Thanking My Ate #NaNoPoblano2020 #My2020

Happy Thanksgiving! This is for anyone who celebrates the special occasion. How are you celebrating it, guys?

Like in many other countries, the Philippines does not celebrate it. That’s despite America’s history with and influence on us. It’s their own history after all. However, it’s always good to give thanks to those who help, love, care for, and inspire us.

Today, I want to share something. This was a birthday greeting to my ate (big sister) on September 20, 2019. I feel that sharing it here is another chance to express my gratitude. Until the day I posted it, I never really told people how much I appreciated my sister…

My big sister Janeth a.k.a. Jeng to many, but simply Ate to me

As most siblings stories go, ours was typical at the start. We were far from the best of friends. We often fought like other siblings often do — Little Sis keeps following like a puppy, Big Sis gets annoyed and tries to ditch her. And yet, we had the most in common in the family. I guess that’s mainly because she influenced me the most.

Me and My Ate. We didn’t always get along when we were young, but we did have our moments

From her, I learned to appreciate books. Because of her, I developed a genuine and deeper love for music and art. And thanks to her belief in me, I learned to believe in myself and write…I have never thanked her for her contributions in my life, so I am taking this opportunity: THANK YOU, ATE.

You know I love you no matter what. I know you love me, too, in your own way. Even when I say “I love you” and make you feel awkward. **Kahit tinatarayan mo ako (kabog naman kasi ako sa iyo,,he he). Please, let us never forget our promise: NO FIGHTING!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND I LOVE YOU!!! I WISH FOR YOU HEALTH AND A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE, ALWAYS.

**Even when you lose your temper at me (I’m really no match to you when it comes to temper, ha ha).”

To be very, very honest, I posted that because I felt the end could be any month, any day, or even any time soon. I didn’t want her to go without knowing how much she really meant to me.

Our parents left and I was never sure that they knew how much they meant to me. They probably felt it, but sometimes, people need to hear “I love you” to be reassured. My father was already different for the longest time that even if I said it just now, he’d forget a few minutes later. My mother, when she was bed-ridden, that was when I kept telling it to her and showed it with hugs and kisses. But most of those times, or maybe even the whole time, she was not anymore in a proper state of mind…

Mr. and Mrs. Federizo

So you can understand my intention about the post, right?

It has always been said that you should say “I love you” while your loved ones are still in this world. Do not wait until it’s too late. That is why I often tell people how much I love or appreciate them. I had been telling my sister and she would, at first, laugh awkwardly at times. She’d kind of say, “Alright already”, a bit in a dismissive way. But I knew she loved me even so. It took a while before she felt comfortable saying it back.

The last months had me so worried. She wasn’t in great shape. Far from it. I was so worried she’d contract the virus. That could be hell for her, dealing with her illnesses, not being in her proper mind all the time, then being left alone in the care of people she didn’t know. I kept hoping that if it came to that, her caregivers would understand her and be kind to her. I salute our medical frontliners. But let’s face it. Not everyone can be so kind and patient.

To be even more honest, while her passing away was still a surprise and, yes, I cried, I was also relieved. She was no longer in pain and God spared her from the worst possible scenario. Most important, she literally went away happy and smiling. She got her wishes.

I don’t know how to end this post. Just maybe with this:

Let us LOVE, always. Show it. Tell it. Feel it.

Say I Love You. Then thank them for being a part of you.

A Furry Christmas #NaNoPoblano2020 #My2020

We got an early Christmas surprise. It came in the form of a cute fur baby.

Two weeks ago, my cousin passed by our house carrying a kitten. My husband saw this and asked about it. He was told that they only found it. Here, it usually means that a puppy (not usual) or a kitten (very often) has either been abandoned by the mother or thrown away by the supposed owner. That is sadly the reality. I assume it was found inside their lot, which is beside ours. And I assume my cousin was about to give it away to anyone interested.

Now, I had been asking my husband to find me a kitten. I miss having a cat around. If you don’t know it, having a pet cat can be very therapeutic to anyone, no matter his/her emotional, mental, or physical state. It’s also practical if you don’t want mice or rats around…Anyway, in other words, I woke up to find a newly adopted kitty being transferred into my arms.

Here she is. “It” is now a “she” carrying a name.

Meet Jemima “Mimay” Enriquez.

Jemima MIMAY Enriquez

I named her Jemima, after my favorite CATS The Musical kitten. Not the same hair color, but I’m not complaining. I’ve been waiting too long to name a cat “Jemima”. Meanwhile, “Mimay” is a nick and term of endearment. Very Pinoy-sounding. Plus, it serves as a tribute to my last cat, which my stepsons met and love, Mumay.

