$1,300 budget gets 47 million YouTube visits

14 Mar

Tatia Pllieva is such a genius. She runs a clothing line called Wren Studio. Pllieva very brilliantly featured her collection on ten pairs of strangers and asked them to kiss.

Her idea was simple. And her budget was just $1,300.

Did she launch an entire YouTube campaign or Twitter campaign for her video? Nope. She went old school. She simply emailed the video to 21 people. That’s all it took. An email.

My latest Shutterfly creation

21 Feb

I have tons of photos. And usually I don’t make the time to make photo books. This month, I finally made time. I compiled all my photos and made a 2013 book instead of individual events and trips. I really like capturing the year this way.

Click on my book to check out my album.




James Franco & Seth Rogan Bound for Greatness

26 Nov

Thank you for taking Kimye’s trashy video and turning it into a real work of art. Absolutely brilliant!


Moët & Chandon champagne vending machine

22 Nov

Moët & Chandon champagne vending machine

Now that’s the spirit!


Kim Kardashian’s boobs are everywhere

21 Nov

Cover your boobs up, Kim K. We know you love them. But your boobs made this song even more terrible.


Google Search: Reunion

20 Nov

The art of storytelling is alive and well. Done right, it can transcend cultures, language barriers, and even political barriers. This Google ad just made me cry. It’s really beautiful.


Drunken Tiger ‘살자 The Cure’

19 Nov

Drunken Tiger is a hip hop artist in South Korea. I love the beat and illustrations for this. His wife, Yoon Mi Rae, also a hip hop artist sings with him.

Will Snapchat disappear like the $3 billion it turned down?

18 Nov


I have been learning about investing for about 10 years now. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is about greed. Greed makes people do all sorts of crazy things.

Greed makes them take risks they shouldn’t. Greed makes them not fold when they should. And greed makes them too damn arrogant.

I have read the stories about Facebook offering Snapchat $3 billion and Snapchat turning it down. Facebook had hoped the idea of images, videos and stories that fade after being viewed might have helped them attract teenagers since they are having problems attracting them.

Some called their move crazy. Others believe all of the press Snapchat received will result in a bigger offer.

Maybe. But none of us are fortunetellers.

Now that they turned down the money, investors will be carefully studying their every move. From revenue to user increase, they will be monitored. And here is where they will sink or swim. Coming up with a brilliant idea is hard. Being able to successfully run your very first company estimated  to be worth $3 billion is no easy feat. And if it’s not done well, Snapchat will simply disappear, too.


25,000 dominoes and lots of patience

13 Nov

Your loyalty cards do more than save you money.

29 Oct

As an extreme couponer, I have tons of loyalty cards. My keys now looks like a ugly charm bracelet from all of the loyalty key tags I have. I hate the way it looks, but I am on a mission to save money every day.

Before I was couponing, I found it ridiculous that I needed to scan these loyalty cards to get the store sale price. “I don’t have my card with me. No, I can’t punch in my number, because I probably used a fake one when I signed up. Can I just use yours, please?”

Now that I extreme coupon, I can see the benefits. For example, at Harris Teeter, I get customized deals sent to me that are not available to everyone else. I can also get electronic coupons attached to my account. (Although, there are always issues with it working properly!)


At Giant, I get to participate in their gas deal. I now have almost 9,000 points (my record was over 11,000 points) and pay just $0.93 a gallon for gas weekly.

At CVS, I get to scan my card at a red machine in the store and get extra coupons that virtually help make my total zero. And it earns me extra care bucks, which is the same as cash and helps me get around $20-50 worth of stuff of week for almost nothing.

Last week I read an article in the Washington Post about a company called Applied Predictive Technologies aka APT. I had never heard of it. But when I read how 100 of the largest companies in the world use them (think CVS, Wendy’s, Redbox, and Wawa),  I wanted to learn more.


APT claims $1 of every $5 in U.S. retail transactions goes through its database. How is this possible?

APT is a cloud-based predictive analytics software company. They have incredibly large databases that companies can use to help improve their business decisions. Using their data and research, ADT can help tell companies if a certain model generates greater sales, if a wall color helps sales more, if store prices are working as well as they should, if store  hours are maximizing what they should, and even if the overall design is aiding sales.


On top of that, they take clues from your loyalty cards, your ATM withdrawals, and even receipts to create some kind of predictive outcome, like that I am more likely to pick up Haribro gummy bears if they are by the checkout lane. (Which is true!)


As a research nerd, I find this kind of fascinating. I am sure in their eyes, my data looks beyond insane. 40 oatmeals, 20 cereals, 5 razors, 3 dozen eggs, 3 organic milks, 3 bags of apples, 4 bags of oranges, 55 fruit snacks, 3 romaine lettuces, 10 Lindt chocolate bars, 90 rolls of paper towels, 10 gallons of ice cream. You get the picture.

