A Night at the Fair | In My Travels

by Jamie Sanford on July 25, 2016

To see all of my travel posts, click here.

All images taken with the Sony NEX-6.

I love the fair. The sights and sounds, the weird food choices, the questionable rides, it’s all part of the magic. It’s even better when the fair is in your town! This year, we went to the fair on a weeknight (which felt strange) with David and Brian. It was Brian’s first time at the Meadowlands Fair!

First stop, snacks! We ended up not getting any of these. We have a system, and it generally begins with a corn dog. I almost NEVER want a hot dog, but I can’t resist a corn dog at the fair.

Hi Brian!

The light was amazing as the sun was setting.

Look at the light! There are benefits to going to the fair while it is still light out!

Always, a stop is required for meat on a stick for Will.

I interrupted him for this photo.

I really appreciate and enjoy the fonts and design on the food stands.

I refuse to ride these swings. We left the rides mostly to David and Brian, but I did join them for an AMAZING turn on the Tilt-A-Whirl.

Another successful trip to the fair. Now to look forward to the more traditional (meaning a mix of carnival elements and farm animal showcases) fair in a few weeks.

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My Favorite YouTube Channels

by Jamie Sanford on July 21, 2016

Over the past few years, I have become an avid YouTube watcher. I tend to search YouTube first for content that is instructional in nature (recent example – I watched a bunch of videos on making flower crowns before I made this very successful one), and over the last few years, YouTube has become one of my top destinations online. I do not have a television in my bedroom, but I definitely check the YouTube app on the iPad to see if any of my favorite channels have posted new content. I am subscribed to over 50 channels; however, many of those are updating once a month or less.

Here are my current top YouTube channel picks!

NikkieTutorials

I found Nikkie through Nicole Guerriero, whose channel I have been watching for ages. I think this black and white look was the first video I watched, and the moment I fell in love was at 1:37. She is an incredible makeup artist, and so much fun to watch, which is what makes me a happy subscriber.

The Brain Scoop

Emily Graslie started this channel on her own, and eventually, a brilliant mind at the Field Museum in Chicago hired her to come work at the museum and continue her YouTube channel. Not only are her videos super interesting and varied, but she is a wonderful role model for young women, especially those interested in STEM.

Mr. Kate

Mr. Kate is a DIY mistress and interior designer with her own jewelry and accessories line. She has built an entire empire with her business partner/husband and a team of creatives in Los Angeles. Her videos range from personal style to travel to home decor.

Tested

Tested has been through some changes in the past few years, but is now “Adam Savage’s Tested,” as Adam is the marquee name associated with both Tested.com and this YouTube channel. The Tested team is much bigger than just Adam, and this channel serves videos of podcasts, Adam’s “one-day builds,” museum tours, tips and tricks on creating your own maker space, and more.

Helen Anderson

Helen makes many videos from the standardized list favored by beauty/lifestyle vloggers, but her personality and delivery is absolutely why I’m still watching her channel. She’s a cool chick, and I imagine that other people watch her channel for the same reason that I do, which is that I strongly feel that if Helen can do it, I can do it.

America’s Test Kitchen

If you are familiar with the television show, you’ll know exactly what kinds of videos are on America’s Test Kitchen’s YouTube channel. I love watching these and learning, and they also make great content for sharing on Noritake’s social networks.

USA Gymnastics

Not sure how I initially found this channel, but it sent me down a path of binge-viewing gymnastics competitions from the past 40 years. I am now basically an expert in women’s artistic gymnastics.

Tweet me with your favorite YouTube channels so I can check them out!

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Congaree National Park | In My Travels

by Jamie Sanford on July 21, 2016

To see all of my travel posts, click here.

All images taken with the Sony NEX-6.

I am dreadfully behind on posting our story and images from Congaree National Park. We drove back from Florida with only Congaree on our official list of places to visit. I booked us a stay in the nearby Hampton Inn Columbia (I was committed to maximizing the HHonors Points on this trip), and we got up early to check out the park.

It turns out that we didn’t pick the best time to visit Congaree National Park, because it is a floodplain forest, and it was very flooded. We had no grand intentions, but were unable to walk the entire Boardwalk Loop trail, because certain parts of the boardwalk were totally underwater.

We spent some time in the visitor center, watching the film about the park and getting a map and some information on the accessible boardwalk areas, we were off on our way.

As we had just learned, it is all about the trees! Congaree National Park is a rare group of old-growth trees in the United States, the largest existing tract in the country. The initial development of the US contributed greatly to a lack of old-growth forests, since many of them were cut down to create early homes and buildings.

It was incredibly humid when we were there, and quite warm for December 29th.

Here we are, taking smirky selfies at the end of the accessible boardwalk. You can see the water right behind us.

I don’t have that many photos, because nothing captures this beautiful place! This picture gives you a small idea of the scale of the trees in Congaree National Park.

As with many other places, we really like visiting things in the off season. While it was unfortunate that we couldn’t walk the entire trail due to flooding, we got to experience total immersion in an amazing old forest. There were only a few other small groups of people around on the trail, which was still long enough for us to split up and feel like we had it all to ourselves.