Mimay-and-I

First time we met. I have flexible lips that can cover my nose, ha ha haaaa!!! Didn’t want to inhale fur

She feels like she’s the Queen, ergo, she can climb anywhere and on anyone!

 

Kitty Angel for a minute or so. When she’s not scratching, biting and being mischievous, or meowing real loud for food

She was so tiny. She still is, but she’s definitely growing

 

Getting into scrapes but demanding assistance

Sleeping with her favorite toy, Mimsy

I’m not good at gauging age but I think she was more than a week old when she came here. It’s now been two weeks and she’s growing bigger, stronger, and even naughtier, as cats are expected to be. I look forward to loving this baby, hopefully, for a very long time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Note: Videos soon**

How I Spend My 2020 #NaNoPoblano2020 #My2020

How “random” are you? I believe that my interests can be so random at times that I lose focus. I’m so random that I only thought of my Nano Poblano 2020 theme an hour ago! Basing on my first post, I realized what I would like to finally talk about: #My2020.

How I Spend My 2020

We are in a pandemic. No non-believer can convince me otherwise. It is during this period that people have started focusing on other things or hobbies to do in their lives, including me. And because you asked for it (I’m psychic), I am listing those things down. In random order, naturally 😉

1. Sewing. To be more specific, fixing holes and replacing buttons, etc. Nothing too complicated for me like making a dress.

Sew, sew, sew your clothes…My view from where I usually sit

It’s really something that I occasionally did pre-pandemic. But because I am almost at home 24/7, I figured I’d get more done now. I do. You wouldn’t see them on my vlogs but I stack various pieces of clothing that need fixing beside me. I often do them when I feel sleepy. You can say it’s one of my wake-uppers. I squeeze them in whenever the Internet connection is slow. It does not impede my work. In fact, it makes me more alert.

I honestly have not been doing that much sewing lately, though. I have fixed most of the important pieces anyway. Also, like I said, I am “random”. My attention is divided and directed elsewhere.

2. Vlogging. As mentioned, I vlog. Well, more like I record videos. In a year, I only post a few on Youtube, though that is never the intention. I’d post more if I could. It’s the editing that takes time and effort.

At the start of the pandemic, I was so stressed out by my work. There was not enough time nor energy to edit during free time. In later months, my workload lessened along with a bit of the stress. I was able to do more recording. I posted one video, I think. Then came the time the kids needed to start their education again. Except, for now, they have to stay at home (the teen does not stay with us, though). My days have become more hectic once again. Teaching just one kid this pandemic can already be very stressful. Of course, I make sure to do my work. But in-between, I need to be teacher-mom.

I did decide that those unpublished clips were not going to post themselves. So I’m back vlogging,

In addition, I am letting the tweener participate in some of them. I want him to be more well-rounded and skilled. Now, before anyone accuses me of child labor/exploitation or whatever, I don’t earn anything from YouTube. In fact, I have no plans of earning from them anytime soon. That is why I am not breaking my back over content creation. Come on, I have only posted — what — 13 vlogs? No one’s gonna pay me for those. It’s just something that I like doing. In life, you have to find something that makes you happy.

3. Watching TV/movies/videos. Anyone who’s followed me long enough knows how I love watching movies and series via Netflix. When school hadn’t started yet, the tweener and I would binge-watch.

I made sure I let him watch TV series that I had already seen. For instance,, in the Arrowverse, I let him watch Supergirl and the Flash. But I said no to Arrow. It had more sexy/love scenes than I could count. I just told him the show’s story as it’s important to explain the crossovers better. He’s seen the first season of Legends of Tomorrow because a TV network showed the dubbed version. They took care of the censorship for me (and the translation).

Image from Mashable India

I do not want any inappropriate (to kids) scenes to surprise us. I’ve let him see the last season of Game of Thrones (not on Netflix, though). He was very intrigued by it because I kept watching the episode where winter finally came, so to speak. Fortunately, that season hardly showed naked people supposedly doing the deed. I knew where to skip anyway. I just gave him a background or recap of the show’s previous seasons.

As for movies, I’d check them out first before letting him see them. If I hadn’t seen a movie, I made sure to be around, just in case. If I had to do something for a couple of minutes, we’d pause them till I was back. We’re now binging on a local show on YouTube. That one, I need not worry about.

Meanwhile, I watch YouTube channels. I watch those that I already follow, and then some that interest me. My main interest these days has to do with mental health. DID in particular.

