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Friday, 12 April 2013

The end is near


Well these last two years of CreComm have gone by in a big blur and I have to say that though I haven't enjoyed every minute of it, I am enjoying where it's gotten me.

Two more weeks to go of my last work placement and I couldn't be happier to say that I am finally done school and set to graduate in June. Woohoo!

But it's the CCMAs on April 26th that will really mark the end for most of us. And being that this blog was created because of and especially for CreComm, this may very well be my last post. Thanks to any of you who occasionally read my posts. I can tell you I occasionally read yours.

Bye for now,

J

Monday, 1 April 2013

Judging Me, Judging You


A lovely Monday afternoon in Starbucks was marred by the complaint of two middle-aged men sitting on the other side of the column where my laptop was plugged in.

Now my friends and family usually laugh about my obsessive shoulder checking when I’m (ahem) passing judgment about people I know. Not that I do it that often, of course. J But my shoulder checking and lowered voice are as much a benefit to me (in case the person I’m talking about it sitting behind me) as it is to the other people sitting in the restaurant or, in this case, the Starbucks where I’m chatting.

I don’t want to hear you complain about your wife any more than you want to write my last report for me. So please, all I’m asking is that if you pick this time and this place to vent your troubles (“a ‘Honey-do’ list that is three pages long”), vent quietly people. Otherwise it ends with me judging you and then judging myself for doing so.

Besides, Winnipeg is such a small place. Can you afford to gossip so loudly?

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Mood Lighting

Dayna on white background
Dayna on black background

This week while taking photographs of the lovely Dayna I noticed something about the shade of the backdrops I was using. Not only did going from black to white change the lighting, it changed the mood of the photographs. Interesting, no?

Monday, 25 March 2013

Dress Code

Leo Burnett

I'm thinking about dress codes this week, in particular, what to wear to an industry event. How dressy can jeans ever be? Do I need to wear heels or will boots suffice? Then I found this little gem on adweek.com. I think it explains my predicament perfectly. When you get dressed in the morning, and I think this is quite the case in a field like "communications", you are in a way telling people how to define you.

Right now I'm still looking for the right mix.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Map it out

I'm in the midst of creating an online portfolio site in Wordpress and this week our instructor wanted us to start with a site map. What is a site map? Just what it sounds like. You start at the top (your homepage) and you show the progression as you build deeper and deeper into your site, each new page has its own branch of the map.

This got me thinking about life right now and how I could benefit from seeing my life mapped out for me for the next year. My parents are management consultants and this is part of what they do for organizations: get them to realize their goals and guide them through mapping out the steps they need to get there. Did you know you can do this for yourself? I've done it before and I think it's time to do it again.

I've always been a visual person so large scale drawing are always a good thing ... now I just need to find enough wall space to do this.

A Work in Progress



Friday, 15 March 2013

Congrats CreComms

This week my classmates and I wrapped up our independent professional projects at the Winnipeg Convention Centre by presenting our projects to our friends, advisors and classmates.

Here's a little note of congrats to all of us.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Portraiture



This week was the week of portraits ... learning how to use the photography studio at Red River College and playing with the effects of artificial light. Here are two portraits of two very different girls with two very different personalties. I hope I was able to capture a bit of who each of them is with these pictures.

Thanks to my friends, Sarah (left) and Maria Cristina (right).

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Done and happy about it




And so the weight has been lifted from my shoulders - my independent professional project, a nonfiction book about my crazy loveable family, is done. And as of today, bound by coils. I couldn't be happier than I am at this moment.

For those of us in the Creative Communications program, our IPP is like our thesis, showcasing the skills we've honed for the last two years. We've been working on each of ours for about a year.

So, in celebration of my first book being finished, I'd thought I'd share a piece.



PROLOGUE

There are three things you should know before you read this story. One, my maternal grandmother was Cree. Two, up until I was 7 years old I was a very pale blonde. Now I am a very pale brunette. Three, because my grandmother died when I was 2 years old, I know her only through the stories that have been told to me. I now know her very well.

