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Category Archives: Media

Sipping Stars and Finding Soul

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Happy 2017 to my readers!

How many of you have heard music playing in coffee shops, pulled out your fancy smartphones, and used an app to determine the song playing? I’ve done it many times so I can hunt down the full song on YouTube or another platform for listening to the whole tune.

A quick stop into Starbucks this afternoon led me to hear the chorus for this gem, which resulted in a look up via SoundCloud to find the title for later.

A short snippet of piano hooks you in, later used as a foundation melody repeated in the background as more instruments build on it into the chorus. Instantly this small hook transported my mind to a smoky, seedy bar with neon lights flickering in the window with a handful of patrons – mostly locals. (Fitting as the first verse muses if the singer’s ex lover is out drinking and possibly free to hear her out one more time.)

The haunting vocals crooning this song of failed relationships and reminiscing about the good times belongs to fresh-faced LÉON, who hails from Stockholm, Sweden. In addition to this single, she has an EP titled Treasure out now and a full album on the way.

The combination of her delivery and instrumental music is refreshing for me in an era of electronica, fast-paced music, and heavy synthesizers. Something tells me that her star is going to grow brighter in the near future…

Time Flies by When You’re Telling a Story

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Last week marked the 5th anniversary of Your Smile is Priceless – who knew that a blog analyzing the blogger’s life in a society struggling to pull itself out of the recession combined with literature would grow from an audience of her classmates to beyond?

I wish to extend a huge thank you to all of my followers and readers for coming and staying on for the ride – it has been a pleasure sharing glimpses of my life, the small nuggets of success, and the occasional drabble with you.

In addition to work, I promised myself to make the most out of my time at San Diego Comic Con this summer. Previously in 2015, I spent many days camping out for hours to stake my place in Hall H for several panels from Lionsgate, BBC, and 20th Century Fox with good friends. Don’t get me wrong readers – my friends and I had some good times waiting in line but my dad commented that I missed many of the smaller panels or experiences taking place on the floor. This time, most of the panels I attended were smaller and I was fortunate to immerse myself in the floor activity and some of the outside offerings (Vote for Snoopy and Suicide Squad x Samsung Experience to name a few).

stan-lee-2Photo taken by Susan K.

Save for walking around the convention floor, I did get in a long line to draw a ticket for a limited autograph session for MARVEL legend and early founder Stan Lee. It was rumored that this was Mr. Lee’s final appearance at SDCC, due to age and stamina. Like me, many were clamoring to be one of a hundred fans who got a coveted wristband. My mom and I stepped up to the ticket drawing bags and were fortunate to draw winning tickets for the signing. No pictures with Stan or conversations were permitted, but you could try to slip in a selfie from the waiting area of the line.

stan-leePhoto taken by Susan K.

Everyone expected a huge group of security surrounding him when he was scheduled to start the signing but instead, he walked up from a backstage elevator by himself, smile on his face and waving at everyone in line. My mom snapped this picture of him smiling at me after he returned my signed print of Spider-man before I was ushered out of the signing area. A living legend and a truly memorable moment.

To all of my readers out there, I want to hear your priceless and memorable moments that you’ve had recently. Feel free to share down in the comments.

Define Happy

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Hey, where in the world has the author been? It’s almost been two months since we last saw her!

Instead of pleading the Fifth, how about I share with you some snapshots of my life while I was away from this wonderful blogging space:

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13040838_10153589706207963_1316372428640684390_oTaken by Chrissy Ives

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Yes, multiple visits to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood were made during the months of April and May with good friends. Contrary to my expression in the first picture, I did try Butterbeer and thought it was interesting, but I preferred the Gillywater. 🙂

Early May was Spring Dapper Day at the Disneyland Resort and there was no shortage of Dapper Disneybounders like myself. It’s a no brainer for me to channel my favorite Lucky Rabbit.

I guess you could say that the month of April and May were spent trying to reconnect with old friends and making new memories. Many of these people I haven’t seen in almost a year and now that many of us are working, getting married, or studying graduate or doctorate degrees, we hardly have time to hang out and just have fun without the worries. These three images are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of time spent with friends and family, but I like to think that in those months, I said yes to more fun times than ever.

All right gang, how about you? Any exciting, magical events take place while I was gone?

Flash! They’re Gone or Are They?

