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?

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Why We’ve Got Dating All Wrong

March 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

For us single 20-somethings, the dating world can be kind of scary: meeting new people, putting yourself out there… For many, this is a bizarre concept to envision and they might find it easier to just stick with old dating habits. Though these habits may seem easier and more comfortable, they may not necessarily be the healthiest/best option.

When you meet someone new, and are dating or getting to know him/her, there’s a chance he/she might won’t text you back/won’t want to go on a second date/will turn out to be a complete jerk/(other crappy situation goes here). Any of these scenarios can be difficult to deal with because we often assume that we are being rejected. I think this is a poor way to look at the situation, because in reality it probably has nothing to do with you!

Think of your own dating life/experiences you’ve had. Chances are they have not all been positive. I’ve met too many scarred individuals who loved and lost, and then live by some sort of stigma where they hate love/dating/males/females.  Why do our experiences need to have such lasting effects on our futures in dating? Why can’t we accept that just because one of our relationships did not work out, doesn’t mean that all of our relationships in the future will be just as painful?

You may be reading this and thinking to yourself that what I’m saying is more easily said than done, or that I am oversimplifying things. But all I’m really saying is this: There are over 7 billion people living on our planet. People are meant to be with people– we’re meant to experience things and events and try new things and just live our lives, with other people.

I’m not saying we MUST constantly have someone to be with. I’m saying that we should be more open to putting ourselves out there, which means accepting the risks and picking ourselves up quickly when things don’t go as we would have liked. If you remove all of the sugar coating off of this post, I’m basically just telling you to GET OVER IT and MOVE ON.

There are so many people who have loved and lost. So it didn’t work out with this person. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go meet new people until you find someone that you really click with. Because you won’t be this good-looking, spontaneous, and humorous forever. Go put it to good use.

Citizen Cope at the Paramount, 2/11

February 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

This past Saturday night I saw Citizen Cope perform acoustically at the Paramount Theater in Huntington (on Long Island). This was my fourth time seeing him, and as usual, he does not disappoint.

Citizen Cope, or Clarence Greenwood, is a songwriter and singer who creates an eclectic, alternative mix of rock and blues music. He’s produced 5 albums since his start in 1992.  His most recent album is The Rainwater, from 2010.

Clarence Greenwood has the type of voice you could listen to anywhere, any time. He sounds even better live. As much as I love his performances with his band, and with Alice Smith (who he sometimes records and performs duets with), it was great having Clarence as the sole focus of my listening pleasure. It was definitely a more calm and intimate vibe than his usual, jamming out-type performance.

In addition to playing my favorites (“Pablo Picasso,” “Sun’s Gonna Rise,” “Let the Drummer Kick,” “Healing Hands,” “Hurricane Waters,” & “Sideways,” to name a few), Citizen lent the audience some extra audial pleasure by introducing a few new songs that will be released this year in his new album.

If you’ve never heard any of his music, I’d definitely suggest giving him a try. Download any of the songs I mentioned. He also does an awesome cover of Radiohead’s “Karma Police” (I personally think it’s better than the original).

NYFW: Rag & Bone Fall Winter ’12

February 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

On Friday, the tenth, I went to my first ever NY Fashion Week show. I saw the Rag & Bone Fall Winter ’12 show, which was at 5 PM at Pier 57, right on the Westside Highway at 15th.

The show was amazing and the venue definitely gave it some personality, as it was off the beaten path of Lincoln Center, where many other NYFW shows take place. The runway was longer than usual and there was seating only to the left, so everyone had the same side-view of the models and looks. Here are some of the photos my sister and I took from our phones & instagrammed:

The collection was abundant with textures, patterns, and my personal favorite, mixtures of leather and fur. I loved the shades of maroon, navy, and black. The patterns were gorgeous– especially the darker florals used for a bag and jackets, and the stripes in a variety of long, draped vests that were cinched at the waist with belts. I definitely will be adding one of those vests to my list. The Rag & Bone shoes never fail… Need multiple pairs. A collection of handbags was also introduced, which included a larger, rectangular-shaped leather bag with large pockets and a small “rag & bone” logo embossed on the front. As for the makeup, the mix of grunge with pale faces and dark eyes was very fitting. I especially loved the messy hair.

I took a video of the finale. It’s a little dark but I think it’s pretty cool to see the run-through of the entire show:

Obviously I took many pictures on my iPhone but they didn’t do the clothing justice. Here are some of my favorite looks from the collection, from fashionsta.com (click to see the rest of the looks from the show):

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.

Why I’m Bad At Watching TV

January 22, 2012 § 1 Comment

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So I don’t really watch that much TV. It’s not that I don’t like TV. TV is great. I get really excited when I have nothing to do and get to sit on the couch and watch TV. It’s just that I can’t seem to find shows that can hold my interest. And I also suck at committing to watching a show every single week at the same time. I’m not sure what it is because I’m pretty good at remembering appointments and dates and responsibilities and stuff like that. I just can’t commit 30-60 minutes on the same day each week to my television.

