Saturday, October 30, 2010

Off to the Farmer's Market We Go

For the past year and a half, my roommates and I have a weekly Saturday tradition of going the neighborhood farmer's market (used to be Union Square but now it's McCarren Park) whether we needed to buy something or not.  There's something very relaxing and therapeutic about buying your produce outdoors.  I was even more excited today because I got to practice using my birthday gift to myself, my new Nikon DSLR (ahhh, no more smartphone for me this year).  I am sad I won't be able to make it to McCarren next Saturday, but instead I will be at Portobello Market in London!!

Meatloaf Plating Battle, Psychiatrist and the Prince of Wales

The East Village gang remains together even in Williamsburg, and last night we had a delicious meatloaf dinner (Sean's family secret recipe), a few rounds of boys vs. girls taboo and then, our NEW FAVORITE GAME--Psychiatrist!  Friends who play games together, stay together (unless it's Monopoly then serious damage could happen).  While the rest of NY was probably in slutty costume in the fun 40° weather, we opted for the lazy person's Halloween and went to Radegast Biergarten.  Oh and lucky for us Alan from The Hangover was also there.

Don't forget to support the new "plating battle" tradition (remember Shniztel and Chicken?) and Vote for your favorite meatloaf plate here!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Escape to Bear Mountain

I LOVE FALL--the leaves changing color, layered clothing and pumpkin flavored everything.  My roommate Natalie invited me to her house an hour north of NYC near Bear Mountain to go hiking, promising amazing views of the Hudson river and mountains covered densely in orange, red and yellow trees.  All week, I looked forward to being surrounded by nature and couldn't wait to escape the city.

Staring out of the Metro North express train, the high rise projects in Harlem quickly passed into lush mountains trailing the Hudson River.  When I jumped off the train into Garrison, I felt like I stepped into a kids storybook where nature is capable of magical things (like I had arrived at Hogwarts!!).  Skyscrapers were replaced by towering autumn trees, sirens replaced by silence and the stench of trash, well was replaced by what you expect a non-stinky place to smell like.  Yes, I am dorking out over nature but it has been too long since I have left the city or have went home.

Natalie's parents were the sweetest, feeding me every second (I love parents) with fresh fruit salad, apple cider, salami provolone sandwiches, zucchini doesn't end.  We went hiking up a trail behind her house to Spy Rock.  The entire hike my feet were crunching acorns (sorry squirrels!) and freshly fallen leaves.  We were the only people on the trail, just us and the mountain--I loved it.

The rest of the day we played an intense game of scrabble, had traditional stuffed cabbage for dinner and sat next to a fire pit roasting marshmallows for smores and drinking wine.  Being so far from my family and Hawaii, I really appreciate the company of my roommates' or friends' family, reminds me that there's a lot more important things in life than just work and going out.  The only downside of this trip is I didn't get to see deer...

Friday, October 22, 2010

CMJ Music Festival NY: Bear Hands, Oh Land, Wavves, Charlene Kaye & the Brilliant Eyes

I didn't realize how much I missed going to live shows until this week's CMJ Music Festival in NYC.  Thanks to BuzzMedia, I received an all-access pass to Pure Volume House at CBGB and got to catch indie rock Bear Hands, Danish beauty Oh Land and really, really drunk (Phoenix MSG openers) Wavves.  I couldn't stay much longer after that, considering I was up since 7:30am and had work the next day but it was nice to be in a small space with loud music... which totally reminds me, I am going to London in two weeks!

You can watch performances from that night at Pure Volume.
The KraftONE Gang courtesy of Gene Yraola
Thursday night, I stayed in Williamsburg to see sixth grade buddy Charlene Kaye perform at Bar Matchless.  I had no idea that Char was a singer and when I checked out her music on Facebook, I was absolutely amazed by how beautiful her voice was.  Seeing her in person was no different.  Charlene Kaye and the Brilliant Eyes will be playing at Googie's this Saturday above the Living Room in LES.  Support my long-time buddy!  
Watch her music video for "Mad Tom of Bedlam" and you'll see what I mean by "amazing".

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fashion Forward Jackasses

"Hi I'm Johnny Knoxville.  I'm also a very well-dressed, good looking fellow, and WELCOME TO JACKASS!"  
High-top Chucks, Dickies work pants, classic Ray Ban wayfarers, vintage cardigan and tee--since 2000, Johnny Knoxville has been rockin' the "I wake up in the morning and look this good" look harder than Don Draper.  Jackass (one of the best TV shows), for the past decade, has made the lumberjack skateboarder look more fashionable than Chuck Bass' bowties and Snooki's poof with plaid flannel, 90s neon, witty t-shirts, skate shoes and the occasional man thong/sailor hat combo.  Oh and don't forget the fat suit.

