Holiday Madness to Gladness

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What would you say to making holiday gift exchanges a pain free, sure thing ?

Every year our family members shop brick and mortar stores, and scour the Internet to find gifts for each other. We often email wish lists with ideas, and to make it mistake-proof, sometimes there are even links going to the exact item! (I’ve been guilty of this.)

Most often, the same list goes to everyone in the family, so if we don’t check with each other, it’s not unusual for two people to buy the same gift for someone. Duplicates have been re-gifted, returned or traded, but inevitably, everyone smiles and says thanks!

There is at least one person who doesn’t believe in gift lists and buys whatever feels right, regardless of whether someone wants it or not. And at least there’s no chance of duplicates!

For a couple of years I’ve been wanting to try an experiment during the holidays. It’s really a pretty flexible, and potentially stress-free strategy.

I have the best family. Six months ago I asked them to try an experiment for our holiday gift exchange, and this is the year everyone is on board!

The experiment  🙂

Instead of sending out lists of things we want, each person is simply in charge of buying their own presents this year. Each present we buy ourselves will be designated as a gift from another family member. Family members will have no idea what they are “giving.”

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For example, I could buy myself a new LG K8V smart phone and wrap it up as a gift from my husband, David. He knows I love technology and gadgets, but he is a self-avowed neo-Luddite and wouldn’t know which features matter to me or what phone I’d want. But if I know I want an LG K8V and I buy it, when I open my gift from David, he will be surprised, and I end up with a perfect present!

For David, it might be a load of lumber to build a new basement stairway at our vacation home. I don’t know a thing about treads and risers, but HE does!

Do you see how this can work?

In all cases, there will still be an element of surprise because no one knows what they are giving to the other recipients. It might even provide insight into the things some of us really like. AND, all clothing will fit; there will be no unwanted duplicates, and whatever a person’s budget is, it will work! Furthermore, we end up buying the same number of presents as usual…or maybe even fewer.

My brother, a retired Sr. Technical Fellow for Boeing, asked, “Can we buy one gift and make it from everyone?”

AND OF COURSE, THAT WORKS!

If you’ve been wanting a big-screen television, or a computer, you can buy it and make it a gift from the whole family. One-stop shopping and you get something you really want and need.

Or maybe you are tired of getting “stuff” and are trying to purge things instead of acquire more possessions? You can buy a bottle of your favorite nail polish, a pound of your favorite coffee, or a new supply of socks or underwear. You get the idea — maybe kind of unglamorous stuff, but things you really want, need and will happily use.

If the thing you love about gift exchanges is the look of surprise on someone’s face, just remember, it can still happen. It’s just that the look of surprise is on “your” face when you see what you’ve given someone!

So, what do you think? Is this a hair-brained idea or a stroke of brilliance? I’ll report back with the results of our experiment whether it’s a success or a bust!

Meanwhile, U.S. residents who leave a response to this post by December 12, 2016, will be eligible to win a new Verizon Smartphone: the LG K8V— a beautiful Android device with a ton of amazing features, including a large 5” HD display, a hands-free “selfie” feature, an SD-slot and removable battery. And it’s a good traveler since it works in more than 200 countries. I’ve been impressed with LG for its amazing color quality, quick charging and ease of use.terri-nakamura-lg-k8v

The winning comment will be chosen by one of my cats. The selection will be posted here, and you’ll need to check to see if you’ve won. I’ll give the winner 2 days to get in touch with me to provide me with mailing information. If I don’t hear from him/her, I’ll move to the next in line.

Who knows? You could end up with your own Christmas gift, courtesy of Verizon 🙂 


 12/12/16 — THE WINNER OF THE LG K8V can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqltzLOQsas
Please contact me with your mailing address!

#140conf #LA

Eight years ago I entered a bright and shiny world called Twitter. 

In 2010, I compared Twitter to a cocktail party, and I think the comparison still stands. Lots of people weave in and out of short conversations and content, with comments sometimes ricocheting like Pokéballs. About 47 of the 313 million active users “tweet” via smart phones, so Twitter’s 140 character limit makes it doable. Chatting in 140 character tweets isn’t the easiest way to carry on an extended conversation. Still, meaningful relationships can form, and when you discover a kindred spirit, it’s great!

Today I think the average person joins Twitter and feels lost. It’s not obvious what to do once you get there. I found the game changer is engaging in conversations. Once you start chatting with people, the clouds part and the Twitterverse opens up. You can pose a question and get immediate answers, and almost always find interesting people for banter or discussions. And there is an endless bounty of content to consume 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Jeff Pulver, founder of the #140 Conference, created and produced the first #140 Brands Conference in New York City on Dec. 2, 2010. As a graphic designer who works with businesses and branding, and being a social media aficionado, I was excited to learn how brands were navigating the social media sphere. It featured dozens of speakers and panels on myriad topics

The opportunity to meet virtual friends face-to-face was fabulous! I’ll never forget the snow along the sidewalks as I walked from the subway to the venue, and the thrill of meeting for the first time, Debra Cincioni, Lori Moreno and Jessica Northey , fellow Bitrebels — Twitter #BA75 sisters.

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L-R: Jessica Northey, Debra Cincioni, me, Tommy Geraci and Sueanne Shirzay, Dec. 2010, NYC

Past #140 Conference events have featured a series of 10-15 minute presentations and 10-20 minute panels that have provided attendees with knowledge, perspective and insights into the theme of the conference. The format has been fast-paced, so if there is something you’re not too interested in, it quickly moves on to the next topic.

The SOCIAL part of social media is super special. And for first-timers, the opportunity to meet many Twitter friends in one place, in real life, is undeniably exciting.

But the educational part is equally special. The #140 Conference provides access to some of the most knowledgable people in a variety of sectors, representing a huge depth of expertise.

Fast forward to July 25 in Los Angeles 

I had the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and for the first time, meet Marsha Collier, Michele Meiche, Henie Riesinger and many others. I can only describe the moments of our meetings as pure joy!

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L-R: Michele Meiche, me, Marsha Collier, Julie Spira

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L-R: Calvin Lee and me

Over the past two months, Michele and I have been chatting on Twitter about our fond feelings for the #140 conferences. We weren’t just waxing nostalgia, although being in that place at that particular time in history was very special. Twitter has evolved and now there are many more people, and the way people and brands use Twitter (and social media in general) has changed. There is always more to learn, even for long-time users, so we concluded there is definitely a need — and isn’t it time — for another #140 conference?

At the LA event, I was hoping to talk with Jeff to see if I could convince him to organize another #140 conference. I had no idea he was aware of the conversations between me and Michele. So it was a surprise when, midway through the event, Jeff made the announcement that indeed, another #140 Conference is underway and slated to occur in Los Angeles this November. I was thrilled!

Anyone interested in Twitter, and social media in general, would benefit from attending. And some of us could find ourselves falling in love with Twitter all over again. I’m looking forward to learning what’s new, and I’m especially looking forward to meeting many new as well as long-time friends.

Earlier I mentioned how great it feels when you discover a kindred spirit on Twitter. Getting to physically meet your kindred spirit and hug them in real life is THE BEST!

Jeff invites interested sponsors to participate, and extends an invitation to all to attend.

Details to come! See you there!

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A crowd gathered around Jeff Pulver as he announced the coming #140 Conference.

The quality of the photos of the #14oconfLA gathering, shot in very low light with my Verizon Samsung Galaxy S7, impressed everyone.

And trust me when I say it’s not easy to impress a group of social media mavens!

I’m proud to participate as a member of Verizon’s social media team. My posts are about my own personal experiences.  No compensation is provided, nor are favorable comments promised. All opinions are my own.

More about Terri:

UE Boom – 16 hours and counting

View of the beach from Alki Surf Shop, April 2015

View of the beach from Alki Surf Shop, April 2015

My beach bum husband and I agree, there are few things more awesome than hanging out at our store on Alki Beach while the sun is shining.

But one thing that makes it even better is listening to music that puts everyone in a great mood.

We had been using a JBL Flip 2 bluetooth speaker to pipe music out to the sidewalk. The music helps people notice us and entices them to come in. We often see people dancing on the sidewalk before making their way up the steps to our store.

Hand-painted signs on the steps

Hand-painted signs on the steps

Recently, thanks to @TheOnlineMom and #vzwbuzz, I had a chance to try out the UE Boom bluetooth speaker.

The UE Boom is fantastic!

First of all, the 360° design is a cylinder of sound. There is a rich bass and clarity that makes the sound seem almost dimensional. And the capacity for delivering volume is unbelievable. IT. IS. LOUD.

The beauty of a bluetooth speaker is not having to hassle with cables and cords when pairing with a music source.  We had our JBL Flip 2 sitting on an outdoor window shelf, which worked well for its promised 5 hours of battery life.

The plus and minus signs are actual controls for the volume

The plus and minus signs are actual controls for the volume

The UE Boom says its battery lasts for 15 hours.  But, guess what? It’s not really true.

When fully charged, the UE Boom kept playing for 16 HOURS. And would probably have kept going, but I finally needed to go to sleep.

What follows is a look at the endurance test I gave the UE Booms’ battery:

9 AM The UE Boom providing the soundtrack to my work day. There is an impressive spectrum of resonant sound. (I could feel the strings vibrate at the end of “I’m Just a Girl!”)

1 PM In my car, I had to turn off my console because it seemed to interfere with the ability of the iPhone to “speak” to the UE Boom. But once I did, it filled my car with sound. I’d never thought about using a bluetooth speaker in a car before, but it made me think it could be great for people who don’t have bluetooth or USB in their cars.

1:30 PM First stop, Unified Grocers, where I had a chance to meet with Al Burleson. My iPhone and the UE Boom kept playing in my car because I wanted the speaker to be in continuous use.

2:30 PM At Alki Surf Shop, we just started selling some Aloha shirts made in Honolulu by Robert J. Clancy. So we needed a cascading arm for our slat wall as well as some nice hangers. That’s where Grand & Benedict came in. That’s where we buy our store fixtures.

3 PM When I finally arrived at Alki Surf Shop, I swapped out the JBL with the UE Boom for the next 4.5 hours until it was time to head home.

Beside amazing sound quality, the UE Boom has a handy little hanging clip on the top which I used to anchor the speaker to the window frame. That way it couldn’t accidentally fall off and hit someone below. But the clip could effectively allow you to suspend the speaker in the air, emitting sound in all directions. It’s a small but a pretty nice little feature.

The hanging option means it's possible to enjoy 360-degree sound

The hanging option means it’s possible to enjoy 360-degree sound

Another cool option is, you can pair TWO speakers to a single device. That means, if we want to pipe the same music inside the store as outside, we can. And because you can adjust the volume on the individual speakers, you have more music outside than in.

There is a “+” and “-“ on the body, which are graphic elements but also function as the volume controls. They look nice, but they are recessed from the outer surface, and I fear they could become dust collectors. They look like they’d be difficult to clean, so I covered them with a piece of clear packing tape to prevent to keep them free of debris.

7:30 PM I kept the speaker going on my way home, then kept it playing at a low volume throughout the evening.

9 PM The power light apparently turns red when the power is low. By the time I noticed it, it had been going for 12 hours.

The power light turns red when the battery is low

The power light turns red when the battery is low

2 AM I don’t know if the volume made any difference in the battery use, but after 16 hours, I was ready to call it quits. Yes, folks, it continued 16 hours, and maybe would have kept going longer if I’d let it. The UE Boom outlasted my capacity to listen!

The UE Boom is one of the most fun, utilitarian and excellent tech gadgets I’ve had a chance to use. It’s twice as expensive as the JBL, but clearly you get more than three times the speaker. If I’d known about it when I was shopping for a speaker, I would’ve gladly paid the difference. If you’re in the market for a bluetooth speaker, the UE Boom is worth every cent.


Alki Surf Shop: http://alkisurfshop.com/

Terri Nakamura: https://twitter.com/terrinakamura

*vzwbuzz is the social media hashtag used by Verizon Wireless.

#MoreNorCal with Verizon in San Francisco

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 The inspiring view of the San Francisco Bay Bridge with Cupid’s Bow by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen in the foreground.

Last week I had an amazing opportunity to spend three days in San Francisco as part of a 30-member group invited to attend the Verizon Brand Influencer’s Summit. The weather was beautiful and we all stayed in the Hyatt on Embarcadero, so it was a bit like an adult-geek summer camp!

What is a brand influencer?

Brand influencers are people who engage audiences on behalf of a company, product or service. From my standpoint, my personal reputation is at stake, so whatever I say or do in regard to Verizon can be counted upon to be authentically my personal opinion.

I’ve been a Verizon customer for more than a decade, so I’m a long-time consumer and supporter of the company. People have asked (and assumed) I receive payment for my tweets, posts and tagged content, but Verizon doesn’t pay me anything. I’ve received phones and tech gadgets, and have never been given ultimatums such as, “You must write about this product and endorse it.” Ethically, I won’t say something good unless it is.

What happened at the summit?

So many great things happened during the summit. From the moment my first Uber driver picked me up at the Oakland airport and dropped me off at the Hyatt, I knew I was in store for something very special. Meeting many long-time virtual friends from social media was truly exciting. Having experts from Verizon, Microsoft and Nokia introduce to us new technology was mind bending. And learning about Verizon’s exemplary global citizenship initiatives made me feel proud. In case you aren’t aware, The Verizon Foundation focuses on energy management, education and health care. You can learn more about them by checking out this link: http://www.verizonfoundation.org. I was truly inspired and impressed by their work.

We also were allowed to tour Verizon’s “Solutions Zone,” where new products as well as products still in development were on display. It was a rare opportunity to explore Verizon’s inner sanctum, and especially to access technology that is not yet released to market. Cameras, networking equipment, robots and even a soft-drink refrigerator with an illuminated, transparent, animated glass door. The Verizon Solutions Zone is a tech wonderland.

Five favorite Verizon moments

1.
Meeting Monica Villa, Sara Hawkins and Ann Tran. I’ve been wanting to meet Ann for years, and found her to be a lovely person. She’s pretty, petite, and fun. Monica is VZWBuzz’s fearless leader. She makes everything happen, and is fun, smart and kindsome of my favorite qualities. Sara and I became acquainted through Twitter and Instagram. She’s as warm and genuine as I knew she would be!

There were six #BA75 (www.bitrebels.com/social/twitters-top-75-badass-women/) sisters in attendance. Beside Ann, Sara and me, there was Joyce Cherrier, Misty Belardo and Gina Stark. It rocked!

#BA75 women in attendance included L-R: Terri Nakamura, Misty Belardo, Joyce Cherrier, Ann Tran, Gina Stark and Sara Hawkins

#BA75 women in attendance included L-R: Terri Nakamura, Misty Belardo, Joyce Cherrier, Ann Tran, Gina Stark and Sara Hawkins

2.
Our first dinner together at La Mar was delicious and fun. La Mer is a popular Peruvian seafood restaurant, beautifully situated overlooking San Francisco’s waterfront. Before dinner, we had a chance to mingle and introduce ourselves. Gina Stark and Chris Rauschnot were to my right and left during dinner. Each course was more amazing than the one before it.

3.
The first full day at the Verizon Innovation Center was exciting. The space is modern and inviting and the event was perfectly organized, complete with a full agenda, name placards, microphones, and plenty of great food and drink

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Receiving a new Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet along with a KILLER case with built-in keyboard was a mind-blowing. I’m writing this blog post with it, as it comes loaded with the Office suite, including WORD! Beside a full keyboard, the case also has a built-in track pad. Compact and light, it’s a beautifully designed piece of technology, functioning very much the same as a laptop. Another bonus: a Nokia wireless charging plate for our Lumia Icons. It is absolutely fantastic!

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4.
The second day, just when we thought it couldn’t get better, Verizon gave us an “Up24” and “ERA” by Jawbone, and the Roadster 2 in-car Bluetooth speaker. I returned to Seattle with a bulging suitcase to a boatload of work, so some of the gadgets haven’t yet been used. But let me say I’ve really looking forward to trying them!

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5.
At the end of the second day, the group scattered. But I enjoyed some great hang time with Gina Stark in the Hyatt lobby, where we were later joined by Ann Tran, Chris Fleury and Calvin Lee. A terrific cap to this superb experience was being able to see my college roommate, Barbara Lloyd, who was able to rearrange her schedule so she could visit for an hour. Seeing her was the icing on my favorite red velvet cake!

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The Verizon Influencers Summit was a rare opportunity to view Verizon from the inside. I don’t imagine most people know how hard they work to integrate meaningful technology into the lives of their customers, employees, and the world at large. Learning about their public service initiatives painted a picture of how we wish all companies would behave. The gathering gifted us with the opportunity to solidify long-time connections and forge new ones. When the second Uber driver picked me up and we drove across the new Bay Bridge, I looked back at a very special experience. Thank you, Monica, for making it happen.


Visual scrapbook

Leaving Seattle © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140519

Checked my flight at Seattle Tacoma International Airport

In the plane © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140519

The plane was packed! I was so lucky because a woman I was chatting with had priority boarding (I was in the last group). She saved me a seat in the third row!

In my Uber Car © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140519

I can’t lie—I love Über. As we crossed the Bay Bridge into San Francisco, the driver pointed out the old bridge (to the left).

Welcome to the Hyatt © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140519

Finally arriving at the Hyatt on Embarcadero, I was greeted by a dapper doorman

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My room was on the 10th floor. Here is the view looking down into the lobby.

LaMar Menu © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140519

Dinner at La Mar was amazing! You can imagine a huge table of social media aficionados, all taking photos of the food with their Nokia Lumia Icons!

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Arriving at the Verizon Innovation Center after a brisk walk from the Hyatt.

VZW Summit first day © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140520

Getting settled before the presentations began.

Lumia2520 and more © Terri Nakamura_

Did we really receive new tablets?

Launching Lumia 2520 © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140520Excitement as we installed apps on our new Nokia Lumia 2520 tablets!

VZW Demo © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140520

The presenters were knowledgable and helpful, wanting to make sure they answered all of our questions.

Solutions-Zone-Terri-Nakamura-WP-20140521Video Camera © Terri Nakamura _WP_20140520

We saw a lot of cool new products in the Verizon Solutions Zone.

Leaving SF © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140521

Heading back across the bay to Oakland

Back In Seattle © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140521

Back to Seattle, greeted by traffic!