Forbes was my grandmother’s younger brother. When he died his only grandchild, Lilly, to whom this book is dedicated, was less than a year old. The only way she will know her grandfather is through the stories told to her.

And so, continuing the oral tradition of storytelling, though updating it by writing it down, one day I will tell her this story, of our family and her grandfather’s funeral.

There will be many others, I am sure.

That is why the title of this book couldn’t be anything other than, “There’s a story”.




Monday, 18 February 2013

Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe


Every once and a while I get the urge to bake something and this recipe for peanut butter cookies is one of the easiest and best-tasting ones that I've found. It comes from Anna Olson and food network.ca.

I like to leave the mixer off to the side and do it all by hand. Just make sure the butter is room temperature or you're going to have a heck of a time creaming it with the sugar.

So here it is:

Ingredients
                  1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
                  1/2 cup sugar
                  1/2 cup brown sugar
                  1 egg
                  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                  1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
                  1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
                  1 teaspoon baking soda
                  1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350° F (or 325° F because my oven cooks hot). Cream together butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in peanut butter. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to peanut butter mixture and blend in. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and crisscross mark them with a floured fork. (I like to press them down with my fingers so they're a little wider than the recipe calls for because then you get really soft, flat peanut butter cookies that don't break your teeth.) Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until cookies just start to colour around the edges.


It's really important to take the cookies out as soon as you start to see the faintest colour along the edges because they will keep browning on the bottom as they cool on the cookie sheet.

If you want to look really gourmet, mix some spanish peanuts with the red skins still on into the cookie mixture at the last second. Then when you bite in it you get these great little bursts of peanut and they look really great.

Perfect little gift if you're on a tight budget like me. (It's the kind of gift your aunt and uncle will hide from the grandkids. I know, mine did!)

Enjoy.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A picture perfect weekend

This was a perfect weekend complete with Mom's birthday, an impromptu movie fest with my best friend, breaking out my sketchpad, dad's cooking, and a beautiful overcast day, perfect for taking pictures.

So here's a little snapshot ...











Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Superbowl of Ads

Just kidding, it's actually about football. (At least for my dad.) As I sit here next to my pop, who's annoyed that he can't see any of the much-talked-about Superbowl ads in Canada, I'm once again forced to peruse the Internet for the year's most anticipated (and costly) ads.

And, once again, my favourite ad is for a car. Go Hyundai. Way to tackle bullies.





Monday, 28 January 2013

Adventures at IKEA




So I started off my Monday morning among classmates, plastic chairs, and coffee cups that said “Ikea” on the bottom. That’s right, you guessed it, I was at Ikea. For a school assignment, no less.

The task was simple: market research. Who was at Ikea at 10am on a Monday? How did they shop? And, what exactly were they there to buy?

The first thing I noticed as I watched people line up at the door at 9:30am (from my warm vantage point inside a friend’s car) was that the demographic at this point was decidedly, retired. As I sat inside the restaurant ten minutes later with my cup of coffee (free before 10am) I realized that the people around me were those [1] looking for a good deal on breakfast ($3 gets you a full breakfast) and [2] those who had time to spare before starting the rest of their day.

Namely,

1.  65+ crowd
2.  parents trying to occupy young kids
3.  construction workers

These people weren’t looking to shop. And they didn’t. They ate and they left, spending all of $3 on a full breakfast.

As my classmates and I progressed through the store, leaving the breakfast-only crowd behind, we noticed another group emerge: couples looking to beat the expected influx of afternoon and evening shoppers by shopping in the morning.

These people, the ones looking to shop in relative quiet, were there for a reason. They were there to find something in particular but, because of the relative emptiness of the store, seemed to be in no rush to leave in a hurry. They wandered, until they found what they had been looking for in the maze that is Ikea and then stood there looking pained – as if there were too many options and they couldn’t decide. (This inevitably led to people on their phones trying to describe to their ‘second opinion’ on the other end of the line the plethora of choices that stood before them.)

