Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What's in a name?

I was watching SportsCenter the other day and they mentioned a game that happened at PETCO Park in San Diego. It's kinda depressing sometimes when sports arenas and concert venues have to change to the names of their corporate sponsors. Most visiting teams aren't going to be too intimidated by a name like Qualcomm Stadium.

Here in the New York area, we're still getting used to the transition from Shea Stadium to Citi Field. But we know it could be worse, and at least it doesn't sound too corporate. And on the west coast I'm sure it's similar. It sounds cooler to say that you're going to the Hollywood Bowl or got Great Western Forum tickets than it does to say that you're off to AT&T Park. (And if you do happen to be in the market for some Hollywood Bowl tickets and want to test this theory, Jack Johnson's going to be there next month. Love him.)

For football fans, the mention of, say, Lambeau Field conjures up images and memories of epic clashes on frozen tundra and other NFL Films voiceover phrases like that. (Although, not being a Packers fan myself, I'm curious about whether those Lambeau Field tickets are still selling like they did when Brett Favre was there.) It's not quite the same feeling when your stadium has a name like Sun Life Stadium or FedEx Field.

I guess I'm spoiled as a New York sports fan, because here we still have Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, and the Meadowlands. No offense to any of the teams that play at Corporate Park, but I hope our venues keep their names for a long time.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Music Monday: Taylor Swift's "Mine"

I have to confess that I love Taylor Swift. I know that not everyone's a fan, but I think she's adorable and talented. (I also love the way she handled breaking up with one of the Jonas Brothers.) Her new video for the song "Mine" is really sweet:

My Stately Manor

Confession time: I watched One Life to Live today. I have SoapNet and sometimes I'm not afraid to use it. I always have to laugh at how every soap has its own set of super powerful families with decades long roots in some small town and huge mansions and "family businesses" that are actually huge corporations that just happen to be set in said little town. On OLTL the big mansions even have names - Llanfair and La Boulet. (Admittedly the La Boulet naming was mostly played for laughs.)

If I ever own a stately manor, it'll have a name like GardenLakeGlenCrest Estates and I'll get a fancy address sign like this:

Nice, right? Or maybe I'll go for the wall-mounted address plaque style instead. Something like this:

I'll probably just get both. Can't be too careful. And of course I'll need one of these, because everyone needs to know how exclusive my fancy estate is:

Or I could go poetic and make people think that I'm some sort of mysterious reclusive writer or artist or something:

Of course, if you're rich enough to afford your own stately manor, you have to switch out your address plaques for all of the major holidays.
Wait, I found it! The perfect plaque for my manor house. It's beautiful. It's unique. It's sophisticated. It's classy.

What do you think? Perfect, isn't it?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fun with Scholarships

So my little cousin is going to be a senior in high school this year, which means she's started her college search. (It also means that I'm probably going to have to stop calling her my "little" cousin.) She's the youngest in her family which means that her parents have already sent a couple of kids to college, so financial aid is an issue. She's started doing some research on college scholarships because she knows how helpful those will be for her and her family. Luckily, she's a really good student, which makes it easier.

I've been helping her out a little bit with the search. I used to love doing scholarship research when I was in high school. (Yeah, I'm a huge dork.) It's great when you find sites where you can do searches for free. It's still amazing to me just how much different stuff is out there, from minority scholarships for various groups to essay contests to scholarships contests from Fortune 500 companies to college grants from different foundations and nonprofit organizations. She and I have also found some cool scholarship opportunities specifically for young women.

And then of course there are all of those college scholarships for athletics, which I certainly never qualified for. My cousin tells me that there's going to be a new show on the CW this fall where the premise involves a girl who becomes a cheerleader because she loses her scholarship and needs to find a new one quickly. I wouldn't know anything about a show like that because I'm way too old to watch the CW. (Ahem.) I don't think my cousin is going to end up a cheerleader, but at least the scholarship part of that is something that a lot of young people can relate to.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Casino Practice

I mentioned last week that we're heading to Las Vegas for the first time later this year. None of us are really experienced gamblers, but we can't go to Vegas and not spend some time in the casinos, right? So we were thinking of trying our hand at a little online gambling before we go. I know, I know. Not something you want to just jump into without really knowing what you're doing. So, we found this cool site called casinoscandinavia - it's a site that has ratings, reviews, and other info about a lot of the different online gaming sites that are out there. There are also some posts about news stories and other issues related to the industry. It's a good way to us to sort of get our feet wet, learn a little, and maybe improve our sad gambling skills (in a responsible way, of course) before we head to Vegas.

*Casino research brought to you by casinoscandinavia.

