Rejoice! Rejoice! It’s Saturday. | November 22nd.

The weekend is exciting! So today, I felt like sharing things that currently have me excited. Let’s go!

I love cute blogging families (I actually just typed “flamlies” on accident. A cousin of mine used to say it that way. Hopefully I’ve ruined you all now. Welcome to the flamily!). My two current favorites are Fit Mama Real Food and Lauren’s Latest. I’ve been reading them both for a couple of years now. Whether you’re a mom or not, have kids or don’t, love food or don’t (or don’t? Is that possible?), both of these blogs are enjoyable to read. Strangely enough, I think both these families live near Portland, Oregon! Fit Mama Heather’s Instagram feed is just pure joy and full of her adorable son and daughter. I want to squeeze them! 😉 And Lauren just revealed a clip of her and her family in the kitchen. I hope there will be more videos like this soon! What family foodie blogs do you like?

Speaking of cute families and babies, I’m working on a fleece fox toy for my little cousin for Christmas! She’s just about the cutest thing (my cousin…well, and the fox!). Here is the free pattern. I’m not an extremely experience sewer, so I’ll I’ve done so far is cut out the pattern. Makin’ progress! I really hope I get to see my little cousin during the holidays so I can give her the fox in person.

Fox Pattern
I’ve been on a boot hunt for months. I’ve had one pair of cheap, brandless boots (I think they were from Kohl’s) for a few years now. I’ve really worn them out, but I couldn’t seem to find a suitable replacement. I’m always cold, though, so I knew this was the winter I would find a nice, higher quality pair. Leather = warmth, after all. I ended up with 2 pairs! Wearing them around the house to make sure they’re right. Here’s a photo of my Boot Flamily.


The left pair is called Hilaria from Report Shoes. They aren’t leather, which is disappointing, but I found them before the middle pair, and they were the first comfortable boots I’d tried. Which leads to the glorious pair in the center: Cayden style from B.O.C.. Cayden doesn’t seem to be available on the B.O.C. site. These come up to my knee, are LEATHER, snug and hold my foot in place. And they’re warm! I originally didn’t want a pair that came to my knee (shorties, raise your hand!), because I felt it really cut my short legs in half. But I actually like how they look, and love how they feel so far. I think we’ll be very good friends heading into the even colder winter months. And the right pair? My long-time buddies ❤ Anyone know where they might be from?

Enough shoe talk. Last bit of weekend excitement! I’m performing in a community Messiah Sing-along, and I’m thrilled to say I was selected to sing the Soprano “Rejoice, O Daughter of Zion!” solo. I’ve been singing everyday and working hard. I’ve missed this kind of musical work. Collaborating with fellow musicians, listening to all sorts of recordings, and that crazy-obsessed, ultra-focused feeling you get when you spend a lot of time with one piece of music. Plus I’m inspired by fellow soloists and our awesomely talented accompanist. I’m grateful. I have more work to do before performance day, but I’m excited!

My score :)

My score 🙂

What has your attention or is inspiring you lately?

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56. Whatever Wednesday – Media edition!

After a slight leave of absence, I’m back with a “Whatever Wednesday” post! This Wednesday is all about media!

When people ask you – “What’s your favorite _____?” – do you have an immediate answer? I’ve NEVER been able to shout out a favorite book, movie, band or anything without taking some serious time to think about it. When I was little (okay, and even now), I was always concerned about what others would think of my favorites. Perhaps that hindered my speedy decision making. But today I shall toss aside that fear! 😛 Besides, peoples’ favorites are what make them so interesting! Discovering or remember what your favorite things are can also help reignite an interest or passion. I want to share some current media favorites.

I’m excited to say that I’m pretty sure I have a favorite song. Not just a favorite song of the moment, but a FOREVER favorite song. I realized this while driving to work this morning. Drum roll!

Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.”

