minnesota. The marketing campaign used the hashtag #OnlyinMN and asked people to post videos and tweet adventures that occur #OnlyinMN. I thought that was a fantastic use of a creative hashtag and slogan a way to generate response and engagement from the public by using their own Minnesota summer trip itineraries. Cute and local! Check out a adventures posted below!

#OnlyinMN

#OnlyinMN

The Explore Minnesota advertising message is unique because it is creative, fun, totally local, initiates MN pride and grabs social participation while engaging the user in nastalgic remembrance of favorite Minnesota adventures. Upon reflection of my favorite Minnesota summer memories, this campaign made me long for my lazy youthful  summers spent at my rundown family cabin, baking in sun, miles away from everything. #OnlyinMN

Explore Minnesota Adventure Ideas #OnlyinMN

Explore Minnesota Adventure Ideas
#OnlyinMN

#OnlyinM

Minnesota Summer Plans?

Do your summer plans include checking out the live music at Rock The Garden? How about taking a hot Memorial Day trip with your family to roast marshmallows on the glimmering shores of Lake Superior? Or is a nature hike in search of blueberries and wildflowers more your style? Life is made of moments. Whatever your plans are  this summer, there are some experiences that can only happen in Minnesota.

Last Thursday at approximately 1:30pm, I was taking an overstuffed airplane to a girls weekend to Las Vegas,  NV.  I paid  $17 for the overpriced Delta wifi  to stream my favorite radio Minnesota radio station The Current (tip, streaming while flying  over the midwest is not recommended for quality or entertainment purposes). DJ Jade was hosting The Currentís afternoon show and she presented an advertisement on behalf of Explore Minnesota.

I have heard the Explore Minnesota being advertised on The Current before by a DJ, but never paid close attention to this message. This time was different. I listened intently and Explore Minnesota was encouraging the listener to travel the state in search of the ultimate summer adventure that can only happen in Minnesota. The marketing campaign used the hashtag #OnlyinMN and asked people to post videos and tweet adventures that occur #OnlyinMN. I thought that was a fantastic use of a creative hashtag and slogan used in a way to create response and engagement from the public using their own Minnesota summer trip itineraries. Cute and local!

The message is memorable because it grabs my attention and captures my many Minnesota memories. The Explore Minnesota ad makes me long for the lazy Minnesota summers at my remote northern cabin, baking in sun, miles away from everything.

Remember that time I moved to China?

Guard friends I made in Xi'An.

Guard friends I made in Xi’An.

“I’m moving to China,” I mumbling as a twenty year old college drop-out to an astonished mother. At the time, I had an overdrawn bank account, no valuable skills that could market me useful (unless you count  my experience squirting annoyed customers with oppressive cologne at Abercrombie & Fitch). I was a girl without a plan. That period in my life was very dark and  had me searching for who I was. Luckily, my strong single-mother upbringing instilled in me determination to creating the impossible.

My initial obsessive online search for an escape was only hampered by my slow dial-up internet. AOL search engine tags flashed: “Work abroad with no skills”, “Get paid to work in another country”, “Free flights to anywhere”.  Eventually I stumbled across the one skill I had. I spoke english…poorly.  China was looking for a native english speaker and would pay for my flight  and provide a monthly stipend. In return, my job was to teach children english for thirty hours a week. The demand for teachers was such that no bachelors degree was required like most ESL programs.  At the time, there was not a lot of information available about life in China, however, I signed up immediately and convinced my best friend to move across the world with me. Following a $500 application fee and a sketchy interview, we were hired. Our destination was Xi’An China with a contract for six months, immediately leaving in September. Xi’An China? Where was that? Who cares?  I needed to get out of Duluth. Thinking back on my naive self, no way was I prepared for the culture shift that I would experience.