Whether it's dressed as a panda or a butt disguised as a hilly terrain, I have always enjoyed the Jackass crew and their entertaining outfits.  Certainly this is America, a place full of different disguises, swearing, poop--a place where pretty much anything goes.  

God I love America, and America loves Jackass (not kidding #1 in the box office with $50 million this weekend).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What GAP Should Have Done

Google search volume for "GAP" and "Gap Logo" has more than tripled in the last week, reaching the highest number of searches for "GAP" in the last five years.  This is exactly the level attention the brand needs to get back in the retail game; however, the biggest mistake of GAP's rebranding is not the new logo (which has since been taken down) but the mistake of driving visitors to a cluttered e-commercy website.
When all eyeballs are on your brand, you better have something impressive to show them.  And, when the millions of unique visitors typed into their browser to check whether the new logo rumors were true, I am sure once visitors landed on the page and saw the new logo (maybe even cringed for a second) they instantly left the site.  Average time spent on page = 10 seconds, jeans sold = 0. 

This was GAP's chance to change perceptions about the aging brand and instead, they sadly confirmed that GAP has lost some its glimer and is just another sales-focused American blue jeans brand through multiple offers and % signs cluttering the site (there must be some aesthetic rule to how many 25%, 20%, 30% offers you can have on a page... five is a bit much don't you think?).  The site leaves little room for the consumer to admire the product.

Some people may ask, "how could GAP have created a new consumer site quick enough to respond to the increased interest?"  Well, my answer is GAP could have looked at all its online assets--pages within, Facebook page, etc.--and chose a page that accurately reflected the direction the brand wanted to go in, such as the Explore Gap 1969 page, which surprisingly is very forward-thinking, aggregating content about denim from across the web into an engaging grid-like map.
This page is exactly what GAP needs to focus on--bringing back the notion that GAP is about quality jeans not just sales.  The GAP rebranding conversation could potentially continue past this week if visitors were driven to this page.  Plus, if the new logo was on this page, you may even be distracted away from its ugliness because there is just so much pretty content to explore (no, please stick to the old logo).

I am interested in seeing where the GAP branding team will go with this.  I was once a fan of GAP in high school and sort of been unimpressed since.  I'm definitely rooting for a big comeback in Q4--some strong holiday TV, interactive out of home in major cities, possibly using the old logo as a focal point of the creative (since by now you should know that people are emotionally attached to it).

Graph below shows how search volume for GAP has skyrocketed the past week:
Laird + Partners, if you need some help, don't hesitate to reach out :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Big Bambu at the MET

Twin brothers Mike and Doug Starn's Big Bambu art installation on the MET rooftop will be taken down at the end of October

@GapLogo and Crap Logo Yourself is the Best Part About Gap's New Logo

Stunt.  Joke.  Poor Taste.  You can call it whatever you want but that ugly Gap Logo is still sitting on the upper left corner of and it's driving everyone insane that the twittersphere and Google has been buzzing about it all day--and I am sure GAP is happy about it.  You can't say that Smirnoff is unhappy that Bros Icing Bros helped skyrocket sales and empty shelves of Smirnoff Ice, well, GAP has nothing to be upset about that people are finally caring and talking about a brand that was slowly and quietly dying.

In one of my past posts "What Does Gap Need to Do to Be Cool Again?", I mentioned that GAP needed to start thinking outside of the box... they may have taken that advice too literally and changed their logo.  Could Gap's new logo be the new Old Spice man?  Is controversial rebranding the new viral marketing?   I don't have any answers but I do know that @GapLogo is effin hilarious and is bringing some good energy to the sad new logo.
Also, another bonus is now we can all create really ugly logos with Crap Logo Yourself.
And it poops this out:
OMG my eyes.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

All My Mad Men Dreams Come True

Adify threw a Mad Men party tonight at the west side's Studio 450 that would make Matthew Weiner proud.  Guests were greeted by Joan Holloway secretaries giving out plastic pearl necklaces to the ladies and fedoras for the men.  The loft space was decked out in 50s furniture--oak conference tables, slide projectors, typewriters, whiskey glasses--and the Adify team dressed up pretty well: the men in fitted suits, skinny ties, black-rim glasses, the ladies in pearls, gloves, up-dos and skinny waist belts.  I had on my pearls and red lipstick but my black cotton hoodie sort of ruined the look.

I wonder if all the furniture was rented or purchased...if there is a Rent-a-Mad-Men-Party service that I could call for an event like my birthday.  That would be amazing.  It would be even more amazing if it was FREE... the girl wishes.

Studio 450 is beautiful, two massive floors of open loft space and the roof top overlooks Midtown Manhattan and the New Yorker building.  Views like that remind me why I love New York and the industry I work in.  Just another day in the life of a Mad Woman.