Foodie Friday: Wondering what to make for dinner?

We've all been there. Sitting around in the afternoon, wondering what we should make for dinner that night. For the best answer EVER to that question, click here.

No, really, go ahead and click. You won't regret it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Credit Scores Are Sexy

I mentioned that other day that I was looking into online trading and some other stuff to help me be more in charge of my finances. I'm also going to do something that I've been procrastinating on for a long time - get a copy of my credit report and make sure that it's all in order. I'm usually pretty good about the actual bill paying and staying out of debt, it's just the "housekeeping" stuff that I tend to put off. (My currently unbalanced checkbook will back me up on this.)

Of course, I don't actually want to pay for a credit report, because that wouldn't be very financially savvy of me. So I went looking for a site where you can get all three of your credit scores for free.

The one that I found has some interesting ads. One features Ben Stein and a talking squirrel...

...and the other involves hot guys in tight jumpsuits...

...so how can you go wrong?

Also, I just noticed that one of the sexy credit scores in this commercial is Greg Vaughan, who used to be on General Hospital. I know that Lucky Spencer would never lead me astray about my finances. My credit score feels healthier already.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's Slumber Party Time!

So the time has come... the time I've dreaded for so many years... it's slumber party time.

Yes, my daughter is finally old enough - and has begged enough times - for her first real slumber party. Since summer is almost over, I decided to let her go out with one last big hooorah... an end-of-summer sleepover to end all sleepovers.

Of course, my last sleepover was probably a good 20 years ago and I didn't exactly plan that one myself... so I'm a little worried about what I'm getting myself into. Luckily for me, as a super-awesome blogger (ahem) I've got the Internet to help me out (thank you very much Local.com).

Unfortunately, my house is not readily equipped for 6-10 girls as overnight guests. So I'm going to have to pick up some extra pillows, blankets and the piece de resistance: comfortable air mattresses. (If there's one thing I do remember from sleepovers back in the day, it's that sleeping on a hard floor is never comfortable - no matter how nice your sleeping bag is.)

According to my daughter, the most important thing is the food. We can't get by with just standard snacks. We need candy. Not just any old candy... we need special candy.

We need pizza. Not just any old pizza... we need the best pizza in New York. We need lots of chips, popcorn for watching DVDs, and no slumber party would be completely without making 'Smores. (But the standard chocolate and marshmallows won't do. It's got to be Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread. Hell, I don't blame her, that stuff is good.)

Any good sleepover also means manicures and pedicures... makeovers and facials... and a good old fashioned game of "True or Dare". But did I mention this is an end-of-summer sleepover? That means beach towels and sunglasses. That means Hawaiian leis, grass skirts, and coconut bras. Time for a visit to a few costume shops.

I need some kind of girly craft project (any ideas?) and no slumber party would be complete without a few scary stories to tell after dark. (Not too scary, I don't want to be up all night with scared tweens!)

Wish me luck!! I'm gonna need it.
*Thank you to Local.com for saving my slumber party throwing ass. (Local.com is a local search engine. More than just an online yellowpages, Local.com is a hybrid of the following sites - Citysearch.com, Yelp.com, Yellowpages.com, Superages.com).

Wordless Wednesday: Sunset on the Gulf

1cayocostasunset0400 - Sunset on the Gulf of Mexico - Cayo Costa State Park, Florida.

Safe Gardening

I really like gardening. And by that, I mean that I really like the idea of gardening. In practice I find it a little intimidating. It's not like I totally suck at it - I can keep houseplants alive (most of the time), and I've done the whole herb garden on the windowsill thing. I've just never done a full-scale "real" garden, and I'd like to be able to someday. But I know that if I launch right into that now, it'll be a mess.

So I'm investing in some outdoor planters as a sort of stepping stone. It's a step up from house plants, and it lets me experiment with soil and fertilizer and sun and outdoor conditions and all of that fun stuff, but it's still sort of contained and not overwhelming. I'm also going to upgrade the windowsill herb garden to a window box planter herb garden. Maybe I'll even go totally wild and try a tomato plant or something.

And even if some of the plants don't exactly survive my expert gardening skills, at least the decorative planters will still look nice.

Of course, knowing me I'm going to procrastinate and end up with an empty planter sitting inside my house mocking me for months before I ever get around to planting anything. It's all about the baby steps.

GA Academy

We were having one of our bad TV marathons the other day, and doing some fantasy office decorating (one of our favorite hobbies) at the same time. One of us came up with the brilliant idea that instead of boring coat racks or hooks or shelves, we should have lockers. You know, like we're Team GA or the GA Academy or something.

