3 Cool Google+ Features

May 16, 2012 § 1 Comment

Since it was launched in June 2011, Google+’s project launch has not exactly attracted users as the company intended. Many were quick to join Google+, but the success slowly faded as users and media leaders alike were quick to criticize its functions and mark it as a shortcoming in comparison to its social media predecessors. Because many users were not taking the time to get acquainted with Google+, its appealing features were left unexplored and were simply compared it to its predecessors. Before you take part in the criticism, or dismiss the idea of getting involved, introduce yourself to some pretty cool features that Google+ has to offer.

Circles

If you’re sharing links/images/anything on Google+, breaking your connections up into Circles a great way to target certain users and prevent overshare with others. It is also much easier to break up your friends list into Circles than it is to select Facebook friends for groups/friend lists (thanks to Google’s quest to simplify interaction). Companies and brands could definitely take advantage of this feature by targeting customers of a certain demographic for specific posts.

image via GeekyGadgets.com

Hangouts

Hangouts is an awesome way to video chat with a group of people. From catching up with a couple of friends to giving a cooking lesson to an audience, Hangouts can definitely be very useful. Brands could take advantage of this feature in many ways. Celebrities could host short Q & A sessions with select circles to show their fans some love. New start-ups could introduce themselves to potential/new customers. Fashion companies could give loyal followers a preview of new collections. This is definitely a hot feature that I predict will gain popularity as people take the time to explore it.

Sparks

Sparks is an especially usable feature for people who are just beginning to use Google+. Its sort of a cross between Stumble Upon and a Google News search. You can search for a topic on the Google+ home screen and then select “Sparks” to see hot new articles. However, because it uses boolean logic and bases results off of your interests and demographics, it is more likely that the list of results will “spark” your interest. A few great things about Sparks is that: 1) you can easily share one of these links with your circles without copy/pasting any links, and 2) you can create a personalized feed of articles by adding results to your interests.

I’ll be the first person to admit that Google did not necessarily use the simplest of techniques to present these features to users. It took some digging for me to find them/learn how to use them. But I think if a company or brand wants to really get ahead of the competition and do something to captivate an audience, there’s definitely potential in investing time into Google+.

I’m looking forward to seeing how brands use Google+ to enhance their social media presence. Have you seen a specific brand use Google+ in wow-worthy way?

4 Ways to Enjoy Valentine’s Day When You’re Single

February 9, 2012 § 1 Comment

It’s coming up whether you like it or not. In most cases, I do not. However, maybe this year can be different.

Does Valentine’s Day for singles have to be about listening to your taken friends’ dinner plans, romantic gift ideas, cute stories about their significant others, and overall just not really enjoying the day because it’s like Cupid is slapping you in the face instead of shooting his bow and arrow at you?

I don’t think so. It’s one day. And when us single people have someone special to enjoy it with, we won’t be hating it anymore. So isn’t it kind of hypocritical to hate it until that day comes?

I’ve had a bunch of Valentines before. The best one– my dad. By far.

One of my beloved Valentines took me out for dinner to an Italian restaurant. When we were seated, SURPRISE SURPRISE, it’s a Valentine’s Day menu! With Valentine’s Day prices. My lovely date took one look at the menu, rolled his eyes, and said, “Wow… We are definitely not getting dessert.” He picked the restaurant. He made me feel like such a princess that night. (Not).

Anywho, instead of rolling my eyes and being angry at the world this Valentine’s Day, I think I’d like to try something different. Here are some of my ideas.

1. Spread the LOVE.

This is a holiday about love. Everyone has at least someone who loves you. Why not show your appreciation for them in some special way? Send your momma flowers. Send your best friend an appreciative card. It may sound kind of cheesy but I think giving gets your farther than you may believe.

It’s the little things…

2. Indulge (a little).

As a foodie (and lover of all things baked), I am never opposed to trying new restaurants or eating delicious food. I’m sure you’re receiving emails upon emails like I am, about making your reservations for Valentine’s Day dinner (don’t they know they should be sending these to the males?). You don’t have to book a reservation at one of those restaurants (that may backfire and make you realize you’d much rather be there with your future significant other). Why not have a little dinner party and invite your single friends? Great food, great friends… that sort of sounds more exciting to me than gazing into someone’s eyes for a few hours, over a piece of filet mignon) that I’m going to feel guilty about letting someone buy for me later in the night).

Remember the huge fight Carrie and Miranda got into on Valentine’s Day, surrounded by heart-shaped balloons (yuck)?

There are other ways to indulge though. Buy a bag of dove chocolates and spread the love at work. Bake something. I’ve found some really cute recipes online, here’s one of my favorites from “Cupcakes and Cashmere” for these adorable conversation heart sugar cookies.

And here’s another recipe for these cake pops below, from the blog “Bakingdom.” These are so cute and delicious-looking.

Definitely going to try one of these recipes this weekend. To share!

3. Love yourself.

Or CONTINUE loving yourself, rather. Go to the gym. Wear something cute. Look your best, on this day, and on every day! If you think you don’t have someone specific to look good for, you’re wrong, because it’s more important to be happy with yourself rather than trying to gain the approval of someone else. Watch a romantic comedy or read a good book. Do something on February 14th that will make you smile for YOU.

I’m a sucker for Channing & Rachel.

