Archive for 2011

Offline Entertainment

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

I always have had a passion for reading.  As a child, there was a neverending list of books that I wanted to read and a stack of books on my bedside table.  As an adult, the demands of work, home, and family tend to take most of the hours in my day.  However, there is nothing quite like the satisfaction of reading a great book, so I try to make etch a small amount of time for reading into my schedule on a daily basis.

This past weekend, I had more time than usual.  (Thank goodness for a quiet weekend of work and the two-week lull between high school sports!)  In anticipation of this time, I decided to take a trip to my local library.  While there I chose one book that was a guilty pleasure, quick-read sort of book.  For the second, I turned to my to-be-read list that I keep in a journal on my desk.

This journal is filled with an assortment of book titles.  Some of them are classics that I want to reread.  Others are books that I find while browsing in a bookstore.  Others are reviews that I have read on ‘Bout Books.

After devouring my quick read on Saturday, I started a book that I had been meaning to read for a while, The Water Is Wide.  Although the review of the author was published in February of this year, having added several of his books to my to-be-read list made the search for good reading easier.  Of course, there are many other books that have piqued my interest.  Some of them include 1 Dead in Attic and Eden Springs.

If you’re seeking something new to add to your reading repertoire, give ‘Bout Books a try.  With many reviews covering books from a variety of genres, you’re sure to find something pleasing.

Feels Like Fall

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

As I mentioned in last week’s column, we had a snowstorm the last weekend in October in New Hampshire.  Although this snowstorm gave an early taste of winter, it is decidedly still fall in the northeast.  Our daytime temperatures are back to the 50s, and as the snow melts, the leaf-covered lawns remind us that it is only the start of November.

In addition to the typical raking, depending on your yard, there are an assortment of tasks that need to be done.  I spent part of last weekend pulling plants out of the garden, trimming flowering shrubs, and moving potted herbs indoors.  Living in New England, our outdoor gardening and landscaping season is nearing its end.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that gardening itself has to be on hiatus until spring.  There are several options for indoor gardening.

Our gardening and landscaping publication, Little Bit of Green, has done a fabulous job of providing tips for both fall clean-ups and indoor gardening opportunities.  It also is a great source of information for seasonal fruits and vegetables.  Whether you live in the chilly north where your green thumb has moved indoors or you live in a more temperate climate, Little Bit of Green has interesting articles to keep your garden going.

As for me, I think it is time to work on our indoor herb garden.  I need a little green after all of the white we saw last week!

Help for the Holiday Season

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

As I look out the window of the East Coast office of WMG, I can’t help but think that it looks a lot like the holiday season.  Located in New Hampshire, we were the recipient of eight inches of snow. . .and four days without power.  However, while it looks more like a snowy New Year’s Eve outside, a little weather math will show that actually we’re still celebrating Halloween here:

8 inches of snow + no power = Halloween postponed until November 6th

Trick or treating aside, it is the time of year that we begin to think about the holidays.  I know that in my house, my husband and I have begun discussing the menu for Thanksgiving and have asked our children if they have any ideas on their Christmas lists.  While we aren’t early shoppers, we have started to think about the presents we’ll need to buy and ship to farther away relatives and what sort of cards we want to send.

I have met many people who love the holiday season but become overwhelmed by the planning, shopping, cooking, etc. that are involved.  While I haven’t found a way to have Wasabi Media Group complete those tasks for others (or myself for that matter), it is a great source for holiday inspiration.

In particular, our beverage publication, Parched No More, is a great source of information for seasonal spirits.  We recently added a new feature, Ask the Bartender.  In this column, our staff bartender answers all of your cocktail making questions.  If you can’t find the answer you seek, submit your own query!

We also have a collection of beer and wine reviews available.  Let our reviewers help you determine which beers to buy by the case and which should simply be used as dishwashing liquid.  For wines, we have two distinct approaches to reviews.  First, we have Budget-Friendly Wine Reviews, which will help you find excellent wines that cost fifteen dollars or less.  Second, we have Classic Wine Reviews, which will help you find wines worthy of drinking on a daily to yearly basis.

Being a beverage publication, we also can assist with other drink planning.  Whether you are seeking a spirit to give as a gift or a cocktail recipe to serve at your holiday celebration, you can find those at Parched No More.