4. Cooking. My husband is the chef of the house. But lately, I have found myself learning how to cook. He leaves for a few days to work, therefore, only one kid and I are left. It is more economical not to buy cooked food or cold cuts to fry all the time. I decided there is no better time to learn to cook than today.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not a total noob when it comes to cooking. I have had classes where we cooked in grade school and high school. In college, I took up Nutrition classes where we cooked stuff. Once in a while, I would try out at home simple recipes that I found (onion soup, buttered veggies, churros…). But I was never really a cook. Classes required group effort and I often tried very hard not to be assigned as cook. I did create a few tofu/tokwa recipes some time ago. But it was only the hubby and me who tried them. I liked them; he didn’t. No one who saw my recipes ever returned to me to say “I love them!” ***cry***

I just realized I have these. Time to put them to good use…

So, yes, the hubby being away for a longer period presented problems to me. I decided to finally do my own cooking. I cut meat, cleaned fish all by myself (some took a lot of work), and found recipes online. Then I cooked my butt off, modifying recipes here and there. And guess what? I nailed my cooking! The kid loved my dishes! I surprised myself.

I have done…

Adobo:  manok (chicken), Tilapia, Tulingan, (mackerel tuna)baboy (pig)

Ginataan: manok, Tilapia, Tulingan

Chicken Tinola or Tinolang Manok

Paksiw na Bangus (Milkfish)

He also loves it when I whip up my special fried rice, which is not entirely original.

Next up: afritada, sinigang, pasta, and veggie dishes!!!

 

Those are what make my pandemic life still less horrible.  It is nice to bond with family and learn more skills along the way. I get to be a mom, a teacher, a vlogger, a chef. This pandemic is not showing any signs of finally ending anytime soon. Might as well try to get back to writing, read more books, and perfect my tokwa recipes.

I’m spending the rest of my 2020 wisely. How about you? How are you spending your 2020?

Hey, World, Guess We Hate 2020 #NanoPoblano2020 #My2020

Yes. It’s me. One year after.

My lone post back in February aside, the last time I posted was in November….LAST YEAR.  So, yes, I missed greeting you a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, even a Happy Valentine’s, and all those other greetings. I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry. But I’m back. Hopefully, for much longer. I know I always say that, but please know that I do mean it every time.

I was supposed to start posting last November 1, but November did not start right. A super typhoon hit the country hard. Then it was followed by several more typhoons. The last one just left a few days ago. They left parts of the country in shambles, so to speak. These are sad, sad days for the Philippines. Correction: It’s been a sad, sad year for us and most parts of the world. It was not only November that did not start right but Year 2020.

In all honesty, I wasn’t doing well long before 2020. There were personal struggles, most of which, I kept to myself. I’m used to dealing with personal struggles so I am able to handle things most times. Still, self-doubt is always something that can eat away your courage. 

Things got worse. My sister struggled with health problems for years. Every year, she’d be hospitalized. Last year, it started again around October. The worse part was she had to start going through dialysis. My brother-in-law and I kept consulting people and trying to decide the best thing to do. It seemed there was no other way but to start dialysis. And this naturally became another worry for me. It is really a longer story, but I don’t know if there is a need to say everything.

At the airport back in January 2015, the day after my wedding. My Ate was about to go back to Surigao. She went home to Laguna to see me get married. Her presence was very much needed — our parents had passed almost three years prior. She was my only family then. I wanted her here. Looking back now, I realize that was the last time that we were happy together. Her health got worse in the following months.

The good news is I was able to visit her in Surigao last February (went back home a few days after, which was already in March). The bad news is…she left us in May. She left me to join my parents. My family left ME. I am now orphaned by my whole family…So, I’m sorry, 2020, if I don’t like you. 

Alright. Year 2020 hasn’t been all bad. I did not lose my job, for one. I get to work from home, spend time with my new family, and be a teacher-mom. It’s actually hard work, believe me.

Well, I guess I should live through 2020 and the next year doing what I always do: I’ll wing it. As for you, I won’t ask how you’ve been (unless you want to volunteer information). I am pretty sure it hasn’t been that good to you either. I am also pretty sure you’ll do what I do.

Let’s wing it!

Are Vampires Real? #FreakyFriday #NanoPoblano2019

Generally, we believe that they are bat-turning man-beasts. Most times, we think they are enigmatic, sensual and sexual beings, hopefully handsome, long-haired blondes willing to be interviewed. Lately, they have been portrayed as really-old emo dudes trapped in young glow-in-the-light bodies. And then there are really scary-looking ones you wouldn’t want to be trapped with in a place where the sun does not rise for 24 days…

By now, you can tell we mean vampires. (Duh. The title?) We talk of vampires, how we know them from books and especially movies. Quite expected, really, as when the discussions go towards the are-they-real route, many—or the experts, at least—will always point out to these as the possible causes of people’s belief in vampires.