Congaree National Park is beautiful, and the importance of it as the last remaining old-growth forest in the US is exactly why the National Park system is necessary. All of my photos can be seen here on Flickr.

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Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I can’t believe I am writing this again. I shared this blog post nearly 8 years ago about how Barack Obama’s merchandise was incredibly superior to that of John McCain, and how these differences said much about their campaigns and their chances of winning in a modern world. Unfortunately, all of the images are broken, but the sentiment is there.

I decided to take a look after reading about the reveal of Trump’s new logo and how terrible it is. It was so torn up that they appear to have already changed it. (I couldn’t find a quality version online as well, as seen in the image at the top of this post.) I also noticed the terrible hat that Donald Trump was wearing a few weeks back, and I was shocked at the Times New Roman of it all.

Here we go. The images will be large but I think it is important to look at everything, so we are going there.

Trump Apparel

OK, first of all, is that fleece vest a tribute to Chris Christie? I really strongly associate fleece items with zippers to Hurricane Sandy-era Christie.

The rest of these items are certainly consistent in their complete basicness. The only one with a bit of anything approaching humor is the one near the top with #newyorkvalues on it. How can they not have explored variety in their merch? If you are not interested in being a literal billboard to support this candidate, you aren’t going to buy these shirts.

Clinton Apparel

This is NOT all of the Hillary Clinton apparel, this is the Made for History items – a new version of the Runway for Change collection that was extremely successful and sold out during Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. This is just a subset of the huge variety of apparel available from HillaryClinton.com. I might be totally biased, since my favorite type of merch for anything are items that don’t broadcast a single idea, but are more like an inside joke on a shirt. Lyrics, or a character name, or a phrase like “Make Herstory.” HRC’s website has simple shirts with her logo or name on them as well, but they aren’t the ONLY option.

Trump Accessories

OK, I just figured it out. This Trump merchandise looks like bootleg merch, like it was designed and created by someone looking to make a buck while putting in the least amount of effort. I can’t unsee it now.

Clinton Accessories

The difference is very clear here. There seems to be a similar attitude from Clinton’s merch team as her social media team, they are addresses some of the basic misogyny surrounding her campaign by offering a “woman card” and a pillow embroidered with “a woman’s place is in the White House.” There are small items like enamel pins and keychains, and even a gift card option when you just can’t pick between the variety of items for your favorite HRC supporter.

In closing, I truly cannot believe that the Trump team isn’t taking a page from the Clinton team (and really, from Obama’s teams) on having a variety of merch available that is well-designed and appeals to the widest possible group of people. I am not surprised, given the logo fiasco that has just taken place, but it seems so obvious that in 2016 you would offer this wide variety of items available.

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eShakti Review | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on July 11, 2016

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I’m writing this as a product review as well as a Brand Experience Project post, since eShakti makes each item as it is ordered, so it definitely qualifies. If you are not familiar, eShakti offers women’s clothing in sizes 0-36, but you can also have your item created to match your specific measurements and height. For the prices, this cannot be beat.

If you’d like more information on how it works, click here to see the breakdown. They even accept returns on custom items if they don’t work for you!

The website is straightforward and easy to use. I went to the dress category right away, and then clicked black as my color, because I am Jamie Sanford, and this is what I do.

Shockingly, the dress I was totally into was black AND white! Not too much of a stretch, but since I would normally just wear all black, this is a step.

I had heard that we might be chilly at the location of the wedding we were attending, so I decided to have sleeves ADDED to this dress, an option when you order from eShakti! This dress had 10 neckline options and 4 sleeve options. I kept the wide V neckline but added the longest sleeve option, to the elbow. I knew I didn’t want to carry a pashmina around to put around bare arms, and so the sleeves solved that issue.

Ordering and checkout were fine. I had William help with some measurements, but instead of entering custom sizes for myself, I looked at my measurements and chose the appropriate size from their size guide. I also entered my height during checkout.

It took a few weeks, but my item finally arrived!

The large box came via DHL. I was impressed at how large the box was, it made for really nice presentation, especially for a full-length dress.

Great messaging here about returns, and a thank you note featuring the names of the people who made my dress! I love this. I also will be sending an email to their email address that is specifically for messaging their garment makers. It’s a really lovely touch.

This is simple but I think particularly brilliant – a soft measuring tape for taking your measurements for the next time you order! Lovely.

Anyway, let’s get to the real question – how is the dress?

It was perfect! The fit was wonderful, and the length was seriously perfect. I don’t always feel the most comfortable in dresses but this was amazing. I actually received compliments while walking through the Toronto Harbourfront on our way to the wedding ferry, and it’s been years since I can remember a compliment from a stranger. (Nice ones, not creepy ones.) My Facebook was also aflurry with discussion of this dress, where I got it, and how much everyone liked it. I definitely picked a winner.

The only downside to this dress is that it took quite a while to iron it.

I cannot recommend enough that you try out eShakti.com. The entire experience was simple and lovely, and the message from the company (seriously, check out this whole page about their practices) makes me happy to shop with them.

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