No matter how I’m feeling, this song puts me in a great mood! I workout to it, I sing along with it and I can’t help but tap my feet to it whenever I hear it. It makes me happy, and it has for years! Plus, how can you not love MJ and his stop-a-girl-in-her-tracks voice (cue video!)?! I think those are good enough reasons as any to dub this My Favorite Song!

Okay, now for some current, favorites of the moment. My current favorite gym jam would have to be Korean boyband SHINee’s “Why So Serious?” It has a good beat and you can lift weights to it dance to it. While member Jonghyun is missing in the video due to an injury, he and his powerful voice are very present in the CD recording.

TV time! My favorite sitcom of the moment would be NBC’s Parks & Recreation. Clever writing combined with a wide range of lovable character personalities, this show is hilarious. It’s not without its tender, touching moments as well. Each character is so distinct! I think everyone who watches will be able to find a character to relate to. I personally adore both Chris Traeger and Tom Haverford. Since this post is all about media, I must mention the episode where Tom is forced to go without technology.  The season finale aired last week. Why must sitcom season come to an end?!

But! As sitcom season ends, the summer season of shows begins. And thanks to BBC America‘s Orphan Black, I’ll happily survive the sitcom drought. Orphan Black. Oh. My. Goodness. I’ll admit, when I first saw the previews, I had no intention of watching it. But I decided to give it a shot on a whim – am I ever glad I did! I’m addicted. Seriously addicted. It’s about a troubled woman who discovers that she has clones – not twins – clones! She doesn’t know how many there are or why someone cloned her. I’m excited to say that it’s already been renewed for a 2nd season! Lead actress Tatiana Maslany is incredible. I forget that she is of course playing all of the clones. She portrays each one so distinctly and uniquely, it’s easy to forget. The show airs every Saturday. You won’t regret checking it out!

Lastly, my favorite video game of the moment is Adventure Time for the 3DS.

With the same quirky humor as the television show, the character dialogue always has me giggling. The side-scrolling AND overworld game play style is very reminiscent of Zelda II on the NES. Being a Zelda fan myself, I pretty much squealed with joy when I took Finn and Jake out onto the field for the first time. The game is rather simple, but very fun! I do wish, however, that the player had the ability to write on the map, like in Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass on the 3DS.

Thus concludes this edition of Whatever Wednesday. Maybe you’ll feel inclined to check out one of my favorite songs, shows or games. I hope that you do!


39. The Fab Five of Steinways are Bach for more! (sample news release for internship interview assignment)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     June 11th, 2012

The Fab Five of Steinways are Bach for more!
Piano quintet The 5 Browns return to the Oregon Bach Festival this summer

The 5 Browns

Eugene, Oregon June 11th, 2012 – After two nearly sold-out shows in 2007 and 2008, the piano-shredding siblings, The 5 Browns, are returning to the Oregon Bach Festival on July 12th at 7:30 PM in Silva Concert Hall.

Having been dubbed the “Fab Five” by People magazine, this quintet attended the Julliard School all at the same time, being the largest group of family members to ever be accepted concurrently. The festival is thrilled to be able to welcome back such a talented group. Along with their Thursday night performance, they’ll be holding a free Q & A session, July 11th at 12 PM in The Studio at The Hult Center.

Since their appearance at the festival nearly 4 years ago, the siblings have been keeping busy with touring, recording and even writing their own book. Their most recent album, The 5 Browns…In Hollywood, was released during the spring of 2010, making it their fifth album to date.

Armed with their trusty Steinway pianos and a passion for sharing classical music with excited audiences, The 5 Browns are bringing music for the entire family to the festival with Gershwin, Copland and even a little Disney! It’s sure to be a magical performance.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the Hult Center and UO ticket offices.
Prices range from $15 to $38 for the general public and are $10 with a student ID.

Please visit www.the5browns.com for a more detailed biography, news and photos.

Media Contact:
George Evano
OBF Director of Communications
gevano@uoregon.edu

541-852-0370


37. It’s no mystery – abuse and misuse of the mystique trigger.

“Spark curiosity. Withhold information.
Build mythology.
And limit access.”