I know some people cringe at the idea that companies are stalking its customers using Nostradamus-like technology, but personally, if it helps tell them how to better serve me so I have a great experience, I am all for it. If you know what I am interested in, what I will buy, and what incentives to send me, I don’t mind. With three kids five and under, any help I can get to save money and feed and clothe my kids is appreciated.

Although, I admit, as an extreme couponer, I am not loyal to stores like I used to. In fact, I now understand stores, their promotions, policies, user interface, and more than I ever have. My loyalty has been tested at every store. Whether it is being accused of misusing a coupon (when a cashier has not been properly trained), having a cashier sigh really loud when they are annoyed at how much I am buying, having not one employee connect with me when there are many standing around and I need help, having managers come up and yell at me when a coupon is valid yet they don’t want to deal with it or me, or talking with 6 different employees about how their store sold a particular wine for over a year and now it is gone and when will it be on the shelf again? Answer. We have no idea.

I often find myself wishing stores would hire extreme couponers to give insight from the field, like mystery shoppers do.  Sometimes, I get really nice cashiers and it really makes my day. I always remember the nice ones and then I look for them when I return.

From my experience, loyalty isn’t given. It’s earned. And I have to say from all the stores I shop at, the CVS in Haymarket, Virginia is by far always the best experience for me. It’s probably the only store I am loyal to.

Jang Ok Jung is like crack

27 Sep

Damn you, Korean dramas! I barely watch television anymore and then my husband showed me Dr. Jin and then Hulu recommended Jang Ok Jung. I watched 24 episodes = 24 hours in 4 days.

Jang Ok Jung is about how a concubine (born the daughter of a slave) falls in love with a King and rises to become a Queen during the Joseon Dynasty. It starred Kim Tae-Hee and Yoo Ah-In as the future Queen Mother and King SukJong.

Korean dramas are like crack. Every minute is packed with backstabbing, plots, and deceit. Instead of building up to a climax, every moment is a climax.  I now understand why people all over the world are obsessed with Korean dramas. I was immediately sucked into Jang Ok Jung by the beautiful hanboks and hair ornaments. As soon as all the political backstabbing started happening and the craziness in the palace, I was glued. My husband said the writers must use a scientific formula to write and that they understand how to write in a way that creates addiction.

Confession: I agree. We left our youngest without any clothes, except for her diaper for over 4 hours on Sunday. (Note: It was 77 degrees, so it’s not that bad. Right?) And we skipped our kids’ Mandarin class.

Warning: Watch at your own risk.

I was born before Google

31 May


Dear Lucas, Stella, and Cora,

I was born before Google. Yes, I am that old. When I was little, we didn’t have an iPad, the Internet, streaming video, mobile phones, or Wii U. We had beta tapes, cassette tapes, regular TV scheduled programming, and our imaginations. (You have no clue what I am saying right about now I am sure.)

We didn’t have video, satellite radio, or a hard drive in our car. We didn’t have streaming music, cloud players, or FaceTime.

And when my mom told me something, I believed every last word down to “spinach makes you grow faster.” Well, because I couldn’t google it. It didn’t exist. There was no way to tell if people were making stuff up.

As your mom, it makes me uncomfortable that you figured out at five-years-old how to launch Netflix before I did. I also think it’s strange that you prefer watching homemade YouTube videos over real cartoons. And I am shocked that you, Lucas, want me to buy you an information architecture app so you can build your own website. You’re five for crying out loud.

We’re now entering an uncharted childhood territory and I see you all becoming obsessive over the latest Minecraft-Mario-Angry Bird mashup, Tinkerbell makeup video tutorial, Google Chrome app, and new releases on Netflix. And you all are getting on my nerves. (I know you’re only 16-months old Cora, but this includes you, too.) The more you are hooked on these devices, the worse your behavior is becoming. You fight over what video to watch. You fight over what device to watch it on. And you are fighting over who is in control. And when you don’t get your way, you all are going crazy like a crackhead who is out of crack.

I am sorry to have to do this. But I am disconnecting you from all devices for the next two weeks. You will have no iPad, no Netflix, no Hulu, no Amazon cloud player, no Wii, no Wii U, no DSi, no Leapster, no Playstation, no touchscreen computer, and no touching my iPhone.

The first few days will be tough. You will go through withdrawal. Then when you’ve reached a state of absolute boredom, I am really hoping that you figure out a way to use your imaginations to entertain yourselves and that you learn how much more fun it is to hang out with your siblings than a device.

So power down, kiddies. It’s time to see what life was like before Google.