Dreaming of a Beach Day

Having been in England since the end of September, 2013, I’ve noticed a trend in the weather.  Most days, it looks something like this:

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If you couldn’t tell, I was definitely inside drying off when this picture was taken.  Cold, rainy, windy and miserable.  These are just a few of the words I’d use to describe the past few months.  I spent the last 6 years in the desert state of Arizona, so this much rain is completely out of my comfort zone!

So, when I’m feel “meh”, I think back to a few weekends ago when I went to California.  We spent the day hiking the beach, eating delicious food and celebrating my sister-in-law’s birthday.

We started the day off on Zuma Beach, just a hop, skip and a drive over the mountains from my aunt and uncle’s house.  It was cloudy and a bit cool when we started but nothing compared to the weather I had come from.

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After a quick 2 mile walk/hike, we arrived at Paradise Cove, a cute little joint tucked away on the beach in Malibu.  Now, when in America, eat like an American!  While I should have gone for some eggs, I splurged on some apple pie pancakes and a mimosa.

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And what’s a birthday breakfast without an enormous cake to feed everyone?!  I think she was a bit surprised, but Happy Birthday Lindsay!

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After breakfast, the sun came out and we started our journey back up the beach.

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So if you’re experiencing the winter blues in rainy England, snowy Chicago or wherever else has crummy weather, I hope there is a sunny day in your near future.

 

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California Baby Shower

As the wind howls and the rain pours day after day here in England, I am reminded of a weekend that seems like an eternity ago…even though I just returned Tuesday!  Somehow, I had the privilege of flying to California on February 6 for a weekend of celebrations.  The first: a baby shower.

IMG_1959 IMG_1953As much as we could, we tried to keep my attendance a secret for my beautiful, pregnant cousin, Laura.  Unfortunately, when she picked me up at the airport, she was only a little surprised, but I think happy to see me.  The two of us and two of my other cousins, Katie and Susie, left LAX and headed for Agoura Hills.  With more family arriving through the day and Friday, it was the perfect mini-reunion.

IMG_1964Friday was preparation day.  We chopped, sliced and assembled food for Saturday’s party while laughing, joking and catching up on one another’s lives.  After that, mani/pedis and Mexican food were in order to relax and keep chatting.  If you have the chance to meet my family, you’ll quickly learn that we’re talkers, so when we’re together, we always have a lot of catching up to do!

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Then, came Saturday, where the entire house was awake and in the kitchen by 7:30am.  Grant it, coffee came first for most of us, but we were rolling bright and early.  Without knowing the sex of the baby, and knowing my cousin’s forever love for dinosaurs, my Aunt Deb and cousin Katie decided on a dino-themed shower.  Orange and green filled the house along with dinosaur books, toys and decorations.

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Though we had hoped for a sunnier day, it didn’t rain, allowing us to be outside.  Tables were setup and decorated – we even made the napkins look like tiny diapers (adorable is you ask me!).

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To go with the orange theme, we made an orange punch which contained: 2 litres Sprite, 2 litres Ginger Ale, 1 Sparkling Cider and a frozen container of orange juice.  Delicious!  Add a little white wine and presto – Mason Jar Spritzers.

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Once the guests started to arrive we put out the appetisers: cheese platter, antipasti skewers, mini spinach artichoke dip cups and tiddly winks (or, pigs in the blankets) that looked like swaddled babies.

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Then came the games: guess the price of the baby items, Baby Pictionary, and “My Water Broke!”, a game where you freeze mini plastic babies in ice cubes, put one ice cube in each guests’ glass and the first person whose ice cube melts completely yells, “My Water Broke!”.

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Lunch was served between the games and consisted of lettuce salads, sandwiches and a fruit salad.

IMG_2016 IMG_2006Next, and my favourite part, dessert!  Tiered platters were served to each table with mini French Silk Pies, Petite Bundt’s and “Dirt” in a Jar.

IMG_2026 IMG_2022Finally, it was time to open presents.  They sure do make some interesting things for kids these days.  From organic diapers and wipes to the “poop closet” and enough Packers/49ers gear to go around, this little bundle of joy will be well taken care of.

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Though I’m already missing the warm, California sun, I couldn’t be more grateful to have had the opportunity to go back to the US for this event.  Can’t wait for this little lovely to be born.  Congratulations Laura and Chandler!

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From Print to Digital – A Publication’s Evolutionary Tale

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend an event about how newspapers and magazines are moving from print to digital formats.  Bryan Glick, Editor in Chief of Computer Weekly, graciously took time out of his day to come to the University of Southampton and speak with DigiChamps and WAIS/DTC and Digital Marketing students.  He spoke of how Computer Weekly has moved from a print magazine to a fully digital publication.

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Glick started at Computer Weekly in 2009, a time where the United Kingdom and most of the world were in the midst of a recession.  With many print companies going under and closing up shop, Glick took on the challenge of fixing this “broken” publication.  After a few years, Computer Weekly decided to cease printing in 2011.  While many took this as the magazine calling it quits, this was not the case.

There is a common misconception these days when it comes to publications moving from a print format to a digital format.  Digital does not mean dead; Digital means change.  While the tangible product is eliminated, the same quality, if not better, is transferred to a digital form.  From a consumer’s point of view, the largest change is the distribution method.

On the other hand, companies moving from print to digital models have a challenging task to consider– reworking their business structure.  Glick told us, “Digital does not mean digitise,” which, when you think about it, really makes sense.  You can’t take a print business model, replace the platform and except it to keep running smoothly.  Digital strategies require different elements and metrics, and those companies who do not realise this are destined to fail.  So, Glick and his team combined readers’ demographic information with their personal preferences to form a new digital strategy.

With the creation of a new business structure, the role of the journalist changed dramatically.  Journalist were once known to be the experts in their fields, being the first to know of a situation and reporting to inform.  Now, thanks to the Internet, they no longer play the role of the information gatekeeper.  Today, journalists must engage with their readers through social media, blogs and other digital media, in order to discover information and become informed.  Instead of being the first to know, they work to be part of a community of interest in order to learn and react to the world around them.

Overall, the evolution of the web and technology has, and will continue to, change the balance of power.  The news world used to be controlled and managed by the reporters.  Today, more than ever, the consumers hold the reins.  They have the ability to choose how and when they consume their media, whether it be via smartphone, tablet, laptop or whatever technology comes next.

Having worked in the media industry before, I truly appreciated hearing about Computer Weekly’s transition and the challenges they faced.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve had to tell people that print isn’t dying.  Rather, it is evolving and adapting to its changing environment.

A big thanks to Bryan Glick for this very interesting presentation and for teaching us that we can expect even more, drastic changes to come.