Despite my sudden desire for departure, my family adjusted to the outlandish idea that I was moving to China. In retrospect, they were most likely annoyed with my  current life situation as drop-out and soon realized also that I needed to gain some life experience.  While trying to get prepared for the trip, I was very serious about my new career in China. I remember buying suitcase after suitcase filling it with high heels and business suits.  Little did I realize I would be walking five plus miles a day and commuting forty-five minutes away on a small, dank bus in warn out tennis shoes the entire time. At last the day of departure arrived. I flew the long fourteen hour flight with layovers in Seattle and Japan before arriving in Beijing. It wasn’t until the transition from Japan to Beijing, that things began to change. People in front of me wore straw triangle hats and many of them had on dark blue uniforms synonymous with communist rule. All around me, people were talking in Mandarin.  I couldn’t understand a thing. I realized I didn’t even think to bring a book of Mandarin phrases to help me navigate the country! That’s when the nervousness of my journey crept in. My courageous self had forgotten the basics of survival in China. The reality of the situation was that I had not prepared for my journey ahead of me at all. I remember walking on the plane with a camouflage mini-skirt and flip flops while staring wide eyed at the strange customs and smells all around me. Luckily, my best friend Amanda had arrived earlier and we hugged in a comfortable relief. A slight gentleman held a white sign that had our names written in english and we followed him to our ride. After introducing himself an escort led us to a deteriorating  brown van. The van had a diseased hole in the bottom and Amanda and I had to pull our feet up onto the velvet seat so we would not fall through the hole. Meanwhile the driver honked and cursed in Mandarin while furiously dodging chickens and giant pigs that were blocking the feeble road. Welcome to China!

The Line

Quintessential

Quintessential

If I was forced to, could I pick out a website as my favorite? What would be my chosen one? I’m a creative and overly analytical person, so how would I go about evaluating such a complex and layered question? To pick just one feels like having to chose my favorite child and ignore the rest of them. Would I base my decision solely as an artist and pick the site that photographically seduces me daily? Would it be a website that gives me information to think critically and objectively judge the world judiciously on a daily basis such as NPR? Or would it rather be the site that showers me daily with deep dollar deals that force me to click and open? Point being, the calculation of my choice is not easy.

After days of contemplation, it dawned on me that I knew exactly what my favorite website was – www.theline.com. I can instantly click to The Line and I’m immediately connected to my much needed dose of art, minimalism, modernism and cultural refinement. It is a website centered around beautiful designed homegoods that are carefully curated and liken to pieces of fine art. The furniture, objects and art are inspired to stand the test of time and labeled classic. The Line is headquartered out of SoHo in New York City in a white tenement building. Their flagship store is called The Apartment and it is actually a 4th floor that they made into a working apartment…with everything inside of it for sale! This includes a working kitchen, bathroom, closet and bedroom. I could easily move into that space. Recently, I was fortunate to be able to tour The Apartment while I was visiting SoHo. It was a dream come true.  The Apartment is designed in a neutral palette with white hardwood floors and lots of fur textures,  creating a cozy and inviting space. I found the detail and simplicity of The Apartment intoxicating. The photos on their website do not contain the vast depth that seeing the place in person can bring. Good thing my  boyfriend was there to take pictures, otherwise I would have left without any evidence of  it’s splendor to take back to Minnesota with me.

The Apartment Bedroom

The Apartment Bedroom

I also enjoy that each photograph by The Line comes with a beautifully written review or story. After reading the descriptions, I can vividly image myself laying on a soft velvet navy blue sofa handcrafted in France and dreaming of lovers gone by. I am a visual person that values the combination of beautifully curated items, modernist art and written word that contains lifestyle tips for those who desire a quintessential design and ideology. Minimalism reminds me of my simple Scandinavian up-bring. Everything contained in my mother’s small apartment was plain yet refined. Now her antiques sit in my living room, waiting for life to wake them up again.

