A Street Corner of Stories

I am sitting at a wine bar facing the corner of 4th and University St. in Seattle. I brought a book, but in the moments I take a break to sip my wine and watch the people walk by, I wonder what their stories are. So many individual strings and lives occupying the same busy street corner even for just a few seconds…it gives me a funny feeling to acknowledge there are so many lives just outside the window.

Purple Cafe and Wine Bar

I wonder, too, if anyone has ever watched me walk by, if they made up stories for me, and what those stories are. What are the lives that I may have lived in someone elses imagination?


Productivity Practice for Long Commutes and Idle Minds

While fighting the honking, swerving crawl of Manila traffic, I realized that what bothered me most about having to sit in the parking lots we call highways wasn’t the actual traffic (as awful as it is), but the idea of wasted time.

In the two hours I sit in my car taking what should be a 20 minute commute, I could have written an article, read a book, played a game, watched a movie, or spent time with friends and family. Multiply that two hours by the number of days I go in to work (3x/week) for for six months (the length of my contract), and I would have lost approximately 180 hours of productivity. That’s about a week of working straight, without eating or sleeping. Imagine the things I could have done and the places I could have seen.

The solution? Learn on the road. Here are a few ideas.

  • Listen to audiobooks, such as World War Z or A Fault in Our Stars (although bring tissues for that one)
  • Listen to TED talks, which are inspiring talks given by some of the greatest minds of our era
  • Learn a language (less fun than listening to World War Z, but probably more useful in the long term)
  • Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and catch up (using a hands-free device, of course)

Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments section!

Obssessed with how well my boss writes

I’ve decided to just admit to my #RabidFan moments–and how weird they are. Most people obsess over sexy actors or their favorite characters in a TV show, but my fangirl moments happen when I have the honor of witnessing magnificent writing.

If there is one truth I’ve learned in the last year working for 237 Marketing + Web, it’s that Krista is an awesome-beyond-belief writer. The other day, she sent edits on something I wrote and I actually went “squee!” because she is just SO good at writing.

My mom has witnessed a few of my admiration outbursts and finally asked to read whatever I got so excited about. When I showed her a sample of my writing vs. Krista’s edits, and she said my writing was boring in comparison. This was followed by a minor panic attack on my part, because she’s right!

My professional writing style is factual, to-the-point and boring. My informal writing style, on the other hand, is spastic, filled with panic-attacks and raNdoM caPITALIZatiOn every now and then when I just HAVE to emphasize how AMAZING someone’s writing is and run on sentences when I’m freaking out and my brain is thinking too fast for punctuation.

So I’ll be working on improving my writing and studying Krista’s writing style to try and emulate it. I’d like to be able to easily switch from an effective, active writing voice that is business-professional, to an appropriate but casual tone.

I am constantly inspired to develop my writing ability thanks to her examples of (seemingly effortless) incredible storytelling. She’s a lead-by-example expert writer whom I look forward to learning even more from.

The writing project my mom read was a portfolio piece write-up for a website we recently launched. My version is below, followed by Krista’s edits.

The Kitchen at Middleground Farms – Recreational Cooking Classes


The Kitchen at Middleground Farms offers recreational cooking classes that emphasize traditional cooking methods. Chef Jessica Hansen skillfully guides classes in the basics of cheesemaking, food preservation, baking and more. Find your confidence in The Kitchen after learning the science behind food and how to use local, seasonal ingredients.

Their website reflects this local culinary approach with banners across each webpage that showcase fresh ingredients, and a homepage slideshow that broadcasts Oregon bounty. The background image of barn wood subtly highlights the farm setting of The Kitchen, and the casual handwritten-like font emphasizes the fun, casual class atmosphere.

Interested site visitors can register and pay for classes online through The Kitchen at Middleground Farms website, and can add comments if they have any concerns (ie. food allergies). In addition to a list of classes and class information, the site has a chef bio page, blog, newsletter registration, contact forms, and an embedded Google map.

View Chef Jessica’s list of classes here to get started on a culinary learning adventure like none other.

Krista’s edits.

The Kitchen at Middleground Farms offers recreational cooking classes that emphasize traditional cooking methods. Students are taught the basics of cheesemaking, food preservation, baking and more from Chef Jessica Hansen, The Kitchen’s founder. Chef Jessica will teach you the science of food AND how to use local, seasonal ingredients in a supportive class setting.