As the pace of the holiday season increases, don’t worry about how to find the right beverage for the adults at your party.  Just let Parched No More be your guide.

Bargains & Budgets

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

With three teens and a tween, there is a good amount of focus on shopping and spending in our house.  I am pleased that all of them understand the value of saving and budgeting.  When shopping for school clothes, they know that not only are we looking for items that are attractive and fit well but also items that are fairly priced.  They also have learned that better prices equal more items bought.

With our economy in the shape that it is, there are many more families that have tighter budgets.  It is no longer a “buy what you want, charge it, and pay for it later” mentality.  However, when you are raising a family, you can’t just skip on shopping.  Kids grow or wear out their clothes, and items need to replaced.  For the adults, even though you may not have a growth spurt or wear a hole in your pants during recess, you also need to replenish your wardrobe from time to time.

Our shopping site, Go Shopping Info, has been refocused to help with these purchases.  We’ve redirected our vision from shopping for the fun of it to shopping with saving in mind.  Of course, that still can be fun; we simply have added the benefit of making it budget-friendly shopping.  Additionally, Go Shopping Info now publishes our Shopping Secrets column on a weekly basis. There’s no need to wait for biweekly hints on how to make better use of your family’s budget, it’s available every Wednesday.

Before you take your next trip to the mall, give Go Shopping Info a peek to find some money-saving suggestions.

Catching Your Eye

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Driving to a meeting, I glanced at a business on the side of the road.  It had been there for years, which I knew, but today something about it caught my attention.  As I continued driving, I realized that they had added a new business sign.  While the new sign was not illuminated or huge, nor was the previous sign unattractive, it simply was the new look that grabbed my attention.

The addition of something new almost always attracts our attention.  Whether it be the new car that your co-worker is driving or the new sweater that your best friend is wearing, you are likely to notice the new item.  Although many find comfort in routine, there is something exciting about newness.

At Wasabi Media Group we embrace creative change.  With twenty-four properties in addition to our corporate site, we constantly are brainstorming new features to be added and designs to be implemented.  To keep our publications timely, we need to do more than publish articles on a regular basis.

So, what have we done lately?

  • Added Ask the Bartender– Located at Parched No More, this feature allows our readers to submit their cocktail queries for our bartender.
  • Refocused on holidays- While Holidays Helper always has focused on holiday preparations, articles now will be more timely, providing hints and tips for upcoming celebrations.
  • Redesigned our corporate site- All of our publications receive an annual redesign, so it seemed time for WMG to receive one also.

As with any changes or additions, we love feedback.  By feedback, I don’t mean praise.  We want to know what you like AND what you don’t.  Feel free to leave a note in the comments, or send an email directly to me.

Expand Your Mind

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Instead of starting my work day at my laptop yesterday, I attended the CEO Breakfast at St. Anselm College, my alma mater.  Like most business functions, we had time to mingle before heading to the breakfast.  I used this time to meet a handful of people, all with different careers and interests.  I learned about new architectural projects, city planning, graduation requirements, and more.  In this mere half hour I gained a library of facts that were quite interesting.

From there I headed to breakfast and specifically chose a table with a new group of people.  With more time to converse, why not meet more people and continue gaining knowledge?  After speaking with my dining partners, the morning’s program began.  The keynote speaker was Robert Brown, President of the Money Market Group at Fidelity Investments.  While we finished our breakfast, he discussed the current state of the economy in the US and abroad.

I have to confess; while I understand the economy and finances, neither is a favorite topic of mine.  However, sitting in the dining hall, I felt inspired to absorb as much information as possible.  Sure, it would have been easy to work on my BlackBerry or nod appropriately while not listening, but what a waste of time those choices would be.  Instead, I listened intently and again learned a few new facts.

Driving from breakfast to the office, I was glad that I made the most of this breakfast.  Not only did it serve as a fabulous way to network with local businesspeople, it also provided the opportunity to expand my mind.  If you are seeking a way to expand your mind, listen attentively when speaking with others, choose a talk radio station in your car, or find an article at WMG.  Here are three recently published options:

  • Have you been to a ryokan? If not, you should learn about this interesting type of lodging.
  • How can you maximize your garden when you only have a 4’x4′ plot?
  • Did you know that dogs, like humans, have different blood types?

 

Inspire. Inform. Engage.