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 8.59.53 PM

 

I don’t always look at this site because I get overwhelmed by it’s artistry and rarely do I have the time to invest in it fully. I do however, peruse it at least once a month for some quick visual inspiration. The Line is a minimalist dream come true.

 

Image

Sex Sells

I have to admit, I am one of those girls who loves staring at striking women.  I can’t help the fact that I find unconventional beauty attractive.  Beauty seduces me in many forms. I look for the undiscovered and subtleties  like furious dark eyebrows, defined strong lines or the juxtaposition of the feminine and masculine trying to communicate in one harmonious being.  Some of my favorite beauties include  Frieda Kahlo, my Finnish mother, David Bowie, Gloria Steinem and Michelle Obama.

As I mature, I find that I care less for the way that beauty and women are represented in modern advertising. I feel cheapened and disapointed by images that make women into objects and enslave them to a stereotype. On a recent business trip to NYC, I purchased the latest issue of Vanity Fair.  As I was paging through the magazine, the Barneys advertisement caught my eye for all the wrong reasons. Supermodel icon Stephanie Seymour was entangled with a young man in comical costume and bent in a position of sexual disrespect. The male behind her was posed in domination while she was subordinately positioned at his sexual disposal. I believe the ad was trying to make Stephanie an object and make mockery of her as an aging woman in a profession that values youth. “Better Than Ever” was the tagline used by Barneys and implied a comparison between age and beauty.

I appreciate beauty but not presented in a way that is demeaning and dominates one group of people over another. One can find beauty in everything and everyone. It is not something that is classifiable or can be defined by corporate interest today. Women have been portrayed as submissive sex objects for centuries and that story is tired and worn out. Today women are running for president, ruling countries, head billion dollar companies and give birth to the next generation of ideas. Advertisers are smart, let’s think of something else that empowers women – who ultimately are the target here.

Vanity Fair - Sex Sells

Vanity Fair – Sex Sells

Image

Classic Beauty

FullSizeRenderGrowing up my Finnish single mother was a costume designer for a local playhouse. To occupy time, my younger sister and I would sit late into the night in her dark sewing room, paging through old Vogue magazines. We were mesmerized by the creativity of fashion houses such as Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana and Calvin Klein. Quizzing each other on the “it” item of the season from the different designers was one of our favorite childhood pastimes.  To this day we continue to ask each other the important question, “if you were to wear one designer for the rest of your life….who would it be? Somewhere I have hidden a ripped up Dayton’s box filled with magazine cut-outs of my future fashion self. Thank god I have evolved my fashion style otherwise I would end up wearing gigantic puff pink dresses, fishnet stockings over my hands and all sorts of hats with large Chanel logos.

 As I grew older, I realized that some may view haute fashion as impractical or attempting to gain status through material possessions. For me, it was a life long passion and making tangible the dreams of my youth. I eventually started to realize how important it is for me to have items I find to be timeless in a world that encourages disposable fashion. Therefore while some may view my Yves Saint Laurent wallet as unnecessary, for me it is something I anticipate using for the rest of my life. Each day I look at it, it brings me back to the dreams of my youth.

When I turned thirty, I decided it was time to start investing in myself. I was going to buy THE purse. You know, the purse that defines you for the rest of your life. Longs story short, I zoned in on my favorite designer Yves Saint Laurent and went in for the kill. To my surprise my boyfriend bought me the matching wallet to go with purse. I love way I feel when I pull out my wallet and am reminded of where I came from. Here was something that was so far beyond anything I could have imagined as a child and now I carry it with me every day.

The leather is buttery soft and the gold logo, though understated, glimmers. I love to inhale the distinctive smell of the smooth, black leather. The wallet is sizable and I am able to use it as a clutch in the evenings. It easily fits my important items such as lipstick, cellphone and maxed out credit cards. Amazingly each item has its place, which comes in handy for someone that is organizationally challenged such as me. Also, if I ever get the chance to dash off at a moments notice, I have a space reserved  just for my passport in my wallet.