Back to the idea of the maze, I’m sure anyone who has wandered through an Ikea has had this thought enter his or her mind: this place is built for browsing.

An employee mentioned that the first few days after the grand opening were exciting because of the rush of people but said that it slowed down after Christmas, both in the influx of people and in the speed with which they wander through the store. This employee also said that people come into Ikea for all kinds of reasons– some to make purchases and many just to get inspiration and take notes that may lead to a purchase in the future. There seems to be little discrimination by employees against people who just want to browse. Like I said, the place is built for it.

I was incredibly impressed by the placement of in-house promotion throughout Ikea. The As soon as you might just be getting hungry, having wandered for about 20 minutes along the predetermined path, there’s a HUGE poster telling you how cheap it is to eat upstairs at the restaurant.

Merchandizing and self-promotion has to be incredibly important to Ikea’s success. It serves up inspiration to all who wander through the inescapable maze, creating want and desire where they previously were none. The displays that show you the whole package (down to the toothbrush holders in the display bathrooms) are the most effective. It’s really what sets them apart from the Bed Bath and Beyonds and the Pier Ones of North America. That, and the incredibly low prices.

I did find it frustrating that you couldn’t just pick up and buy what you see. You have to wait until you get to the lower floor where all the products are stored. That being said, they do have tags that tell you where exactly to find it.

As I wandered around (I’m prone to wandering, especially in Ikeas) I had this feeling that I’m screwed if I leave the predesigned path. It’s annoying, even when you’re fully prepared for the experience.

But, if you stick to the path, you can be out in an hour. For me that was about 11:12am.

I think Ikea will be a success here in Winnipeg. We’ve waited a long time for this milestone (we’re not really a major city if we don’t have an Ikea, are we?). Winnipeggers will keep Ikea alive and well for a long time to come. Those are my thoughts.



Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Photography









Thanks to my friend Maria Cristina for the lovely photographs she took for me. Takes a lot for me to like a photo where I'm the focus. A sign of true talent. So you should really check out her blog. Right now.

xo Maria

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

App-tacular

I love this app. I was always the kid who loved playing Pictionary (I could draw better than the rest of my family) and now that love has transferred to a different medium--my iPhone. It has, in my opinion, taken the best advantage of touch-screen technology than any other app.

But I was thinking the other day about how this app (or something like Scrabble on Facebook) can be used to keep in touch with distant cousins or with friends across the country. It's fun, there's no obligation to respond right away and it avoids that awful online chit chat.

Love technology that actually brings people together.

J

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Good News

If you're looking for good news then I have to tell you ... you and I are in the same boat. I was never much for reading the paper front to back unless maybe its the weekend (I like my news condensed Metro-style most days), but now I find myself not wanting to know any what papers print in their front sections. All of it, okay most of it, is just bad news. Not the way I want to start my morning.

Or, for that matter, my paper.

Having dipped my toes into the field of journalism thanks to the wonderful (no sarcasm) Creative Communications program I'm finishing up this term, I understand the old mantra, If it bleds it leads. There's usually a sense of urgency in those stories e.g. people need to know this NOW and that's why it's in the front section. But my thoughts are that the papers need to filter out the news (I thought that was the point of papers) to the stuff we really need to know.

And first thing in the morning, I don't need to know everything that's wrong with the day.


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Re-runs. Returns. And recharging.

My first decision of 2013 was to avoid boring you with my New Year's resolutions or my countdown of the best (completely subjective) moments of the year just passed. Instead I'm just going to mention my penchant for sleeping in lately (even though I'm not tired) and my one and only January love: re-runs of my favourite shows on Netflix.

Watching Accidentally On Purpose while I sit at my computer trying to start in on my first assignments of my final term in school I realize that I don't need to force the words out of my head. I just need a week to get back into that headspace we've all been waiting for admission to. (I still work better under the pressure of a deadline.) And while I'm waiting for that, I'll recharge with some re-runs.

=)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013