Friday, August 22, 2014

#FridayReads: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Years ago, my coworker told me how amazing the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon was and now that tit has been picked up by Starz as a series, I've putting it on the list:

Written by Diana J. Gabaldon, who is of Mexican-American and English descent, the 8-book series "focuses on 20th-century nurse Claire Randall, who time travels to 18th-century Scotland and finds adventure and romance with the dashing James Fraser. Set in Scotland, France, the West Indies, England and North America, the novels merge multiple genres, featuring elements of historical fiction, romance, mystery, adventure and science fiction/fantasy."" via Wikipedia.

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life . . . and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire . . . and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Read Diana's Blog: dianagabaldon.com/blog and follow her @Writer_DG

Thursday, July 24, 2014

She Had Lots to Say

Here's to standing in your own power:


“She was fierce, she was strong, she wasn’t simple. She was crazy and sometimes she barely slept. She always had something to say. She had flaws and that was ok. And when she was down, she got right back up. She was a beast in her own way, but one idea described her best.

She was unstoppable and she took anything she wanted with a smile.” ― Drake

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Want to Design your own Fitbit Band? Let's make it happen!

Fitbit recently announced their collaboration with designer Tory Burch offering a pendant, print silicone band or a metal hinged one. As a Fitbit owner, I was relieved to hear that they finally offered users of their wearable tech, a few options outside of the standard unappealing silicone band available only in a few solid colors.

My excitement was quickly squelched because the new line is really limited in variety and the most stylish, the pendant and the metal band, cost even more than the actual tracker costs.

Did Fitbit Miss the Mark?

Another thing of note for Fitbit is that the Tory Burch aesthetic isn't exactly suited for everyone. While Tory Burch's mission to be a "luxury brand defined by classic American sportswear with an eclectic sensibility and attainable price point" seems on point, her Soccer Mom, BabyBoomer consumer demographic with sky-high credit limits;, echoed by her somewhat cultish and basic New-York-City-uniform following, is a turn off.

Was this just a strategic play to go after this market by Fitbit rather than fulfilling the needs of their dynamic user base?

It makes my head spin a bit if so. Did your marketing and design team do their homework?

While colossally plugged-in and influential Millennials and Gen Z crave the ability to go against the grain - design, own and make their own mark in the world in order to stand out, this offering seems to be in exact opposition to this global trend. Are we just not important? I know health, fitness, and wellness are incredibly important to many of us who track our goals, sleep, food and exercise because we want to be a better person in a better world.

I love to express myself visually. I change my style, hair, makeup constantly. I want either an accessory that is timeless and classy - a neutral that will go with everything or I want the ability to change out what I am wearing easily and not break the bank. My ideas for a fitbit band? A white silicone one, a woven thread or leather one, an interchangeable pendant that wasn't so conventional. Maybe even something more retro, steampunkish or vintage like verdigris or something dainty and delicate. I mean, I have ideas, lots of them!

And what about more fashionable options for men? In the past couple of years, there has been an upswing in what marketers are referring to as "Yummies" or Young Urban Males who are super trendy and love to shop.

Tory Burch for Fitbit

I would love to see a future offering that allows for creative, inspired individual expression for all Fitbit users. 

I think a collaboration with a Quirky-like crowdsourcing or Constrvct platform, where inventive and creative users can submit their own designs and ideas for accessories could take Fitbit to the next level. Why not just open it up to all your fans?

Imagine a studio for your consumers, powered by their designs that produces amazing, ingenious designs produced by a global tribe of techies who wear, share and advocate for fitbit. A golden, win-win opportunity to profit if you ask me.

I hope you're reading this, Fitbit, folks.



Friday, July 04, 2014

#FridayReads: The Feast of San Sebastian By Jonathan Marcantoni

Have you read The Feast of San Sebastian By Jonathan Marcantoni? It's a "raw, gritty and frightening socio-political thriller set in the island paradise of Puerto Rico," according to reviews that debuted last year:

Two Haitians are smuggled into Puerto Rico with promises of work and a better future, but are instead forced into slave labor at an American factory. Ilan is a middleman on the black market whose guilty conscience has led to alcoholism and gambling debts to the biggest crime boss in Puerto Rico. These three men's lives will collide when Ilan is forced to pay his debt by arranging for the assassination of the corrupt Superintendent of Police. 

What follows is an examination of the decadence and injustice of a colonial society on the brink of self-destruction.



Jonathan Marcantoni is the author of Traveler’s Rest and Communion (with Jean Blasiar), both published by Savant Books and Publications. He has been a freelance writer and editor since 2004. His family is from Utuado and Fajardo, Puerto Rico. He currently lives in San Antonio, TX with his wife and three daughters.

Author Jonathan Marcantoni
His intention with this book is to educate, and hopefully, to create action in its readers. The problems facing Puerto Rico can be remedied, but only if we work together as a people to make a better future for our families and for our country.

This book was inspired by the study “Trafficking of Persons in Puerto Rico: An Invisible Challenge” by César A. Rey Hernández, Ph.D. and Luisa Hernández Angueira, Ph.D. The crimes and criminal syndicates depicted in the book are based on cases described in that study and in articles published in the newspaper El Nuevo Día and reported by Wapa TV. 

The raids on slum communities, including La Perla, occurred between 2009 and 2011, with the raid on La Perla leading to the resignation of then-Superintendent of Police José Figueroa Sancha, who is the basis for the Superintendent in the book.
 
The yola operation that brings the Haitians over still exists and has grown rather than decreased over the last several years. It should be understood that the immigrants who come to Puerto Rico do so largely to go to the United States, making Puerto Rico a transit state for illegal immigrants, and in turn, for smugglers. 

Puerto Rico’s human trafficking problem is in direct relation with its relationship to the United States, and not because life there is any better than the immigrant’s homeland. While Dominicans make up the majority of immigrants who use the Canal de Mona to travel to Puerto Rico, there are also large numbers of Haitians, Chinese and Cuban immigrants who use the route as well.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

1899 - Belle of Calle Cristo & Calle San Sebastián in San Juan

This fascinating and stylish photo is from the Teodoro Vidal Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, the original image appeared in the 1899, 2-volume history, Our Islands and Their People as Seen with Camera and Pencil.

The caption beneath the photograph reads, "A Colored Belle of Puerto Rico: The mixture of African with Spanish blood is not found in all of the people of this island. The higher classes of white people hold themselves as strictly in their own society as in any other country. This attractive colored girl is of the higher type of that race." via The NMAH Blog



Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Consensus: No, Tell Me How You Really Feel

The other day someone told me that process of getting married is really an act of learning how to mediate consensus. Herein lays my dilemma: I've always been very flexible, open to all ideas, very passive I guess but this is one milestone, it's just not working for me...

See, readers, I really like this handmade wedding topper, however my SO doesn't get it at all. Also, I'm being bombarded with ideas about what would be cool or what I "should" do. And, while I am easily swayed, I've also sworn to stand my ground on certain things. I thought I would open this one up to you all.

My dear hubby-to-be doesn't know what "steampunk" is, perhaps doesn't even care, and well, just doesn't get it. I was pondering skipping the cake topper all together as most of them are purely fug, cheesy and corny. But I like this one (hate the pricetag though).

What do you make of it? Did you use one at your wedding?

I would love to hear your thoughts and advice. Take the poll or leave your comments below.

Steampunk Robot Wedding Cake Topper
  
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