Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just Poynt Me In the Right Direction

I'm continuing to try and do posts not just about the gadgets I love and/or have, but for anything that's popular. I'm sure plenty of assistants reading this and/or their bosses have a Blackberry. I recently read about a free app for the Blackberry called Mypoynt and if you have one you might want to check it out. The app helps you to find businesses and movies in your area by utilizing your GPS information. I viewed the video demo of the app on the Blackberry Storm and it seems useful and pretty easy to use. I will say that I have some apps like this for my iPhone and they seem to be a bit more visually dynamic, but most of the info you can find is similar. What the video below if you're curious and see if it might be right for you.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Here Come The Geeks

Thinking outside the box is often a crucial component to making your dreams come true. You have to be persistent, creative and willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. I laughed out loud when I read this article in the New York Times about a couple who is asking for things for their new Start-up company called Aboomba on their wedding registry instead of traditional gifts, but truly it was kind of a genius move and proves they might have what it takes to succeed. The unique idea also got them press, likely gifts from people they don't know and maybe interest from investors. If you want to see more about them, check out the video below.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Brittle Me This

If you read this blog at at all you know I go on and on about finding something new and surprising to send as a gift. When it comes to food gifts just about everyone does cupcakes, cookies, etc. I'm always looking for something new to send and I recently I read about a great brittle from Morning Glory Confections that comes in all sort of unique flavors (Cocoa Nib, Coffee Bean & Pecan, Chai Tea & Cashew and others). Someone I know tried it and said it was spectacular and then I read this review that also raved about it. I plan on ordering some to eat or send as a gift soon. You can buy it online or see what stores it is available in near you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Travel With A Side Of Maps

If you or your boss is going on a trip soon, you might want to check out these A La Carte maps that have a local touch. They include little notes and tips that only a insider in the area would know. Currently they only have six locations to choose from, but I imagine as they become more popular there will be more to pick from.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You'll Probably Say Yahoo If You Use Yahoo Calendar & Have An iPhone

It's quick tech tip Tuesday because I don't have much time to blog at lunch today. I made it pretty clear in this post that I'm a Google girl tried and true, but I try to make sure to share info about things I know will be helpful, even if they don't apply to me. If you use an online calendar I do wholeheartedly recommend you switch to Gcal, but if you're sticking to Yahoo calendar, you might be excited to know that if you have an iPhone -- the Yahoo calendar now has over the air sync.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Gifts For A Mini Foodie

If your boss wants you to help find a gift for his kid or you just need a gift for your niece or nephew, it can be hard to find something great when a child isn't into the same stuff most other kids are into. Impressing the kind of kid that comes out of the womb already pretty formed is a tough challenge. I was writing and telling stories when I was very little, Arlo Weiner, the son of Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner has already been featured in GQ magazine for his style and he isn't even 10 years old. These days many kids are very sophisticated about cooking and food at a young age and many parents who are foodies are cultivating highly developed mini palates instead of sacrificing the food they love for mac and cheese. One couple wrote a book about helping to broaden the eating horizons for the little ones called Gastrokid. You can even buy kitchen utensils that are specially built for kids, so that you can get them involved in cooking at an early age. Like all other people who are hard to buy for, all it takes is a bit of imagination to find a fun and exciting gift even for a picky kid.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Drunk Fudge With A Spiritual Twist

I don't have tons of time to blog today, but here's an interesting sweet treat that you or your boss can send to that person who has had gotten everything already and is kind of jaded -- Fudge with Bourbon in it made by the Trappist Monks at Gethsemani Farms. I have not tasted it, but the person who told me about it said it's very good and odds are you will really surprise the recipient.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New & Improved Google

