Category Archives: stuff

Hot Sauce in the Mail

This is a story about how great customer service and trust in your consumers can get you a long way.

I went to the Chelsea Market for the first time a few weeks ago.  My roommate at the time is a huge foodie, and we decided to explore together.

While wandering around the market, a guy (Jon) had a table near the basket shop and asked us to sample his hot sauce.  For those of you who don’t know me, I’m obsessed with spicy food and am always looking for new hot sauce.  So I said yes.  The sauce was pretty good; beyond just spice, it also had flavor. I casually asked if this was his spiciest variety.  He said no, I don’t have any on hand.

More importantly, Jon said, “If you give me your address, I’ll mail you a bottle of our habenero sauce and you can pay me back later.”

“Sure.” I’m only living in NYU dorms for the summer, so giving him my address was a fairly small risk.  Besides, he’s a nice guy, and even if he turned out to be a bit nuts, we have security guards for a reason. If he didn’t send it to me, no big deal.

I gave him my mailing address and completely forgot about the whole incident.

A few weeks later, I checked my mailbox and was completely surprised that this random guy had trusted me and sent me a bottle of his habenero sauce.  It would have been easy of me to ignore his invoice, enjoy the hot sauce, and forget about it.  I mean, I’m moving in a few weeks.  What was he going to do?

I didn’t.  I emailed him back and asked how to best pay for it.  A quick transaction later, and I was happily enjoying my bottle, guilt-free.

But this is an unbelievable story.  Of course, I told my friends (and am telling you now).  What are the chances in the one of the most jaded cities in the world that one stranger would trust another and really put himself & his product out there?

So here’s some free publicity for you.  Thanks for the hot sauce and for the story.  Best of luck in your endeavors! :)

Jon, thank you so much for the hot sauce. If you would like me to remove your contact information from this blog, please let me know, and I'd be happy to do so. :)

Leave a comment

Filed under just life, pr/marketing, stuff

Wait, this is only week 2?!? Part 2

Technically, it’s week 3, but who’s counting?

Sleep is a freaking scarcity.  If sleep could be sold, supply would be steep and close to the y-axis and demand would be even more inelastic.  There’d be a line out the door, even though we’re broke MBA students.  For anyone who gets home before 11pm and doesn’t have to do homework, appreciate sleep.

Coke Zero, Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper have become my best friends.  My life is ruled by caffeine and no sleep, and yet I’m having such a great time.  Paradox or twilight zone?  It is 3:17 in the morning.

[Begin tangent.]

BTW when most brands do some sort of sponsorship or deal, it’s clearly labeled on the can/bottle.  For example, I still remember Coke’s deal with AVTR.  Yes, that’s Avatar (the awful James Cameron movie that’s FernGully + Romeo & Juliet with the only redeeming factor being special effects).  The spelling was a bit funky but the package design was impeccable.  The spacing of the AVTR letters, the serif font.  It just fit.  But I have some serious questions about the football logo on the new Coke Zero bottles?  There’s no information.  Are you doing a sponsorship or co-branding?  Am I supposed to be curious enough to go look it up online?  (If I weren’t into marketing and advertising, probably not.)

I finally went to the Coke Zero site and I’m even more confused.  It is about football season but non-specific.  I thought diet products were usually geared more towards women, but Coke seems to be pushing this product to men.  Are they expanding the diet-soda-for-men market (I have no idea how big it is) in order to not cannibalize as much of the female-dominated Diet Coke market?

The choose-your-own-adventure game on the site is almost interesting, but I’d rather see the brand sponsor one of the Facebook games, where it’s more engaging for the user and also leverages the brand of the Facebook game.  Of course, having worked at Playdom, I’m biased. :)

[End tangent]

I’m loopy so it’s off to bed.  Last thought: why hasn’t anyone told me about this awesome awesome product?

UPDATED: Cynical answer- probably because the packaging is awfully awfully wrong.