Class registration is a key function of Middleground Farms’ website. Interested site visitors can sign up and pay for classes from numerous locations throughout the site. The site also features a bio page, blog, newsletter registration, contact forms, and an embedded Google map.

In addition to the site function, we love this site’s design. Page banners showcasing fresh ingredients are used to communicate Jessica’s local culinary approach plus Oregon bounty. The background image of barn wood subtly highlights the farm setting of The Kitchen, and the casual handwritten-like font emphasizes the fun, casual class atmosphere.

Curious about cooking? View Chef Jessica’s list of classes here to get started on a culinary learning adventure like none other!


#RabidFan ramble over. Thanks for tuning in!

10 Companies Revisited

Writing has been pretty hard lately. I seem to be repeating everything I’ve already said whenever I try to create new content. As a writer, I don’t have the luxury of looking at my craft and going “I’ve gotten good enough.” The rule of 1% is to aim for a 1% improvement everyday. I’m a little behind.

A career isn’t as convenient as school, where you have semesters or trimesters that wrap up neatly in a box of notebooks and folders you put away when class is over. I don’t know how to work this way! I like being able to pack away a syllabus and start learning from scratch again. I always liked handing in a project and calling it done.

I’m taking a small step past that open-close mentality by listing 10 great companies that I’ve had a personal experience with, and a possible money-making idea for them. Without further ado, here’s a blast from my past (and present, for some of them).

Couture House, by Christine Go

Target Audience: Newly engaged couples, teenagers about to have debuts, and upper-middle class families who may need gowns and tuxedos made.

Idea: Place an ad targeted at high school students in the school papers of international schools in Manila. The ad should feature tuxedo and dress types and prices, with contact information.

McMinnville Economic Development Partnership

Target Audience: Small businesses in McMinnville who are looking for business management guidance, and potential business owners.

Idea: Implement a blog compilation of consultations with clients, questions and answers, and seminars. The blog should be categorized by department (marketing, human resources, business development, investment ideas), so it can be used as a resource for small businesses.

Travel Yamhill Valley

Target Audience: Businesses in the Yamhill Valley; wineries, restaurants, lodging and services.

Idea: Host influential bloggers and writers, and partner with members to offer a Yamhill Valley experience to write home about.

Profiles Asia Pacific

Target Audience: Human resource managers and executives involved in hiring and company development.

Idea: Offer in-house training seminars to current clients based on what they feel is their workforce’s biggest challenge. Ex. teamwork, leadership, creativity, efficiency, motivation.

Tajimaya Yakiniku Restaurant

Target Audience: The “foodies” of Manila.

Idea: Sponsor a charity event wherein food is served, and bring 5 to 10 percent off vouchers.

Yamhill Action Community Partnership

Target Audience: Potential donors, volunteers, and individuals who may need assistance living self-sufficiently.

Idea: Hold a drawing at the next YCAP auction or event with business cards as entry tickets to capture information.

237 Marketing + Web

Target Audience: Small business owners who take their company marketing into their own hands and may need a little help and guidance navigating the waters.

Idea: Hold free quarterly educational webinars for WebCare clients and former marketing/website clients. Participants can send in questions they’d like answered beforehand or at the end of the webinar.

Eyrie Vineyards

Target Audience: Upper-middle class wine lovers nationwide, and distributors.

Idea: Partner with a travel agency to offer a foodie tour of all the restaurants and establishments where Eyrie wine is served in the Pacific Northwest. OR host a book and wine pairing event. Partner with Third Street Books or Powell’s and hold an event wherein people try wine and read book excerpts. Entrance fee covers the cost of their favorite bottle and book.

Fast Company Magazine

*I haven’t worked with Fast Co. personally, but I enjoy their content and have followed their stories for a while now.

Target Audience: Highly educated media consumers and innovative creatives, who may work in a marketing or design company or freelance for the arts. Writers, young professionals, and social media influencers.

Idea: Publish a book of their features from past magazine issues. They have amazing content online.

Velvet Monkey Tea

*I haven’t worked with this company either, so I don’t understand their strategy from an insider’s perspective. But while I lived in McMinnville, I spent afternoons reading, working, and enjoying tea here.

Target Audience: Tea enthusiasts.

Idea: Host a mix-your-own-tea workshop wherein participants can experiment and create their own custom blends. Include a list of special health benefits beside all teas, so participants can also customize based on what ails them.