This led us to a few conclusions:

1. We're huge dorks.

2. We watch way too many shows that are set in high school.

3. We should still totally do this because it's an awesome idea.

Then we started wondering if there are even any places that have lockers for sale to the general office-decorating public, and of course we found a website that does. (Shopping online is a beautiful thing.) After a little bit of browsing, we've decided that we like the stadium style lockers the best. I certainly don't remember my own gym locker with much fondness, but these are much cooler and they come in a bunch of fun colors.

Not only would these look cool and hold all of our stuff, but they'll really help to provide atmosphere for all of our cheesy teen TV and movie watching. (And for sports watching too - we do enjoy watching stuff that's not on the CW sometimes.) These are officially on our fantasy office shopping list.

Monday, August 23, 2010

We're going to Vegas!

We're headed to Las Vegas for the first time later this year, and we're really excited. We're totally prepared for the trip...except for the fact that we've procrastinated and don't have any of our travel arrangements finalized. Oops. So we're starting with the basics right now, looking for discount airfare and cheap hotels. The flight should be easy enough - well, finding the flight should be easy enough, and the actual flying part will be the delightful hassle that it always is these days.

When it comes to the hotel we're a little bit more undecided, just because there are so many cool hotels in Vegas, and all of our friends who have been there have different opinions about which ones are the best. If anyone wants to leave their thoughts on where we should stay in the comments to confuse help us further, we'd appreciate the feedback.

We've also been doing some Vegas research, and we've been laughing at the descriptions on some of the travel sites. Fodor's totally went for the stereotypes:

Sure, you've heard that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas—and you'll surely help put the "sin" in Sin City. But when you're ready to jump off the bar and curb your gambling habit, plenty of fun awaits you: luxurious spas, quirky museums, lavish pools, and gut-busting buffets.
But Lonely Planet's summary might be our favorite:
Legendary city of 24/7 hedonism, two-fisted debauchery and bacchanalian revelry...Vegas is the ultimate escape. Time is irrelevant here, especially after a few frenzied and intoxicating sleepless nights on the Strip. There are no clocks inside casinos, just never-ending buffets, ever-flowing drinks and adrenaline-fueled gaming tables. Almost any desire can be gratified instantly, since the USA’s fastest-growing metropolis and its luxe megaresorts stand ready to cater to your every whim 24/7. Emptying your wallet never felt so damn good.
Okay, so basically what they're saying is that we're going to need the cheap tickets to get there because we'll be broke after all of that debauchery and revelry. We've pretty much decided that as long as we can stay on the drinking, gambling, and buffet side of the debauchery line and not cross into 'accidentally married a stranger' territory, we'll consider it a successful trip.

Anyone have any other Vegas tips for us?

Financial Fun

I had a friend in high school who had an account with one of those online stock trading sites. When he first showed it to me I remember thinking that he was crazy to be messing with the stock market at our age. At the same time I thought it was cool and totally wanted to do it too.

I didn't get involved with online trading back then, which was probably the right call because I don't think I was financially savvy enough to do a good job with it at the time. I'm definitely not one of those girls who gets into tons of credit card by spending too much time at the mall and thinks IRA Accounts have something to do with Ireland, but I'm also not someone who took tons of econ classes in school and watches CNBC for fun.

I've decided that now's a good time to learn, so I'm looking into the online broker thing. Yeah, I know, the timing might seem a little weird because the economy sucks, but I think I'll be fine if I do my research and take things slow. The site that I'm looking at now has experienced brokers available that you can call for advice, and they also have mobile trading, which is both convenient and great for creating that "I'm a high powered mover and shaker" sort of vibe. Overall I think that learning more with online trading will help me take charge of my financial future. And if I can break some stereotypes about women and finances that would be the icing on the cake.

Fantasy Office Decorating: Tiles

We met someone the other day who was asking us about what we do, and one of the things she asked was where our office is located. (Doesn't she know that all bloggers are legally required to work out of their parents' basements?) So you know what that means...another round of fantasy office decorating!

This time we were talking about cool things that we've seen in the offices that we've all worked in over the years. I used to work in a building that was big on tiles - really pretty subway tiles and a tiled fountain in the lobby, and cool mosaics in all of the elevators. People always commented on it when they visited for the first time. So I had to add tiles to the fantasy list. (It's a long list at this point. Our fantasy office is totally going to be in Architectural Digest.)

Obviously, bathroom tiles are a no brainer. We'd probably go with something like this:

But there's a lot of cool stuff out there (glass, marble, stone, etc.) so we could really go crazy in other rooms if we wanted to. Yes, our fantasy office has "other rooms". (It helps to find a site that's affordable and lets you order lots of samples.)