There’s always an excitement in the air when photos, music clips and bits of news hit the web about a new singer or band, especially in the Korean pop music scene. Compared to pop music in America, upcoming Korean pop artists or new albums, singles and videos seem to be much more intensely marketed prior to releases. Korean pop also heavily targets fans in foreign countries, creating a surprisingly large online fan base.  With today’s digital technology, Korean record labels make marketing pop music to a wide audience look extremely easy, successfully using social media like YouTube and Facebook; however, just because these record labels know they can easily reach millions of fans within seconds after clicking “Upload” doesn’t mean they can’t abuse their digital presence every now and again.

Top Korean record company S.M. Entertainment has been aggressively promoting their newest boy group, EXO, since the end of last year. I wrote a post about this group already about 2 months ago, then excited about the future possibilities of this upcoming talent. SMent was using a fun marketing technique, releasing a short video teaser every few days as a way to show off and introduce the 12 members. During the first few weeks, Kpop fans went crazy! Whether people loved it or hated it, people were talking about EXO. I was among the people who loved it! It was mysterious. Often, when a Kpop group is getting ready to debut, information about members is quickly made available for fans. With EXO, however, things were kept under wraps with SMent only revealing information little by little. It made me want to come back for more. I checked YouTube and the SMent Facebook page probably more often than I should have, wanting to fulfill this strange desire to learn more about them.

Fast-forward to today. The first teaser was released on December 21st. That was almost three months ago. We’re now on teaser #23. Yes. 23.

The difference between the first teaser and this one? 11 more members. We clearly know who everyone is now, and yet SMent continues to release teasers. Two full music videos have even been released.

While EXO has yet to make their television/stage debut (which seems to mark the official debut of a music group in Korea), it’s clear that their presence is known by fans, with their newest music video already reaching almost 1.5 million views in less than a week.

Sally Hogshead, whom I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, would probably say that SMent was using the mystique trigger to fascinate fans. Mystique is one of the more difficult of the seven triggers to master. Once a brand loses it, it’s tough to regain.

When only a few EXO teasers had been released, everything surrounding the group was oozing with mystique. Hogshead explains how this trigger is “rooted in unfulfillment.” Releasing a few teasers with only a few members is what left fans longing for more. There was limited access to information about the group. Now we know all the members. We’ve seen them dance. We’ve heard them sing. We know their names. The mystique SMent successfully created around EXO last December is fading fast. I think it’s time to focus on a new trigger and ease up on the teasers.

Now let me tie all this back in to digital and social media. Before this digital age we’re currently in, it would have been much more difficult for an entertainment company to do something like this. Being able to easily reach out to millions of fans across the globe at once was basically unheard of. Today, with social media, it only takes a few clicks.

Because using social media is easy, I think some brands use and abuse it. Just because SMent has the ability to produce and release teaser after teaser doesn’t mean they should. The teasers are basically all the same! A few teasers is exciting. 23 teasers is overwhelming. At this point, I’d rather hear about a stage debut or first mini-album. Originally, SMent was solving the problem of how to get the word out about EXO. Because they created this digital advertising strategy with a problem in mind, it worked very well in the beginning. Are the teasers still solving a problem? At this rate, we’re going to have seen all the choreography for whatever their next single is and have heard all the songs that will be on the first album. I think SMent needs to have EXO make their stage debut soon or ease up on the teasers. If not, I feel fans are going to start to lose interest.

Despite all my bashing, other than the endless EXO teasers, I think SMent has a fantastic social media presence. They promote their already-debuted artists extremely well through multiple Facebook and Youtube accounts. All the information they release has the interest of the fans in mind. Not once have I seen something and thought, “why are they posting this?”

I’ve seen how well S.M. Entertainment can market a group. I hope they have something different in store for EXO soon!


27. SMent, you’re such a tease!

S.M. Entertainment, one of the top music agencies in Korea, is trying out a rather interesting marketing technique for its newest soon-to-debut groups, EXO-K and EXO-M.