I’ve tried watching Jersey Shore. It’s really funny and entertaining but I guess it didn’t hold my interest enough for me to return to it every Thursday night (see, I remember when it’s on). I’ve tried Entourage, many of the Real Housewives, Teen Mom, Real World, Gossip Girl, all of The Kardashian Krap, Cake Boss, Weeds, Modern Family, Glee, and many, many more. I watch a few others but I don’t want to say anything bad about them because I really like them and it’s not their fault I just can’t commit!

The following is a list of reasons why I think I am bad at watching TV.

1. You have to watch EVERY single episode, unlike the Rugrats.

Ok, the Rugrats was my favorite show ever when I was little. I think adventures are so awesome and I would have loved to go on those adventures. And I didn’t have to remember what happened in the last episode in order to watch the next one. I could watch them as I pleased. The characters were easy to like, the plot was pretty simple and it wasn’t overly dramatic. I’m finding in a lot of the TV shows that are on now, if you miss an episode, all of a sudden BAM your favorite character has a drug problem. It’s like WHOA when did that happen?!?! Oh, it must have happened that night I went to the gym instead of watching last week’s episode.

2. A lot of them are REALLY awkward to watch when you live with your parents.

I’m living at home right now and say I’m watching Shameless (one show I am enjoying right now, there is a chance I will continuously watch this but I can’t promise anything so don’t ask me if I watched last week’s episode). All of a sudden, there’s BOOBS/SEX. And then all of a sudden my dad comes upstairs (his office is in our basement). Awkward…

3. Something comes up.

Lots of the time I REALLY do mean to sit down on the couch every week and watch “my show” (that’s what all the cool people call it when they watch a show every week right?). But what if you had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a bath, do your nails, and play with your dog. Wouldn’t you take it? UM, yeah? (Well this doesn’t make me sound like a huge weirdo…)

4. All of the biddies start tweeting about it.

I’m not sure if this is a BU-coined term, but if you don’t know, a biddy is basically one of “those girls” (I guess the definition would go something like this (at least 4 of these criteria): always poses with hand on hip, can’t go to the bathroom without taking a friend or 4 with her, wears cropped tops, is artificially tanned, is in a sorority, regularly reads “Betches Love This Site”, etc.). (Sorry if I just described you.) (No offense.) ANYWAY. When you enjoy a show, and all of a sudden you go on twitter, and the girls that you follow to be nice (since they are following you, you follow them back) are tweeting up a freaking storm about it, it just becomes a less desirable show to watch (#JUSTBEINHONEST). You miss an episode but go on twitter and then the whole episode is just ruined for you because they won’t stop tweeting about it. I guess if you are a true fan, you wouldn’t let something as minute as this force you to stop watching. Hence, why this blogpost is called “Why I’m Bad At Watching TV.”

5. It just gets really bad.

So, I have been a big fan of shows before, watching regularly as much as I possibly could. And then all of a sudden, as I said earlier, your favorite character is a drug addict. Or she sleeps with someone that her best friend slept with. Or she gets in a fight and spills a drink on someone who happens to be her mother. Or she spends way too much on a marriage that lasts 70 days. Something to that effect. It’s just stupid. It’s really unrealistic and stupid and overly dramatic and I don’t want to watch anymore.

I’m not saying any of the shows that I used to watch and stopped watching were bad! Because they probably weren’t if they even held my interest for the slightest amount of time. But I just decided to stop watching them. So let’s see if this happens with “my” current show, Shameless. I’ll keep you updated.

Fantasy Gift List

December 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

‘Tis the season to be greedy. And since tonight is already the third night of Hanukah, I’ve been thinking about gifts that I could only dream of receiving. Here’s a fantasy list of ten.

1. Matte Black R8 – One of my dream cars…So I could look like a combination of Batman/a Robot and drive really fast.

2. The Honeymoon House in Brazil from Twilight:Breaking Dawn- If you’ve seen the movie, you understand.

3. Ferretti 680- Who wouldn’t want a yacht… (that’s rhetorical).

4. Burberry Cashmere Blanket- For the ultimate cuddlefest.

5. DeBeers 5.16-Carat Blue Diamond Ring– It was sold recently at an auction in Hong Kong for $6.4M. What a shame– I think blue would have complemented my skin tone fabulously.

6. A Floating Bed- I think it would solve all of my sleeping problems.

7. LED Mirror with Built-In iPod Dock– Ideal for my future bathroom in my new apartment.

8. Jetlev R200 Water JetPack- WOW. I want to fly.

9. Fendi Bicycle- I have awful coordination so it would probably be for show. Like a museum in my house.

10. My Dream Man: Zach from the Real World’s body with Ryan Gosling’s personality, Jake Gyllenhaal’s eyes & hair, and Bryan Greenberg’s style.– I’ve put a lot of thought into this. Is it really too much to ask for?

Hope you get great gifts this holiday. If you get one from my list, don’t tell me because I’ll be very jealous.

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