The Value of Journaling

We are creatures of never-ending change. Our lives are a flow of experiences, people and growth. A journal chronicles your journey through adventures, struggles, and happiness.

You will be a completely different human in a few years, both mentally and physically. Your thought processes will be different and your experiences will have molded you in unexpected and wonderful ways. You will be stronger, smarter, probably more stressed, and different.

Keeping a journal reminds you of where you came from. It’s a homage to the people who no longer have a place in your life. It’s a reminder of the places and periods you’ve left behind.

A journal remembers who you were, sees who you are, and helps you mold who you want to be.

If that isn’t enough reason, then 10 years down the road when you make a stupid mistake, just look back on your old journals and you will be unspeakably grateful for the mistakes you’ve made and grown from.

Are you pitching to travel writers soon?

Travel Yamhill Valley has published a great article, which quotes Travel Writer Jennifer Nice about Travel Writers: What they are looking for and how to provide it.

Here are some of the tips she provided…

  • Know your target market explicitly. Is it couples? Families? The budget traveler? The wine aficionado? Foodies? Your marketing message must resonate with your prospective customers.
  • Communicate consistently with your return customers to cultivate a relationship. They will return, and they’ll talk about your business. You can do this through enewsletters and social media. And keep your website updated with fresh content so people have a reason to visit it again and again.
  • Figure out your niche. (your unique selling proposition -USP) and market it. Travel writers are drawn to new and/or unique destinations. They like to “discover” niches. What makes you different and/or better than your competition?
  • Convey a sense of place (“paint a picture”) in your online and print marketing materials. Show, don’t tell. If this is too challenging, hire a qualified copywriter to do it for you.
  • Submit a press release to local publications whenever you have a news-worthy event to promote. Sometimes these get picked up by major newspapers and magazines.
  • Give travel writers a discount or comp if they ask. By all means, request to see their credentials and/or published clips to make sure they’re legitimate. And once the story is published, send a thank you note. They may pitch another story about your business in the future!”

Jennifer Nice

The meaning of want

A poem

The days in which I exist
I do so vehemently,
I need the days I’m lucid to create the life I want to live.

The days in which I exist
I strive to stay awake,
I need all the time I can get to be the person I want to be.

The days in which I exist
Exist as interludes of days I fall to my vices,
I need to wake myself up from continuously.

Today I am alive
Enough to write down what I need to remember,
And pray I won’t fall again.

Today I am alive
Enough to do something,
Enough to be someone,
And make it count.


In our
We have kings.
Companies depend on them
Kingdoms fall and are swallowed by
The kings rule.

In our
We have queens.
Kings depend on them
Worlds at different ends of the earth open to
The queens reign.

In our
We have princes and princesses
The elite sons and daughters of the elite few
Those destined to inherit empires
They are made of war and riches.

There are pawns.
Pawns are eaten.


You took my best friends away,
In the midst of that fog
That hovers
That wraps around you
And hides you
And lies to you.

You took my best friends away,
Like the ghost,
That you should be.

Did you see them coming when you were driving too fast?
Did you see their headlights shining grey before you hit?
Did you hear them scream
As the metal grated into their bones?


I didn’t hear the doorbell when it had just happened and people dressed in black and white were coming to tell me.

I was showering. I used my favorite soap and shampoo, and scrubbed extra hard. I used the best lotion I had, and wore one of the outfits I had on reserve for special occasions.

I was so excited to see you that night, after so long.

You were coming home.

I couldn’t wait to hear all the stories that you promised you would have by the time you got back, of exotic lands, the people, and your brand new fighter jet.

I was so excited. So excited for that night.

What took you so long anyways? You were supposed to be done months ago. You could have helped me pick out the furniture for our new house-which I know you’d have loved doing.

But that’s okay. I had fun decorating all by myself. You’ll just get to be surprised.

I was so excited to show you.

I had dinner ready on the table for when you would get back. I broke out the candles we bought on our honeymoon, and they made the room smell like the sea. I got out that bottle of wine that you hate and I love. Do you remember when you choked on it? I told you I was pregnant, just to see what you would do. Best joke I ever played. But it was for real now.

I was excited to see how you’d react this time.

I played some music for you. The kind I hate but you like. Then the phone rang and I had to turn it down.
I wish I had just let the music play.

I wish I had let myself be excited for a few songs more, before I found out you weren’t coming home.