As an assistant you can never have too many resources. I would imagine most of you use Google fairly often. If you haven't heard, Google has been testing it's next generation web search called Google Caffeine. I'm always up for trying to new things, so I tested it and it's unclear how big of an improvement it is thus far. It might be a tiny bit faster at times and the results might on occasion be a bit more refined or accurate, but there isn't a really discernible difference yet. I'm going to keep testing it for now and see what I think in about a week. You might also want to try using it and see what you think. If you want to read more about it, this article is relatively short and full of information.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another Great Way to Stay Informed

I always stress how important it is to stay informed about the business you're in and the world around you. You don't want to be the one person that says huh when your boss brings up something he/she read in the New York Times that morning or heard about on NPR on the way in to work. You're in luck because now NPR created it's very own iPhone app to help you out. You can read and listen to stories, listen to various shows streaming live and much more. Click here to read more about it or just go right to the itunes store and download it. You might just hear a story that will inspire you and then you will not only be informed but on your way to creating something new.

Success Doesn't Always Happen When You Expect

Most of the people reading this blog probably don't want to be an assistant forever (and if you do - that's great as well). It can be really tough at times to keep your spirits up and believe you will succeed at what you want to do, whether it's writing, acting or whatever creative pursuit you aspire to. The thing is you never know when or how you might break through and it doesn't happen for everyone at a young age. This weekend I saw Julie & Julia (which is AMAZING - Meryl Streep truly is the greatest actor alive) and it made me really reflect on the topic of success and when it happens. Julia Child succeeded professionally and personally later in her life. Julie Powell, the girl who started the Julie and Julia blog/cooking project that inspired the book the movie is based on, also didn't hit her writing stride and have success until she was about thirty. This issue really hits home with me because I didn't really give writing a shot until a few years ago. I also left the business for quite a few years to go up to the Silicon Valley and then ended up coming back, but I'm trying to still have a tiny bit of hope, so if you can, try to as well.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Drunken Dessert

I've written before that wine lovers are a hard group to buy for because they are passionate bunch and often they get themselves the things they want, as they just can't wait. I get super excited when I see a wine item that is semi under the radar that I can buy for a wine lover as a gift. I recently read about these wine cellar sorbets and them seem like a great item for someone who loves wine and dessert. It looks like currently you can't order online because they are changing that part of their site, but you can call them and place an order or find a local store that sells it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

LA Times Redo

I have to be honest and say I'm a New York Times kind of gal. I think it's a great paper and it's one of the few really well done newspaper websites out there. The LA Times on the other hand just isn't the paper it once was and the site has been AWFUL for years. The jury is still out on the content (it's getting better, but often still pales in comparison to the New York Times), but the recent website revamp is pretty great, so check out the entertainment section if the mood strikes you. It's always great to be reading a ton of resources to stay informed and you just might want to add the LA Times to your list if they keep up the good work.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Ways To Think About Success

I have written before about the Ted conference and all of the awesome videos they post during the year of people who speak on a variety of different topics (tech, creativity, etc.) at the event. I just recently watched this video by writer Alain De Botton about success and found it truly refreshing. It will make you think about success and what matters in a new way and I think it's really worth taking the time to watch. If you don't know about Ted and weren't reading the blog back then, check out my original post.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


These days there are enough apps for your iPhone or Blackberry to make your head spin. It's hard to know which ones are worth paying for and even with the free apps it's difficult to be sure if one is worth spending time installing on your device. Now you have some help. Revision3, the site that brings you cool shows about gadgets and technology like Diggnation and Tekzilla, have a new show called App Judgment that you can use to help you make decisions. Even if you are not a big geek like me, you will probably find it pretty useful.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another Great Alternative to Cupcakes

Just the other week I blogged about a place in LA that has gourmet churros and how they would be a unique change of pace if you are in the mood to give a food gift. Just today I remembered another alternative that seems to be getting more popular by the day - mini and regular bundt cakes from Kiss My Bundt. They have a zillion yummy flavors of bundt cake and they ship or you can pick up locally. It's an inexpensive and whimsical way to celebrate a birthday or send someone a sweet treat just because :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Save A Tree & Clear Your Mind