S.M. has always released teasers for new music videos and new groups, but I’ve never seen any record label release so many for two new groups before they’ve even officially debuted. Since December 21st of 2011, 10 teasers have been released through S.M.’s Youtube account and Facebook page featuring different members from the groups. Not many details have been released about these two groups, other than the names, ages and ethnicity of some of the members. EXO-K will focus their activities in Korea, while EXO-M will mostly be targeting the Chinese market. S.M. has created sub-units of groups in the past to focus on other countries, but only after the full original group had experienced a couple years of success in Korea. A few years ago, S.M. created a sub-unit using some of the members of Super Junior to create Super Junior-M in order to focus on the Chinese market.

As for EXO-K and EXO-M, this is the first time the record label has created two sub-units before a debut. Teasers have been released throughout the past month focusing on the talents of individual members.

This was the first teaser to be released, featuring Kai.

Most recently, this teaser featuring Lay was released.

On January 10th, a teaser was released that, for the first time, revealed the total number of members for the two groups.

Details as to who is in which group have yet to be released. I’m eager to see if the 12 members will ever perform as one unit or if they will always be divided. Other than the teaser of 12 members (above), only 5 of the members have been introduced more thoroughly through their own individual teasers. Member Kai has been featured in 6 of the 10 videos, making me a little curious what the other mystery members have to offer. Having been releasing trailers for almost a month, SM Entertainment is definitely causing a stir with this new way of marketing its newest groups. While some fans are complaining and wondering why the groups aren’t making an official debut yet, others are realizing how well this marketing strategy seems to be working. It’s getting people talking. By showing the talents of each individual member, slowly but surely, the anticipation for these groups is building. It’s about revealing just enough to leave people asking for more, creating a strong fan base before the groups even make a debut. S.M. has also created Youtube and Facebook pages (all in English) for these groups as a way to connect with international fans as well.

As a fan of all the artists signed under SM Entertainment, I can’t wait to see what EXO-K and EXO-M bring to the table! Good luck, guys!


16. Passion.

These last few weeks have been swarming with discussions on how to be interested and interesting. I’ve learned that people are drawn to others who are genuinely interested in something. Anything at all! Music, language, crafts, computers, art, science, rocks…anything! If you have a passion, let people know about it. Some people (myself included) easily get so wrapped up in their passion that it can be hard to form coherent sentences when they’re trying to tell someone about it. It’s important to learn how to share what you love with people.  Having a passion is such an appealing and attractive characteristic in someone and I’ve found myself being reminded of this, especially in the last few days.

A friend showed this video to me last night.

When I watch this, I don’t just see twin brothers dancing. I see passion. Seeing how they command the stage and their expressions and energy when they perform is enough to understand how they feel about dance. I want to sit down with them and talk not just about dance, but about anything and everything. If they have such a strong passion for dance, I want to know what else they’re interested in. That right there is the key. A person’s passion for one thing leads you to believe that other aspects of their lives are interesting. Because they’re interested, I find them interesting.

I also noticed this while at choir rehearsal today. I’m performing in a concert with the Eugene Symphony at the Hult Center on Tuesday. Today was my first time working with the Eugene Symphony’s new Music Director, Danail Rachev. His passion for music and conducting was clear the moment he stepped onto the podium to start rehearsal. From his precise conducting to his complete knowledge about the piece to his ability to count seemingly impossible rhythms, everything about him made his passion for music clear. Without knowing anything else about him, I immediately felt drawn to him and hung on his every word. He seemed so knowledgeable. I think he’s so talented at what he does partially because there is a passion behind it, pushing him forward. People who are lucky enough to work in a field related to their passion are bound to create something great.

So go out and be passionate about something. It doesn’t matter if you’re good (or not so good) at it. Just find it and love it! Share it with anyone who’s willing to listen. Be interesting!

(written on Sunday, 11/20. The concert has already happened and was fabulous!)