1 Comment

Filed under MBA, pr/marketing, stuff

Wanted: Sexy Designer/Web Programmer

For: redesigning this here blog!

I’ve been on WordPress.com for a few years now and think it’s high time that I move on to WordPress.org.

Here’s what I want: a super-awesome designer who can program a landing page for janyxu.com that will have buttons to my contact info and profiles, link/tab to about page, etc.  I also need my blog divided into two sections: professional (marketing, social media, case studies) and personal entries.  I can help with a lot of the art and html/CSS coding, but I don’t know enough PHP to make it do what I want.

So… if you or someone you know would be willing to help me, please let me know.  I’m kinda super-broke at the moment, but I will totally pay what I can and we can barter the rest.

Thanks! :)

2 Comments

Filed under just life, stuff, tech

What’s up your nose?

I started using Biore nosestrips in high school.  After the first time seeing all the crap that’s in my pores, I was sold.  But it’s a pretty hefty investment: $8 for 8 strips at 6 boxes a year is $48.  Okay, not exorbitant, just more than I’d like to spend on a simple luxury.

With my supplies running low, I hopped over to my local CVS to buy some more.

Several things I noticed:

  • They now put tape on the packaging.  Apparently, people have been stealing the strips (?).  And once I get home, the tape makes opening the two boxes a hassle.
  • I bought two boxes and counted 18 strips.  Now, last I remember from elementary math class, 8 + 8 = 16.  So what’s up with the extra strips?

Most likely, it’s  a marketing ploy.  The temporary happiness of feeling lucky that you got a whole extra strip, not a big deal except they’re a freakin’ $1 each!  But since I got two boxes, I spotted the difference.  It’s not that I’m lucky.  Their goal is to make everyone feel lucky.

Is that good or bad?  Well I’m certainly happy to get 2 more strips free.  On the other hand, I don’t like that some marketer (probably an MBA grad who wants to show off her marketing genius to the new boss) is trying to sway my emotions.

Isn’t this supposed to be this “Web 2.0-if-I-hear-that-phrase-one-more-time-I’m-going-to-shoot-someone.”  Aren’t companies supposed to be all about transparency?

Why not have a campaign that says, “To show you how much we love your support over the years, we’re going to put an extra strip in every box of Biore strips.  Supplies are limited.”?  Or “Find the Golden Ticket at your local Target store (co-branding is awesome) to win a free spa weekend for you and a friend.”  Or even “Recycle your old Biore packaging, and we’ll give you $2 off your next purchase.”  They have a $2 coupon inside anyway, and a full color 4 fold brochure is surely loads of money and certainly not green.  I’d rather Biore saves both of us the $1.50 for the printing cuz they’re clearly passing the cost onto the consumer.

Point is: stop trying to trick us!

This is why my goal is to work for a company that treats marketing as the champion for the consumer voice within the office.  Marketing shouldn’t be about gimmicks and trickery.  It’s about having a great product/service and letting people know about it.

Shame on your, Biore.

Leave a comment

Filed under pr/marketing, stuff

Brush Without Water

I saw the Colgate Wisp on a point of purchase display (by the checkout counter) at Walgreens.  It was $2.49 for a four-pack, which isn’t too expensive for an impulse purchase.

The Colgate Wisp is a tiny toothbrush you can use, while you’re out, without having to use water.

I love it.

  1. It’s portable. Each brush costs about $0.60 including tax.
  2. Sometimes, after a meal, it’s just better to do a quick brush versus chewing gum or sucking on a mint.
  3. The non-brush end has this flexible toothpick that’s so much better than any traditional toothpick or tooth floss.
  4. The “toothpaste” is basically one of those liquid mint things.  So nothing in this new product is “new.”  It’s just repackaged very nicely.
  5. The bristles, handle, and ends are pliable, comfortable to hold and use, and look pretty futuristic.

