Big scary move

I’m making a big scary move over to my own domain, blogging from – if for some reason you lose me, please follow me there! Thanks!

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Holy Cannoli

My latest reality TV obsession: VH1’s Mob Wives. It’s like Real Housewives took a hit out on Long Island Psychic. 6 Staten Island women whose husbands or fathers have been incarcerated for crimes connected to the Mafia bring you into their lives. Although apparently violating a Mafia Code by appearing on TV, these gals don’t seem to be holding back one bit, in the fascinating expose of some of the weirdest, most scary women I have ever witnessed. Witness? No! What? I’m not a rat! Not me!!

My favorite character? Big Ang, Angela Raiola. A convicted Cocaine dealer, she’s the niece of Salvatore “Sally Dogs” Lombardi, a deceased captain of the Genovese crime family. Known as a “mob moll” she lives by the lifestyle code, through and through. But the reason I love her: She looks like a Sicilian prehistoric fish on steroids with the biggest gazoongas I have ever seen on any “human” being. She has the vocal tone of the Godfather, and when she laughs on camera, it chills me to the bone.

I mean, I seriously believe that these women could kill someone, and do regularly in between sushi and a good girls nights out.

I just love, love, love how the scenes are broken up with “P.I.” style photos as if they’re being followed. Which they probably are.

Posted in General, Shows, TV | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Sticky situation

I just love this, and one day I’m going to turn it into an ad campaign. Don’t steal that idea, ok, beautiful?

Posted in Idea, Marketing, Nice Idea | Tagged | Leave a comment

Rant: Bad Greens

So, Mad Greens is a “healthy” quick serve restaurant here in Colorado that specializes in salads. They tout themselves as hand crafted, with premium, fresh ingredients using a tagline of “inspired eats”. However, taking my kids there one weekend, I was way less than inspired by this:

Yes, that really is Mac and Cheese from the box. Just sad that the luminous bright yellow color didn’t really come through in the photos. But I think the badly mixed lumps of cheese powder did, right? Come on – you’re parading as a healthy restaurant but you’re prepared to serve my kids Kraft Mac n’ Cheese from the box? And for $4.25 at that? Simply disgusting. Stand up to your brand values and do something organic, or dare we say, fresh. Or don’t serve it at all! I asked the staff at two different stores, and they both admitted that it’s Kraft out of the box and agreed that it’s horrible and that Mad Greens needs to change this. I’ve tweeted Mad Greens about it, and left a message on their Facebook wall, and they’ve never responded. The solution? I just won’t go back? What a pity.

Posted in Restaurants | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I’m busting my ass too, dude.

I recently re-joined the 24 hour fitness in an attempt to fulfill my resolution of saving money this year. I go to the gym 3 x per week and this particular location, although I’ll never shower or use the restroom there, has pretty much everything I need. Also, being about 4 minutes from my house really helps at 6:30am.

But here’s the thing: this is a 24 hour Fitness Sport. A Lance Armstrong Sport. And over the last few years, I’ve developed mixed feelings about the said Mr. Armstrong. Now I know that federal investigators closed their case against him without bringing any charges. But I’m not convinced. And even if innocent, the investigation, and the claims against him have led to enough doubt. So it’s difficult to be inspired, early on a snowy morning, when I look up at this:

Posted in Fitness | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Skate park

Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to let your kids eat dinner on a skateboard under some chairs.

Posted in Kids | 1 Comment

Cough, cough

My 4 year old is taught at school to cough into his elbow. But have you ever noticed how many adults cough into their hands? As I write this, a man is sitting next to me who has been coughing into his hand. He just stood up and placed that same hand onto the tabletop, and now some unsuspecting person is going to place their coffee on said tabletop. Thanks for the caffeine and the germs, yuck!

I have been racking my brains as to how we re-educate adults? It’s like we have been mis-taught basic germs 101. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has some really ugly flyers that one can print. But seriously, am I going to hand a leaflet to some man sitting next to me at a coffee shop? How do you avoid being smacked when trying to remind people of a really basic health need? Why do people not realize that when they cough into their hands, they effectively spread their germs EVERYWHERE! The Mayo clinic states that germs can stay alive for minutes or up to 48 hours, depending on the surface they’re spread on. Which means that you could get infected with this man’s germs several hours after you sit at the table next to me!

I found this catchy ditty on the internet to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat:

Cover, cover, cover your cough
Cough into your elbow.
Cough and sneeze, and sneeze and cough.
Germs don’t spread around. HEY!

But I’m sure my nearby gentleman wouldn’t appreciate the tunes. Perhaps a short rap? “You’re getting your germs all over my perm.” Clearly not my best talent!

How about a Facebook campaign. A catchy viral video (pardon the pun). A street corner protest. Anyone out there got a great idea for a Cough into your Elbow you germ spreading cretin campaign? In the meantime, I think I’ll redesign those CDC posters into a cute business card and take it from there. Cough, cough.

Posted in Health | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Please sir, can I have some more?

My mother makes the most divine butternut soup, so delicious that she has ruined me on butternut soup forever. I can only enjoy hers. On a rainy Cape Town day, there is nothing better than my mom’s butternut soup and a thick chunk of government wholewheat bread. Since that’s not so easily accessible to us in the USA, I asked my mom for her recipe so we can all dream of rainy Cape days:


Halve or double all ingredients depending on your requirements.  Be quite flexible actually.