Knowing us, we'll never be able to choose just one. Guess it's a good thing that tiles are easy to clean.

Music Monday: Christina Aguilera's "You Lost Me"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Somebody Buy Me A Bobi

I gave a friend of mine a ride home the other day, and someone on her street had the coolest mailbox ever. Okay, maybe not the coolest ever, I'm sure there are some cooler mailboxes in igloos or historical examples involving the Pony Express or something, but as contemporary mailboxes go it was pretty darn cool. Check it out (this isn't the actual one that I saw but it's the same style):

Cute, right? I think it looks like a little robot. I half expect it to walk inside on its own and tell me what I got in the mail that day, or shoot little laser beams at any unauthorized person who tries to get in. ...yeah, okay, so I might have issues. But it does look like a robot.

Apparently they're called Bobi mailboxes, and they're made in a little town in Finland by a company that was founded by two brothers. Leave it to those Scandinavian and/or Nordic countries to be on the cutting edge of mailbox design. Why have a regular old boring mailbox when you could have a cool looking mailbox robot and be the envy of the entire neighborhood?

So, who wants to buy me a bobi mailbox of my own? They come in a bunch of sizes and colors. Personally, I'm partial to the basic stainless steel ones, because I think they look the most robot-like, but I'm also kinda liking the red ones too. I wouldn't even necessarily just use it as a mailbox, either - I'd put one of the little ones in my house and use it to hold magazines or recipes or something like that. And I'm sure the real robot version is just a few short years away...right?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Label Love

This has been a really busy month for us, between attending conferences and working on some top secret projects. Our to do list is out of control right now. So of course, instead of actually working on the items on the list, we're just working on the list itself. Like, if we just make the list really organized and make it look pretty and have all of the business cards and handouts that we've collected organized, suddenly we'll be so much more motivated to get everything done.

Then we saw these hilarious journalism warning labels, which got us thinking that what we really need is a set of our own custom labels in our lives. Stuff like "Stop Procrastinating", "Clean Out Your Inbox", "FBI: Fix Blog Immediately", and "No, Seriously, STOP Procrastinating". Labels are basically like stickers for adults, right? We're excited just thinking about the amount of time that we could spend picking out exactly the right styles (screen printed? vinyl? domed?) and shapes and colors for our labels that are going to help us stop procrastinating and wasting time.

We also really want to create a custom label collection for when we read magazines. Like "Warning: Cosmo Logic" or "Overpriced Outfit Alert" or "This Article Will Make You Feel Bad About Yourself" or "These Sex Tips Not Tested On Actual Human Beings" or "Do Not Try This Fad Diet Involving Kumquats".

It's a good thing they sell custom labels in big rolls, because we're going to need a lot.

Foodie Friday: Everything's Better with Nutella

Here at The Good Authority we believe that just about any food item can be improved by adding Nutella. (If you don't know what Nutella is, it's an Italian chocolate hazelnut spread and you should immediately stop reading this and go to the store to buy some.) So when we saw this recipe for Strawberry Nutella Crumb Bars, we added it to our "make this ASAP" list right away.

Looks yummy, right? For the recipe, click here. Photo from EvilShenanigans.com.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Ice Cream

Ice cream cones

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Find out what people are copying from your blog with BlogCopy

We just started playing around with this analytics tool called Blog Copy. Basically, it shows you whenever someone copies something from your blog and what was copied. This is totally the type of thing that you don't even think about until you know it's available, and then you can't wait to try it out. People have copied things from our blog about everything from Joe Biden to True Blood.

It's interesting just to see what people are copying and potentially sharing, and for picking up on trends as far as popular content. It could also be useful for catching people who are using your content without linking or crediting you, which has happened to us in the past. We're definitely interested to see what information we'll get from BlogCopy in the future. Has anyone else tried it?

*Opportunity to spend even more time analyzing your blog stats brought to you by Blog Copy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: White Picket Fence

Ocracoke Island lighthouse, North Carolina. Ocracoke Light was built in Hyde County, on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina in 1823 by Massachusetts builder Noah Porter. The lighthouse stands 75 feet (23 m) tall. Its diameter narrows from 25 feet (8 m) at the base to 12 feet (3.7 m) at its peak. It is the oldest operating lighthouse in North Carolina and the second oldest in the United States (the oldest being Sandy Hook Light in New Jersey). During the summer months when there is a U.S. Park Ranger on duty, visitors may enter the base of the lighthouse, but climbing is not allowed.