The one thing I don’t like about the Wisp is the packaging. The package I bought (look below) comes in a set of four.  I  don’t need to take four with me any time I go out.  In fact, if I’m going clubbing, my purse will likely be tiny.  It’s hard enough to pack a camera and my iphone.  I don’t have room in my purse to carry another package almost the size of a deck of cards.

Instead, the Wisp should be packaged separately, so I can take them out one at a time.

To be honest, I probably would buy this in the future.  I’m not planning on using it every time I go out, probably only the times when I eat something super garlicky or have a date.  So $2.49 every 3 months or so is a pretty good investment.

Leave a comment

Filed under pr/marketing, sh*t i like, stuff

Gorgeous Purple Eyes

I’ve been experimenting with makeup lately (see my last two posts), and I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration from Makeup Geek.  So here’s one of her awesome videos on how to apply makeup.  I’ll be working on some of my own looks and posting them here and on Facebook.

Leave a comment

Filed under makeup, sh*t i like, stuff

Fake Lashes, Drawn-in Brows

I went to a MAC tutorial at Bloomingdales today, and it was super helpful in figuring out 1) where my crease is and how to emphasize it, 2) what my many makeup brushes do, and 3) how to put in false lashes and sculpt my eyebrows.

This is a pretty neutral look, but the artists helped me spice it up a little.  I’ll try to go through tips and steps for our future reference.

MAC lashes 4

First, we brushed on some normal moisturizer with a fluffy brush (about the size of a blush brush), followed by a tinted moisturizer, which acted as the foundation, and then concealer.  Next, was two layers of powder.  The first was a flesh colored one to set all the make up, and the second, a bronzer.  The last prep step for the face is a dab of blush on your cheeks to make them nice and rosy.

Tip: When putting on bronzer, start at the top of the forehead working the powder into the hairline to make it more natural.  Then, work your way down the sides of your face to give it contour.  Brush under the chin and under your cheekbones for additional shaping.  (Sometimes, I also like to dab a teeeeeeny hint on the top of my nose to give myself a sun-baked look.  But just a tinge because you don’t want to flatten your face.)

MAC Lashes

After the face, we started working on the eyes.  It’s hard to tell from this picture, but here are the basic steps:

  1. Brush on an eye primer. (I’ve been people use their fingers, but it’s nice to buff it in with a brush- use a small concealer brush.)
  2. Put on a light color (5-10 shades lighter than your skin) right under your brow.  Don’t worry about blending it in.  You’ll do this later.
  3. And a medium tone by dabbing at the corner of your eye and working it in.  Use your finger and feel your brow bone; then, make circular motions right under that with a brush.  Sweep the remaining eye shadow (don’t grab more) in a “windshield wiper” motion towards the inside of your eye. See how I have a darker circle on the corner of my eye? Like that.
  4. You look kinda silly, but keep going.  Take a really light color and fill in the lid right above your lashes.  Work your way up until you meet the medium tone from your windshield wiper strokes.  Blend thoroughly.
  5. Take a darker color and go back to the windshield wiper strokes.  Darken it especially around the outer corner to form a nice frame for your eyes.
  6. Blend.

Eye

See the many layers in the first photo?  There’s the light color right under the brow, the medium for most of my lid, the light color (use whatever you want) for right above my lid, and the darker color for the corner of my eye.

Next, put on eye liner.  Use an angled, thin and hard brush. Dab some gel eyeliner (comes in a pot) and make little strokes near your lash line.  Smooth it out.  For the winged look (see how my eyeliner goes beyond my eye), draw a line in the upper corner of your eye that’s a continuation of your lower lashes.  Then, connect it with the upper lash line.  Curl your lashes, put on some mascara, and wait for it to dry.  Finally, apply some false lashes, et voila!