Remember when people were crazy about flash sale sites? I’m talking about Gilt, Hautelook, Beyond the Rack – did you ever shop from there? Why were they so hot back then?

Yes, I used a past tense for that last sentence. While the sites haven’t been shut down, many of them have changed ownership, now being bought out by bigger companies and merging with existing store discount initiatives. Hautelook being bought out by Nordstroms, now lumped with Nordstroms Rack easily comes to mind when one thinks about the fate of flash sale sites. Now Saks Fifth Avenue is looking to make Gilt their version of Hautelook to rival Nordstroms.

Going back to the question of why flash sites were the cheese to someone’s macaroni for sometime, I suspect a lot of it had to do with the thrill. It’s no secret that the goal of many retail stores, whether it be clothing or home decor want people to spend money at the end of their visit. Sales are alluring to many who don’t want to pay full price, especially if there’s the threat of a store being out of your size.

Video posted by Tucker Michaels

This old Gilt ad illustrates it very well – two shoppers eye an item, but there’s only one in their size. It’s down to speed and luck to secure the coveted item they want before someone else snags it. Many times we buy things because we convince ourselves “It’s my size”, “It’s on sale”, or “If I don’t get it, I’m gonna regret it.” Making shoppers fight to get the items they want heightens the thrill of shopping, in some cases it results in buyer’s remorse.

Years later, people aren’t willing to fight it out anymore or they are simply interested in different stores and brands, especially if there is an easy return policy. Sometimes it just makes more sense to drive to the closest store, return what you’re not keeping, and call it a day, versus packing the item up and paying return shipping in some cases.

While all of these flash sites hearkened to the budding trend of people preferring to shop online, it appears that many of them couldn’t adapt on their own to meet new demands from online shoppers. After all, while it can be fun getting a great deal, the return policy and process can look more like a hassle if its shipping returns only.

From Eating Utensils to the Building Blocks for Art

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Are you a master at using chopsticks? Sadly I would consider myself a beginner – I have the basic technique for holding them down but its putting it in motion to pick up food that is the challenge. (Especially without trying to cross the chopsticks while picking something up!)

While taking something small to make something bigger isn’t a new concept, Malaysian artist Hong Yi has transformed the traditional eating utensil into a hanging portrait of Jackie Chan. 64,000 chopsticks were used to create the piece. In addition to Jackie Chan, the artist has replicated several likenesses of other famous Western and Eastern celebrities in chopsticks.

Gift Wrapping – Expert or the Worst of the Worst?

The holidays are almost here (or if you celebrate Hanukkah, they’re here) and everyone talks about gift wrapping options. It’s funny to hear people talking about what they’re going to do for wrapping, whether its buying coordinating paper and ribbon to complement each other or just saying “Screw it, I’m hitting up the mall and having someone else do it for me!”

I chalk my wrapping skills up to my mom, who is very detail oriented – trying to fold the corners crisp and neat, small pieces of clear tape, and cutting long edges to make folding easier. My weakness is curling the ends of curling ribbon – I’m able to get one side curled and the other will come out kind of mangled.

There was one girl I could never forget who described herself as being completely hopeless when it came to wrapping things. She gave a mutual friend of ours a gift in a gift bag with twine wrapped around the handles. Our mutual friend ended up ripping open the bottom of the bag after getting fed up with the twine and discovered her gift (a book) was wrapped under varying layers of brown paper and duct tape! We joked that it seemed like this was a test to see how eager you were to see the gift inside.

Recently Jimmy Kimmel did a segment where he had two people who were self proclaimed bad wrappers compete to wrap various odd sized items.

What about you guys? Would you consider yourself the best gift wrapper ever or would you be more likely to give that job to someone else?

Fight or Flight? Would You Accept the Force?

Lots of Star Wars lately – apologies to those who aren’t strong followers of the Force! (The writer saw the original trilogy at a young age and happened to have a professor in college who liked to compare the Force to Indian religious practices and thinking.)

Three individuals were thrown into a situation where an Ewok runs up and passes off a Lightsaber before escaping to some place safe. Before they can react, the person finds a group of Stormtroopers blocking their path, in some cases parting their block to let Darth Vader through. All of the individuals chose to flee when they saw they were outnumbered, despite being given a Lightsaber.

Interesting, but I do wonder if anyone would consider challenging the Sith if faced with this scenario. What about you? Would you try to fight or flee?