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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Checking e-mails 2 times per day, is it really possible?

I just started reading The 4-Hour Workweek and I am amazed at the concept of being able to limit checking e-mails to just 2 times per day. The author suggests that you maximize your time by eliminating lots of useless activity (checking personal e-mails, facebook, news etc.) and spending time more efficiently.

I think humans have a natural curiosity and constantly want to know what the latest news is or how many new messages are waiting in the inbox. I am anxious to read the section that suggest you "outsource" your life to a virtual assistant. I don't think I could utilize the service at this point in my life but certainly if you are the type of person with a busy job, a family and other people depending on you I can only image trying to juggle scheduling and personal tasks.

Seriously, how many hours a day are spent in front of electronics: ipads, TV's, laptops, cellphones, e-readers and the list goes on and on. I mean how much time is spent face to face anymore? Yet, e-mails are so convenient and make communication much faster and more straightforward then a phone conversation. How many times is considered overkill? 4 times, 8 times, every hour?

Monday, May 16, 2011

The lure of discount websites

I have never used Groupon but I have definitely taken advantage of travel deals from TravelZoo e-mail blasts and dinner discounts. Actually I just discovered blackboard eats and VillageVines this year (they both offer discounts off your bill).

Over the holidays, I received a photography class as a gift from my parents and I had a really good time (despite the fact that I was using a point and shoot and everyone else had $1,000+ professional cameras!). I never would have thought to sign up for it but I learned a few new tricks and took great photographs.

Some of the discounted daily deals are really random things that I would never use. For example, I once saw a discount for a professional closet organizer for $100+ which was a little bit ridiculous to me. I am a neat freak and I would never pay someone to organize my stuff! Yet, a lot of the restaurant deals sound appealing. The fact that Groupon changes it's deals so often is nice because I think it lures new customers in. Trying something that you would not normally try and paying 1/2 the price sounds like a plan. A lot of my friends have tried things on Groupon and recomended them to me. I found my old hairstylist through a friend that used a Groupon deal at a hair salon. I don't know if I could ever buy something on one of the sample sale sites like Gilt unless I knew my exact size because when I shop I like to see it in person and touch the material or try it on etc. However, dinner discounts never fail!

Hopefully, I'll get a bit more adventurous and try something out of the ordinary!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Global Fashion: Spotlight on Hong Kong!

On a recent trip to Hong Kong, I did some serious shopping! There is one district in Hong Kong where I find myself falling in love with trends from all different parts of Asia. The area is called Causeway Bay. There is a huge department store from Japan called SoGo as well as tons of little shops that import clothing from Korea and Japan.

I took a picture of an adorable little shop that sold jewelry and accessories with the cutest pink decorations. I find that the Asian culture enjoys cartoons, stuffed animals and anything with rhinestones (oh and of course HELLO KITTY).

I bought a blue button up t-shirt from Korea as well as 2 jackets and 5 pairs of shoes! I could have spent the whole day shopping but I had other things to see and do. I love the fact that you get access different trends from surrounding countries in Hong Kong because when I traveled to Tokyo a few years ago I found it fascinating to see how dressed up all the women were. They dye their hair, wear tons of makeup and always walk around in high heels. I also loved visiting harajuku to see how all the teenage girls looked in real-life. They had some really interesting outfits and were happy to pose for pictures.

However, in New York, you can shop at many stores which have global fashion trends but in Hong Kong it is so fun because you are shopping near the source (China) where nearly all garments and shoes are made!!!

Ladies Market for example, had tons of bootleg Tory Burch shoes and handbags for tourists. However, I never purchase fake items because aside from being illegal the quality is always terrible and often not even real styles of what is actually produced.

By the way, over 70% of the worlds shoes are made in China. Another interesting fact: Luxury designer items often hide the fact that items are made in China: How do the brands get away with this? Some hide the “Made in China” label in the bottom of an inside pocket or stamped black on black on the back side of a tiny logo flap. Some bypass the “provenance” laws requiring labels that tell where goods are produced by having 90 percent of the bag, sweater, suit or shoes made in China and then attaching the final bits — the handle, the buttons, the lifts — in Italy, thus earning a “Made in Italy” label. Or some simply replace the original label with one stating it was made in Western Europe.

Made In China on the Sly