Tip: Put the glue on the false lashes and wait for it to almost dry before putting it on your eyelids.  It’ll stick better and you don’t have to hold it in place as long.  Also, if you tilt your head back, you can see yourself in the mirror as more easily than trying to close one eye.  Lastly, reapply some black eyeliner so that fake lashes blend in.

Tip: Some people say that curling your fake lashes and then reapplying mascara will help bind the fake lashes with your natural ones.  This is true, and you should curl your lashes.  However, not putting on mascara will make the fake lashes last longer.  So it’s up to you what you want to do.

MAC lashes 5

To make this neutral look pop, the MAC makeup artists also put on some blue eyeshadow on my lower lashes.  This is totally optional.  It’s applied the same way as the top lids.  You can also wet your brush before dabbing it into the eye shadow, and you’ll come out with a more vibrant color.

Finish with a nice lip stick or lip gloss.  I can’t wait to try this again on my own, especially the false lashes.

MAC Lashes 2

Here’s what I look like after a whole day of hanging out by the Ferry Building with some cold ones and then buying much needed cat food shopping.  (Mon Petit Coeur wasn’t starving but the dry food was running on the last 2 cups.)

2 Comments

Filed under just life, makeup, stuff

Real Life Air Brushing

marc glasses smile

My friend Wawi, affectionately Wii, is visiting from Spain, and we ended up spending over an hour getting our eyes done at the MAC makeup counter in Bloomingdales.  I have two full bags of makeup and never seem to wear any, so I thought I’d spend a little time and give myself a little make over today.

I’ve done the classic smokey eyes, for Asian almond eyes.  Because my face is flatter than the anglo face, I don’t have the crease and natural contours that white people have in their eyes.  It’s also harder to find the right sunglasses.  The ones I’m wearing at Marc Jacobs.  They still hit my cheeks, but in general, I’ve had a lot of success with Marc by Marc Jacob shades. (Side note: I love this peasant dress that I got from Victoria’s Secret online.  It was on sale, and it fits just right. :) )

marc glasses

So I’ve been watching lots of YouTube makeup tutorial videos, and I’ve tried to emphasie the crease and contour my eyes.  It doesn’t work for me.  Instead, here I did the smokey eyes right above my lids, instead of to the side, in order to make my eyes open up.  I started with some Make Up For Ever concealer palette (thanks to Makeup Geek).  I got the one with the weird purple sets (the guy at Sephora says that’s for Asians, the one with the green is for caucasians, the orange is for South Asians, and the dark for African Americans). Then, a MAC eye primer.  It helps pick up the make up and with blending.  I tried without and the powder just falls right off.

"5 Camouflage Cream Palette" Make Up For Ever @ Sephora

After my eyes are primed, I start with a cream tone (a shade lighter than my skin), and start layering darker and deeper colors as I get closer to my eye.  Then, I use a round brush and blend it all in, so I don’t have lines between the lighter and darker shades.  Next, add some smudgy Shu Eumura eye liner pencil, which I love because it’s easy on, doesn’t smudge, and lasts all night.  Some Buxom mascara and I’m done!

smokey eyes

It takes a little bit of practice to get the layering right w/o going too crazy.  I had to try a couple of time before my left eye had the same layers as my right eye.  The primer really helps, and the buffing does take a minute or so.  I guess it just takes practice.  All in all, I’m really happy with the results.  Sometime this weekend, I’m going to try a lighter day look.

Cheerio! :-D

marc glasses pout

2 Comments

Filed under just life, stuff

A New Way to Roll

I love the new Kia Soul commercial.  The hamsters on wheels are such a cute analogy, the animation is on point (the fur is mindblowingly well done), and the music is just right.  They’ve undoubtedly spent a pretty penny on the social media campaign: the Facebook app, the Facebook pages, the official website, forums, good fodder in a lot of blogs, and of course the ad on the Kia Motors America YouTube Channel.