If you read this blog at all you know I'm pretty obsessed with organization and finding new ways to keep the paperwork and clutter of life that we all face in order somehow. It's impossible to be perfect at it and even as diligent as I am, I still have a pile of things to be filed right now and some items in my inbox. The best thing you can do is chip away at it, so that day to day you are living in a less chaotic and more streamlined environment. This guide from Lifehacker about going paperless is another way to reduce the amount of paper stuff around you and save the environment in the process. If you can implement even a few of the strategies and free your mind from the chaos that surrounds you, it just might help you make the time and gain the focus to create your masterpiece.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Study People Who Do What You Want To Do

I always say how it's important to not only develop your own style and habits, but to study people who are successful at what you want to do. On that note, watch this video interview from Making Of with John August (screenwriter of Go, Big Fish, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and writer/director of The Nines) to see him talk about his process. You never know what you might learn or how it will inspire you.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Importance Of Being Different

I did this post in June about how being creative with your business card is a good way to stand out and have people remember you. It's so key to find a way to be clever and not seem like everyone else when you are in a crowded field like entertainment that's so competitive. I recently saw this business card sample by a designer that I thought was truly genius. This work reflects that the designer can clearly think outside the box and for the right person it would be a great card to have.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Realizing You Are Meant To Do Something Else

Here's a hilarious clip of Judd Apatow from his Inside the Actors Studio episode last week. He has talked often about how failing -- well not failing, but realizing that he would never be as good a stand up comedian as the people he was coming up with (Sandler, Jim Carrey, etc.) and how it helped him to get on the right path. It took him not really getting what he wanted to help him find his way to being a writer/director and that's taken him pretty far. I left the entertainment business in 1999 for about 5 years or so and headed to the Silicon Valley during the first boom because tech and business had always been my two other passions. I had burnt out on the business and thought I would get on a new track to happiness. I did well and got promoted at a at a big media company, but I wasn't really that happy. I would go to see a movie and my heart would ache a bit to be back in LA and in the business. My promotion proved to be a mixed bag, as I had ended up in a much more vulnerable position and many rounds of layoffs later, I lost my job. I thought about staying up north, but eventually I found a job back in Los Angeles working for a director and came home. At that time, I finally really got my nerve back to give writing a shot. I still haven't quite succeeded yet, but I'm making some progress and working as an assistant to pay the bills. I'm hoping that I ended up not staying in the Silicon Valley because this is where I'm meant to be and that I will eventually succeed. Who knows, but I still have a tiny bit of hope. Keep this all in mind when you get thrown off your path a bit because you might end up right where you belong.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sugar Rush

I seem to be on a food gift related run, so I'm keeping it going. Today I need to send a gift to a friend that loves candy and I have two favorite websites I use for gifts like that. Plenty of stores and websites do candy gifts, but these two have a real sense of fun and whimsy, so check them out and see what you think:

This site has a great selection of hard to find grocery items and nostalgic candy. I often send this item from them.

I also love Dylan's Candy Bar (which has physical stores as well). This Sweet Tooth gift that is packaged in a giant plastic tooth always makes people laugh and they get so excited about all the candy inside.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ummm, Yum - I think??

Over the last few days I have read about a couple of interesting food ideas that would make a unique gift for the right foodie with slightly eccentric taste. The jury is still out on whether they sound good to me, but I'm a fussy eater. Check them out yourself and see what you think:

Ben & Bill's Lobster Ice Cream - I think you obviously have to like more savory things to appreciate this, but it certainly is unique and it's really popular, so I bet it's pretty good.

Food Should Taste Good makes lots of interesting chips, but the chocolate ones sound kind of yummy to me.

Vosges Chocolate has a big hit on their hands with their chocolate bacon bar that I've mentioned before, but now they are selling a bacon chocolate pancake mix that honors the origins of how the bar was created.