The Impaler

dracula, vlad the impaler, translyvania, vampires, vlad, vlad tepes, vlad Dracula, wallachia, real vampire

“This portrait of Vlad III, painted in the early 16th century, hangs in the museum at Castle Ambras in Innsbruck, Austria.” (LiveScience.com)

It is said that vampires originated from the Romanian Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia. Historically, he is a revered Romanian folk hero. But he also earned the nickname Tepes (meaning ‘impaler’) for his reputation of cruelly impaling his/their enemies. Dracula was actually his last name, a name now perceived as almost synonymous to ‘vampire’.

It is believed that author Bram Stoker read and studied about Vlad the Impaler. He later created a character ‘inspired’ by (though loosely based on) the prince in his book titled Dracula. This book was so convincing and popular at the time, it gave birth to a whole new era of films capitalizing on horror and vampires. It started with its unauthorized German film adaptation, NOSFERATU. Later on, actor Bela Lugosi would do the biggest role of his life, playing the title role in the DRACULA film. His performance would soon define the way people saw vampires in the decades to come.

Do They (Still) Exist?

Historical accounts aside, belief in vampires has long been a part of many cultures and folklore, called by many other names. The physical features sometimes differ. For instance, unlike bat-turners, some may grow wings while retaining human form).

In the modern world, however, new kinds of vampires have become quite visible. They come in the form of vampire-lovers who either believe they are vampires or would like to live as such. Some go to such extent as to change their whole body features to look like the real deal. It’s the vampire lifestyle or vampire subculture. It’s pretend.

What is not pretend is a real psychiatric condition called Renfield’s Syndrome. It is also called by another term: “Clinical Vampirism”, a mortal’s obsession with drinking real blood. Needless to say, it is very reasonable to try and have this condition or disorder treated, for everyone’s sake.

 

So are vampires real? Are they really supernatural? Until we actually encounter one, this mystery will remain an enigma. The question is, would you really want to meet one? If you happen to meet one, please let us know.

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For two or three consecutive years (except last year, I think), I tried to make #FreakyFriday posts every November. Guess it’s not too late to do that this year, too.

How about a little story I made? OBSESSION

Found this good read just now: The Bloody Truth About Vampires

Why Visualize Data #THURSDAYTIPS #NanoPoblano2019

What is Data Visualization? It is the visual presentation of data to inform your target audience.

These data are meant to complement the relevant information you share. They serve as proof or factual evidence to support any claims you have and to help people understand the value of the data being presented.

Image from PCMag.com

The Evolution of Visual Presentations

In the old days, these visualization tools were simple graphs, charts, tables, timelines, and maps. They were materials you could physically touch. Over time, with the arrival of better technology, we learned to make more effective presentations. They were created using computer graphics and online spreadsheets.

In the Internet age, however, visualization tools have become much more sophisticated and interactive. Various software, widgets, Application Program Interface (API), and other programs are used to make them instead.

Today’s data visualization tools include the usual but more detailed charts (bar charts, pie charts), infographics, geographic online maps, and sparklines, which are small designs for numerical and statistical information. Heatmaps are included, too, as they are snapshots that indicate two things: what catches your website visitors’ attention, and where they stay the longest in your site.

The Advantage of Newer Technology

A visualization software helps give people a better idea of your data by showing the relationships between items and the patterns and trends. They can be more detailed, able to show information that would otherwise be missed. Unnoticed details could cause unexpected problems or misinterpretations.

Meanwhile, visuals attract more attention. They help the audience to understand data. People normally get bored with dull and cold presentations. With today’s technology, we are able to maximize a material’s potential while we improve how people interpret our data.

For instance:

With the Timeline JS widget, you can show stunning, interactive timelines to impress people. But it’s not just to impress, rather, to emphasize the significance of the presented data. The timelines can have slideshow and embedabble capabilities.

ZingChart is a feature-rich API and is very interactive. It allows animation to be used in its visuals. People are attracted to visuals and they love animation. ZingChart’s JavaScript library has hundreds of chart types to choose from, which also means hundreds of ways to let your audience digest information. 

TheTableau software updates information in real-time and is great for team collaboration. It allows you to create powerful, beautiful visuals and is very easy to use with its drag and drop ability.

Now MS Excel, Google Charts and Google Sheets maybe “old”, but they are still popular. In fact, they keep up with the modern times quite well—the better to stay competitive. Try out their library of data visualization tools and see that they are not at all behind when it comes to new technology.

The Importance of Data Visualization

The question is, why get these newer tools when you can use the old ones? The problem is, it is not really advisable, especially if information may be lost using the older technology.