Kia owners really love their cars and the Go Hamsters Go app:

Mekiya S*****: I got mine the day after easter….I LOVE it! ♥

Brien D*****:  anybody tried “Go Hamster Go” yet? You’ll need a webcam, and it may take a minute to download, but it’s pretty sweet! facial recognition technology! hamsters! the Soul! what’s not to love?

Brittany S*********:  Def love my little black soul :) first one in NE bought it in first day of April whats up :)

Kudos to what must be great metrics.

But a few things bug me, especially I initially clicked on their ad in Facebook.

  1. The ad for the app doesn’t link to the YouTube video, which to my knowledge is the only shareable one.  The ad in Facebook is only shareable within the site, and the video off their website is embedded without share codes.  If I have to go to a completely different site to share the video, I’m probably not going to do it.
  2. No part of the marketing campaign links to the other.  Facebook pages don’t link to YouTube doesn’t link to the dedicated site.  Frustrating!  A few extra links or buttons can multiply their efforts online.
  3. There’s no Twitter page. What?  Seriously, get one of the main engineers or product managers to gossip about the new Kia Soul online. I’m guessing this isn’t their Twitter page because… well, it’s lame.

Kia’s doing so many things ‘right’ with their presence online.  And a few simple tweaks with links, Twitter pages, etc. will have a huge multiplying effect.

And some additional ideas: Kia soul owners submit videos on why they love their car?  Win prizes including free car details at your local dealership.  Design your own Kia Soul?  Top 10 designers get 1) publicity and 2) $1,000 cash back on your new Kia Soul.  A multi-city DJ contest? Get added to the Kia Soul mixtape.  Best DJs from around the country battle each other for a pimped out Kia Soul.

.

Here’s ‘my’ Kia Soul.

kia soul

P.S. I couldn’t actually “download” the file, so this is a screen cap.  “Lovley” is spelled wrong on the fourth option (under “temptational”).

Leave a comment

Filed under pr/marketing, stuff

Oh, My Eyes!

So many movies coming out, when will I have time to watch it all?!

Movie watching comes in phases for me.  That’s why I choose Blockbuster over Netflix.  I can’t deal with the pressure of having to watch movies, so I can maximize my monthly subscription… there’s enough guilt over not getting my money’s worth for my 24 Hour Fitness membership (at the current pace, I’m spending about $50/visit).

The summer blockbusters are coming up, there are still a few movies I want to knock off my list before I have to wait for the DVD version.

1. Disney’s Earth

It opens tomorrow.  Following the BBC’s Planet Earth, I want to see more spectacular shots of nature.  The close-ups.  The story line.  And yes, even the fact that they’ll plant a tree for every ticket sold.  Sure, it’s a marketing gimmick, but in this case, I’ll over look that the end justifies the means.

.

2. The Soloist

This looks so compelling, and having studied the double bass, piano and ballet at a child, I’m totally into music and dance movies.  Unlike Stomp the Yard (exhilarating and full of juicy abs as it is), Jamie and Robert are great actors, who can bring a soulful drama with an underlying root of classical music.

.

3. Monster’s vs. Aliens

This reminds me of Monster’s Inc.  ‘nough said!

.

4. Crank: High Voltage

This movie just seems crazy to me.  I went to see the first Crank as a first date at this beautiful, old theater in the South Bay with a huge chandelier.  Crank, itself, reminds me of the male version of The Sweetest Thing.  A bit hectic.  Way the fuck out there.  Seizure inducing.  I’m taking this chance to turn off my brain and taking a shot for every time Jason gets punched.

.

5. Up

Besides the fact that I love everything Pixar makes (including all the amazing shorts), I’ve been drooling over this movie since they releases a short trailer a year ago just with balloons.  I have no idea what the premise is.  Something about a old guy who’s tired of society and his boy scouts, optimistic boy escape the city life to a wondrous new world in the clouds… or something like that. :-D

Can’t wait!

.

I may need a stronger contact subscription soon. :)

Leave a comment

Filed under just life, stuff