Take 5 or 6 leeks, wash, dice and soften in olive oil (or butter) in the base of your soup pot. Garlic can be added at this stage if desired. Lots, if desired.  Add 4-6 butternut, roughly chopped, 6-8 carrots, fill ¾ with water.  Place 2 or 3 sticks of cinnamon (optional but very nice) into pot and boil on high heat for about ½ hour or until it’s really soupy.  Add herb salt, chicken or vegetable stock depending on your taste buds, health or religious concerns.  I use homemade chicken stock. If I don’t have any, I might cook the soup with canned fat free chicken broth instead of water.
Now begins the messy part.  When cooked, remove cinnamon, strain soup and put through a food processor in batches till as fine and smooth as possible.
Thin if necessary with water, or with orange juice for a completely different taste, or serve really thick the way we like it.  At serving time, I like to add a dollop of yoghurt to each bowl, or, for guests, a swirl of cream and a snippet of parsley Serve hot or cold with croutons, sour dough or rye bread.


I sometimes roast/bake the butternut in the oven for the greatest flavor and scoop out the flesh before boiling with the stock, but have been known to pre-cook it in the microwave before boiling, or simply buy cubed butternut from Costco.

Royalties to Elana Newman (My mom wrote that, not me)

Posted in General, Recipes | Tagged | 2 Comments

Taking the Mickey out of it

I was recently at the Sundance Film Festival and was totally intrigued that McDonalds had set up a cafe at one of the most premium venues at the festival. For 4 days, they served free coffee, tea and cookies from 10am to 4pm. You could even get oatmeal in the morning. The venue was at The Lift, which, while still a functioning ski lift, during the festival houses the Stella Artois Cafe (try and get a pass for that, not) and several gifting suites. At night it’s also home to the Tao Nightclub. And there was good old Mickey D’s.





They did a great job of the space, and must have spent a fair packet doing it. Although I recognize those furry grey pillows from Target, the signage was really nicely done, silkscreened on fabric giving it an upscale feel. They created a really fun, funky, warm vibe. There were two cosy sitting areas, one screened off with some drapes, cool wood paneled walls, and free wifi. Their theme of illustrations peppered most of the elements, and gave a fitting, artsy feel to the venue. All really, really nicely done. Have I mentioned that?

A couple of walls hosted outlined handprints of celebrities with their photos, for a “lend a hand to warm a heart” campaign. And I really appreciated that they were quite roughly done – gave it a very authentic, creative feel. I saw a couple of their staff getting paw prints from celebrities and it was a nice way of taking the campaign outside and then bringing it in. Effective, at Sundance, in the moment, yes.


But here’s the rub: in the end, I was still holding a cup of McDonalds in my hand. And for a diehard Starbucks drinker, no fancy cool Sundance cafe is going to change that. And I can’t imagine that the Hollywood crowd are going to drop their Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf either. So you’ve gotta ask. What did this do for McDonalds? I didn’t see hoards of press. And I subsequently haven’t seen any mainstream media coverage of it. So who was the Cafe for? The McDonalds executives who now feel pleased that they had a presence at Sundance? The ad agency who must be feeling quite happy that they persuaded their client to do this? It certainly wasn’t for their consumers, and it certainly didn’t do a strong enough job of capturing influencers. I made a comment to a girl in a lounge about it later that day, and she told me that she threw her cup away the minute she walked out of the door because she “didn’t want McDonalds coffee”.

And I hate to say it, but I think it makes McDonalds look silly. It makes it look like they’re pretending to be something that they’re not, and I think that’s bad for the brand image in the long run. Don’t pretend to be a premium brand if you’re not. And in any case, your true target market isn’t at Sundance. But if you’ve gotta do it, then stay true to your brand. Bring Ronald McDonald to Sundance and make it 70’s cheesy. Go back to the burger – god knows the 2am crowd could have done with that.

Posted in Critique, Marketing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Tiek Boutiek

I love a new fashion find, and I love it even more when the marketing and packaging is spot on. So, in honor of Valentine’s Day and my new pink ballet slippers: let’s chat about Tieks by Gavrieli.

I recently ordered a pair of Tieks online. I had seen an ad on Facebook (see, Facebook ads DO work!) and received a discount code. Still they’re quite pricey at around $200. The other day I had my first chance to wear these (it’s snowing heaps in Denver, and I was in San Diego where it’s always ballet slipper weather!). I’m a fussy slipper girl, and these were a dream! Perfectly comfortable even though I walked quite a lot. Just goes to show that sometimes the premium options is worth it!

But let’s talk about the most impressive part of Tieks: the packaging and presentation. From the bright teal blue accents, which carry from the shoes to the absolutely adorable box with flower, to the handwritten note (really!) from the company, Tieks has it spot on. This just what a consumer like me wants to see. And my daughter Mia has taken to wearing the yellow flower in her hair! Plus, the shoes come not only with their own little “purse” but that smaller bag unfolds into a larger one, where you can stash those stilettos you climbed out of. I think I’m going  to have to pick up a couple more pairs for summer, or move to San Diego and wear them every day. Whichever comes first!

Posted in Shoes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment