Engagement

Engagement Chicken is Ridiculous

by Jamie Sanford on July 5, 2011

The video below is a video chronicling the “engagement chicken” recipe originally posted by Glamour magazine in 2004.

Here’s a quote from the recipe page on Glamour.com:

First comes chicken, then comes marriage? Be skeptical if you must, but this recipe may be charmed. It all began 26 years ago, when then-Glamour fashion editor Kim Bonnell gave the recipe to her assistant, Kathy Suder, who made the chicken for her boyfriend, who, a month later, asked her to marry him. “It’s a meal your wife would make. It got me thinking,” says Jon Suder, who now has three children with Kathy. Details of the simple dish passed from assistant to assistant like a culinary chain letter. When Bonnell heard that her recipe had inspired three weddings, she dubbed it Engagement Chicken.

You have to be kidding me with this, right? Am I wrong to think that most ladies of the marrying age should not currently be interested in getting engaged to a guy who would decide that marrying them is a good idea because of some f**king chicken?

I would not be married to my darling husband if there was a cooking prerequisite.

I have been upset by the so-called “advice” given out in women’s magazines for years.  I remember reading those magazines, but never really took their advice.  I met my husband online back in 2000, moved in with him in 2003, got engaged to him in 2005, and married him in 2006.  I can tell you that our decision to spend our lives together was not about a single meal that we’d shared, but was the result of a successful relationship that turned into a strong partnership over a 5-year period.  It had nothing to do with cooking, at least on my part, because my husband has been the main preparer of food in our household since we started having a household.

Your cooking is not the only reason you are not engaged.

The Alleged Engagement Chicken, Glamour.com

An important part of my relationship with my husband is that we have many social outings without the other present.  Geography plays a part in this to a point, but mostly, we find that we prefer to have separate social time because it lets us come back together and have new things to talk about.

This isn’t a rule, however, and we do sometimes go to social events together.  On more than one occasion, I have been met with shock and surprise by some of the single girls that he interacts with, at the proof of my existence.  After confirming that I am, in fact, real, the next sentence from their mouths tend to be some variant of the following.

“I can’t believe you let him go out without you!”

Oh girly, I hope you don’t sit at home later, wondering why you are single, because it is so obvious.  The reason that my husband and I started talking about getting married sometime is because we both felt like we had found the person who was a perfect match for who we were, and we had built a gorgeous foundation of trust upon which a marriage was the next obvious building block (at least for us).  I don’t “let” my husband do anything.  He’s my partner and my best friend, and I would never have been in a relationship, let alone a marriage, with someone I didn’t trust with my heart and my life.  We both have the freedom to do really whatever it is that we want, and neither of us need to get permission from the other for anything.  Of course we check in with one another, it is only natural, given that the relationship that we have that is built on mutual respect for each other, and, I’m saying it again, complete trust.

If you want to get married, talk about it. Don’t make sneaky chicken with a secret agenda.

If you are with someone that you want to get married to, tell them. There’s no reason in this day and age to wait for someone else to propose to you without any input of your own.  I picked out my own engagement ring, but was pleasantly surprised when I received it, during a proposal that was for the most part, very traditional.  My husband was largely involved in planning our wedding, we woke up next to each other the morning of the wedding and spent almost the whole day together before the ceremony began.  Nothing in the process of becoming engaged and getting married or in our actual marriage has been lacking because we took steps that might have been slightly different than what some people think is “normal.”  We’re going on 5 years of marriage, and will even be renewing our vows this year.  He’s my favorite person in the world, my best friend, and the love of my life.  This is what is important.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

And don’t let anyone make you think that chicken will change the game.

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Neil Lane for Kay Jewelers

by Jamie Sanford on July 21, 2010

I have been a massive fan of the strides made by affordable (and accessible) brands have made by partnering with high-end brands to elevate the exposure of both, while creating products that are available for all.  Target is obviously a great example, having partnered for years with fashion designers, interior design specialists and party planners to create great items for the everyday shopper who isn’t going to buy a $500 blouse.  H&M has done this, Payless has a shoe line developed by Christian Siriano of Project Runway fame – you get the idea.

So I am really excited to have learned about this latest partnership. Neil Lane for Kay Jewelers! I have seen Neil Lane jewelry on celebrities for years, and his designs are very much my taste, with a vintage feel that I love but never could have afforded before! Note that none of the items are cheap, but come on, they are diamond rings, what did you expect?  The prices range from $2,599 and $7,799. (The downside is that they don’t appear to have wedding sets, which seems odd given the large collection of engagement rings. Maybe they will come soon?)

Here’s a link to the whole collection.  I’ll post a few favorites here.

Would love to see comments on this one. Do you have a favorite designer that you would love to see create an affordable option?

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Bride and Groom Survival Guides

by Jamie Sanford on March 22, 2010

Today’s items are gifts for someone you know who is traveling down that great path towards marriage. More specifically, those who are falling into stereotypical “bride and groom” roles.  As someone who went through this process and made it out the other end, I can appreciate a guide to help you get through the little stresses and situations that present themselves during the wedding-planning process.

The Bride’s and Groom’s Survival Guides are available from Amazon.

The Bride’s Guide is $10.85 and the Groom’s Guide is $11.53, both on Amazon.  A great engagement gift!

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Day 3 of Web 2.0 Expo.

by Jamie Sanford on October 14, 2008

Presentations I saw on day 3:

The keynotes were all enjoyable.  Not as much targeted information and also presented in the dark so note-taking wasn’t happening.  I’m glad the videos are available though to be watched again.  I really enjoyed the presentation on Micro-Interactions with David Armano (slides are available here).  It has me thinking about every instance where my websites are interacting with my users.  An example that really struck me was that each time you receive a new Netflix mailer, it’s a positive interaction between Netflix and me. He talked about audience engagement, how can we DIRECTly interact with our audience, reach out to them and have them respond back.  You don’t know who the influencers are or will be, so everyone gets “the Disney treatment.” I love that, because it’s something you totally understand, if you’ve experienced it. This is something I need to really consider in further site development, we could be communicating so much more with the users.

The next presentation I saw was “What Would Google Do? How Media Must Revolutionize Their Thinking” with Jeff Jarvis, who review the BusinessWeek.com BusinessEdge program with John Byrne and Steve Adler of BusinessWeek (slides are available here).  Jeff used the word “googly” and I missed it in a previous presentation and now I am hooked.  I want everything in life to be Googly, because I associate it with wonderful things. Anyway, the idea was that BusinessWeek has launched BusinessEdge on their site, a cross of social interaction and news content, people who join create profiles and share what it is that is interesting to them.  The journalists that are contributing to BusinessWeek are also on the site and available to interact with users.  The discussion was mostly related to bringing more features to the BusinessEdge feature to make it even more user-friendly and even more Googly by letting users post about their BusinessEdge activity on their blog, LinkedIn profile, etc.

After a final trip to the exhibit hall, I came back to sessions for “Enhancing Engagement and User Experience Beyond the TV Screen: Some Lessons Learned from a Transition to Web 2.0” with Tony Carbone of VH1 Digital.  The big thing that I took from his presentation was a lot regarding tie-ins.  VH1 is all about tie-ins, there are constant reminders while you are watching the network to go online for more content, games, etc.  VH1 also launched Scandalist, their own version of a celebrity gossip and video site, which posts up to 30 times a day.  They tweet all major headlines and content is syndicated across all MTV Networks properties.  They offer content to the visitor that they would not otherwise see on TV.  They also focus on improved reaction time, embracing things quickly so that the audience knows that they are listening.  This sounded to me like what Gary Vaynerchuk said in his keynote, that listening to your audience is great but giving a shit about what they say is so much better.  How many times do we ask them to take a survey and then sit on results for 3 months before anything happens?

My last session was “Agency 2.0” with Romi Mahajan of Ascentium, Pete Stein of Avenue A/Razorfish, Susan Credle of BBDO, David Thorpe of Ogilvy, and Rick Webb of The Barbarian Group.  I’m not part of an agency but found the discussion between the group to be enlightening about their arena.  A lot of agencies in recent years have been all about going digital, and not paying attention to the other aspects of advertising.  Unfortunately I don’t remember who said this, but I loved this: “Agency needs to re-invent themselves so that they aren’t made useless by the tech-savvy person at the client company who knows twitter and LinkedIn.”  This is a big as I see more and more people embracing their role as the masters of their own online destiny.  In addition, a discussion was had about risk-taking, that clients might be drawn in by an ambitious plan that might fail, and if it does, will take the agency down as well.  This is likely to appeal to the client as they will understand the idea of taking a chance.

This took forever, I think I need to keep blog posts short because this has been daunting.  I have many more notes from these sessions but wanted to post about some of the major stuff that stuck with me.

Now I will continue to keep posting about everyday stuff and won’t cover any more live events until itec New Jersey in December.

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Day 2 of Web 2.0 Expo.

by Jamie Sanford on October 3, 2008

Presentations I saw on Day 2:

I’ll skip right ahead to Stephan Spencer’s presentation on SEO success, because I really enjoyed it. (The slides are available here.)  He had so many great tips for site optimization that I couldn’t keep up while taking notes.  Luckily we traded business cards and he sent me a great email with his presentation and other useful links.  During his presentation I was particularly interested in the discussion surrounding redirects.  How many different versions of each page are there, and how are they affecting the search results for that page?  He also provided a great list of different tools to use to create a strong PPC campaign, and some information on WordPress tools for SEO, great for me as I’m still getting the hang of using WP.

Chris Fahey gave one of my favorite presentations of the week.  (The slides are available here.)  He kept it humorous and easy to follow, and I felt he was vague enough in his presentation that anyone could take those ideas and easily see in their mind how these talking points apply to their particular web properties.  My favorite bit was the 3 stages of seduction–

1. Inspire their attention, interest and desire
2. Draw them in (lead them astray)
3. Capture their ongoing devotion

This is totally it! This is what anyone who runs a website should be thinking about. Make it sexy and make them love you and feel like they can’t live without you.  While I’ve understood this for a long time, this presentation has stuck with me for the last 2 weeks and I’m still thinking about it.  I have a presentation to give two weeks from tomorrow and I fully intend to reference this presentation to the group of website stakeholders at my organization.

Next up was the Video 2.0 Presentation.  Not what I expected, so I left to check out the exhibit hall.  I did get to see this fantastic video from CollegeHumor.com though.

The exhibit hall was a good experience, my only issue with it is related to the booths that the funky & cool company names don’t necessarily tell me what they do and if I should stop to talk to them!  The best swag, for me, was the “A Website Named Desire” poster.  You can hear about it and check the PDF here.

My last presentation of the day was by Charles Forman, “Using Real Time Game Concept to Increase Engagement.”  Charles came up with iminlikewithyou.com, which definitely has an audience but I don’t think its me.  I’ve checked that site out and I just find it to be annoying.  No matter, he has a grip on what works and how to make your website like a game to get the users engaged and into it. He made mention of LinkedIn and that little bar reminding you all the time that your profile is only 70% completed.  It’s a quest!  A quest to come onto their site and finish YOUR profile.  Make your user feel like they have something to accomplish and they will stay on your site to do that.  Charles listed concepts such as providing realtime feedback, providing rewards to users, providing objectives through quests and leveling people up. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to introduce such ideas to the sites that I’m working on, and I think that most sites have SOMETHING that would work as a quest, a challenge to the user to complete. 

All in all, the conference has my mind swimming with new ideas for things to do on the websites I’m currently managing, while also trying to develop ideas for my personal stuff.

I know this post is late but today is the first day that I’ve had a chance to sit down with my notes and really think about everything.  How do you bloggers post 3 times a day and have a job and a family and a life?

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