4. Don’t throw a pity party.

I think that as single people, it’s easy for us to express contempt for a holiday dedicated to celebrating love . But I truly believe having a positive attitude, not only on this day, but in general, can only lead to great things. So stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop eating that whole tray of cookies you just made. Don’t have a few too many glasses of wine. You aren’t the only one without a significant other on Valentine’s Day! Let this Valentine’s Day stand as a representation of your attitude for the future. Celebrate love, not loneliness. Then, when you are celebrating Valentine’s Day in 1, or 2, or 3, or however many years, with someone you really care about, it will be that much more enjoyable and special for you both.

Wear Neon Now Without Looking Like You’re On Your Way to See Avicii

January 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Not that there is anything wrong with Avicii but come on.

Neon colors were all over many runway looks of Spring ’12, including Rag & Bone, Nanette Lepore, and Chanel, to name a few of my favorites (see below).

Rag & Bone Spring ’12 RTW

Nanette Lepore, Spring ’12 RTW

Chanel, Spring ’12 RTW

And I love it. But it’s difficult to play off of these looks in the winter without looking highlighteresque. Doesn’t mean you have to wait til spring to incorporate some of this brilliance into your outfits. Here are some tips/great pieces to wear now!

1. Start with a Sweater

(Neon Sweater, T by Alexander Wang, $195, farfetch.com)

I love this color, and I think this sweater would look great either by itself or worn with a white button-down underneath (fitted, or not). This is a great piece to have in your closet because the color is subtle enough to pass as either a pastel or a neon. You can also find some great neon-colored sweaters at Topshop and J Crew.

2. Accessory Accent Piece

(Pyramid Stretch Bracelet, Asos, $14, asos.com)

This bracelet is both inexpensive and easy to wear with solid or neutral colors– from black to white to tan.

(PS1, Proenza Schouler, $1595, barneys.com)

In love with this color. It’s an investment but it sure is a beautiful one. Yes, it is a bright color for the winter but I think it could be played off well with black (I’m envisioning a pea coat and black scarf), or even a white top in the evening.

I’m seeing this MUCH less expensive version from Old Navy all over right now. And there’s also Cambridge Satchel, who recently started making a metallic version which is pretty cool.

3. If you’re daring/going somewhere warm…

(Neon Legging, Rag & Bone, $187, rag-bone.com)

It’d be pretty tough to get away with these now in the chilly temperatures of the east coast. But if you’re somewhere warm, go for it. You won’t catch me wearing these for a few months, but I love them too much to not include them in this post.

(Vintage Striped Washed-Silk Shirt, Equipment, $250, net-a-porter.com)

I think this is a great shirt to slowly transition your wardrobe into spring mode because it isn’t full-on NEON IN YOUR FACE. There’s also a similar pink and orange version of it sold at Intermix, which is probably better for spring.

So don’t be scared of neon. I would advise to keep the rest of your outfit simple though, until it gets warmer. In the spring, you can go ahead and turn yourself into a tye-dye Lisa Frank highlighter zebra and adorn yourself with glowsticks. Just kidding please don’t.

Accessorize Yourself, Winter Edition

November 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

Once again blogging about preparing for the cold in the midst of this global warming-induced abnormal warm weather. But hopefully with a few perfect winter accessories you will be well-prepared for when the cold hits us. Here are a few ideas on how to enhance your winter wardrobe:

1. For Your Heads

(Women’s Cable-Knit Pom Beanie, Urban Outfitters, $24, urbanoutfitters.com)

(Women’s Cable-Knit Cashmere Beanie, Missoni, ON SALE NOW $138, net-a-porter.com)

(Women’s Faux Fur Trapper Hat, Club Monaco, price unlisted)

(Women’s Scarborough Headband, Rag & Bone, $105, rag-bone.com) Mine is on its way to me. Can’t wait.

(Men’s Marled Watchmen’s Cap, J Crew, $32.50, jcrew.com)

(Men’s Knit Beanie, Moncler, $195, saks.com)

2. For Your Necks

(Women’s Popcorn Sweater Scarf, Old Navy, $15, oldnavy.com)

(Women’s Hearthstone Infinity Scarf, $68, jcrew.com)

(Women’s Fray Edge Scarf, Rag & Bone, $125, rag-bone.com)

(Women’s Cashmere Tartan Scarf, Alexander McQueen, $635, barneys.com)

(Men’s Fair Isle Scarf, Gap, $35, gap.com)

(Men’s Ribbed Wool-Blend Scarf, Polo Ralph Lauren, $60, mrporter.com

(Herringbone Scarf, SCP, $198, scoopnyc.com)

(Men’s Mega Check Cashmere Scarf, $475, burberry.com)

3. For Your Hands and Feets

(Women’s Bronson Mitten, Rag & Bone, $115, rag-bone.com)

(Women’s Carol Gloves, Club Monaco, $120, shopbop.com

(Welly Grizzly Sock (for inside your Hunter boots), Hunter, $40, nordstrom.com)

(Men’s Cashmere-Lined Leather Gloves, J Crew, $68, jcrew.com)

(Men’s “Touchscreen Glove” (the fingers have material on them that allows you to use your touchscreen phones…pretty cool.), Urban Outfitters, $14, urbanoutfitters.com)

(Men’s Ribbed Boot Socks, Falke $32, saks.com)

Pair any of the above with the perfect peacoat or puffer and you’re good to go. Hope you are feeling as cozy as I am right now.

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