Monday, January 25, 2010

Zazzle Dazzle

I remember the days my mom would take me to local merchants in the area to get our towels embroidered with initials, or have customized mug cups printed with our kiddie pics for granny to have. Well, fast forward 20 years and the online world is full of merchandise customization and I have friends printing their own stamps and ordering customized dolls that look like their kids (a bit scary!).

On a personal note, I recently decided to print some contact cards and used I chose them for the variety of reasons: design, cost and speed. I ordered on Sunday evening and had my cards in hand by Tuesday afternoon! But what really caught my eye were the custom shoes you can order How fun would it be if I could get my nephews to wear the shoe of their dreams! They have slip-ons and sneaker-type shoes that allows you to print anything you like. Looks like I'm going to get two huge smiles on their birthdays this year!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just Stand Up!

What do I like about (internet radio)? Aside from the fact that you can listen to a variety of music on multiple devices for free, I love their recommendation engine. You can create channels of artists that you like and Pandora will automatically deliver music that's close in style and taste to the artist that you're listening to like "Just Stand Up!", a collaboration by Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna, Sheryl Crow, and Fergie that just played on my station.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with their founder last year and his passion to shed light on unknown artists and give them a chance to shine is really at the core of their business model. There are literally more than 50 people in the room listening to CDs and analyzing the beat, tempo, tone, etc., slicing and dicing the music to make sure that they have a great recommendation engine. To combat the hefty unfair music licensing fees charged to them by music labels (it's ridiculously higher than regular radio station fees), they've successfully incorporated rich media ads that attract lots of brands that's helping bring great revenue. Great news as I sure don't want to see Pandora disappear! In addition to being able to purchase the music on Amazon, etc., you can also "gift" stations; just customize your fave artists or songs and package it up and send it by email for your friend. Such a clever way to acquire users.

If you aren't a Pandora user, what are you waiting for? Access and start jamming today!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Winter Luxury: The Ritz Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe

Happy 2010! How did you ring in your New Years? I was fortunate to have an opportunity to join my wonderful friends for a quick trip to Lake Tahoe and had lots of fun in winter wonderland. On our way in, we drove by a new Ritz Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe that just opened a few weeks ago. While our destination was a beautiful lakeside home a few miles ahead, who can resist checking out the Ritz?
This majestic
Ritz is a gorgeous property that makes you feel like you've suddenly jetted to a European ski chalet. We checked everything out from the restaurants that were decked with New Years eve celebration ballons, to the ski shop and the spa. Everything is very pristine, with a warm and modern decor, truly fitting for the grandiose Ritz. The hotel is situated mid-mountain on the Northstar-at-Tahoe ski area, and features a ski-in, ski-out access with a great gondola that connects the property to the village area. If you can afford winter luxury in this economy, this is the way to go! It's only about 3 hours+ from San Francisco if you don't hit bad weather.