You like to inform. You like to write. But how do you make sure your presentation sets you apart and shows you as an authority? Today, content is king. Part of that content are data that, as said earlier, should support any relevant information you share.

 

If you want to be seen as an authority in your field, show it. Make people know you are trustworthy, competent and knowledgeable. Use effective data visualization tools. Remember, though, that being resourceful is good, but it does not necessarily make you an authority. No matter how visually striking the look, if content is lacking, you will only be wasting both your and your audience’s time.

 

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NOTE: This was written in 2018 (never published, at least, not without my consent) so the visualization tools mentioned may not be that updated. Technology changes fast.

DISCLAIMER: I am not endorsing any product, tool, or company. Any mention was just for information purposes.

JUNO The Film that Made Ellen Page? #NanoPoblano2019

***NOTE: I am back trying to complete my ten posts for November. It’s always funny in a not-so-ha-ha way that everytime I try to do writing challenges, something comes up to distract my mojo. I was doing well posting my first Nano Poblano posts daily. Then personal problems distracted me. I also suddenly have a new client (well, she was a client before) who has been giving me various writing assignments. So yeah, my brain is usually cooked by evening. I just want to binge on Netflix. Well, I do actually binge on it.

Anyway, this is a fine time to re-share a film review I did in the past. I’ve been wanting to for quite some time but I never found the right timing. Maybe this is it. I originally wanted to post for #MondayReviews but, well…

Here it is. I did some editing to make it more readable, though, and updated. By the way, ALL images and video belong to the producers, okay? And, oh, for more reviews, visit the CRITIC’S CORNER, please.

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JUNO THE FILM THAT MADE ELLEN PAGE?

ellen-page-juno

Ellen Page in the title role of JUNO

It all began with a chair. No, really, it did, and it’s what the lead said: “It all began with a chair.” Honestly, I felt that the intro was rather weak until I realized why the writer began with that. The chair would somehow set the stage for what was soon to be the center of the story.

I am, admittedly, partial to movies with the word “indie” attached to them. I first heard about the 2007 Fox Searchlight film JUNO through cable-channel surfing. When I heard people gush about the so-called indie film, I said to myself, “Heck, yeah, I gotta see this flick!” Belatedly, after more than two years, I finally chanced upon a copy at a video store and whaddya know? I got me my JUNO.

Meet Juno

First, the story.

The movie tells of a girl named Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page), who is equipped with sharp wit and an even sharper mouth. A die-hard rocker kinda girl with a love for slasher movies, she lived by her own rules (practically her own, anyway) sans the usual teen angsts and oh-I-hate-the-world attitude. 

Juno is mature for her own age. However, at sixteen, she is still prone to the wayward ways of the juvenile world. She makes the mistake of sleeping with her dorky male bestfriend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera) one supposedly boring day. “Supposedly”, since she tells quirky cheerleader Leah (Olivia Thirlby), her female bestfriend, that she planned it. But the plan has resulted into something she did not expect. And she pays for it in a span of nine months. 

juno-movie-poster

Suddenly, Juno is faced with going through the inevitable phase. And then there’s the adoption to think of. She wants to make sure that her baby’s future adoptive parents (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner) are the perfect ‘desperately seeking spawn’ couple she thinks they are. As one character puts it, “That ain’t no Etch-A-Sketch,” pertaining to Juno’s positive pregnancy test. “This is one doodle that can’t be un-did, Homeskillet.” She needs to make it right for her kid.

Juno worries that her child might grow up in a dysfunctional family such as hers. It is emotional baggage that the seemingly-uncaring Juno has carried around for years and is now being brought to the surface.

Interesting? Well, loads of people can’t be wrong. I know what endeared this movie to critics and public audience alike; it’s what endeared it to me.

Why Love JUNO?

It’s an adorable piece of unconventional, not-too-dramatic, creative storytelling. It tackles a very real issue with a humorous take. It is not to make light of the situation. Rather, it teaches about loving, forgiving and learning to let go.

The film deserves the praises, nominations, and awards it received. First-time screenwriter Diablo Cody spun a very good tale about a girl forced to deal with matters that even some adults fear facing. (Don’t ask why her name is Diablo; it’s an alias and is another story.)

The movie is a coming-of-age comedy except Juno had to mature faster than necessary, and she knew this. As she said in a scene, she was “just out dealing with things waaay beyond my maturity level.” Frankly, she dealt with the situation much more maturely than at least one of the adults.

Kudos to Cody for a wonderful script. She relayed the story in a manner that while she did not promote premarital sex and teenage pregnancy, she emphasized the value of family support during these dark times. She took a stand as well against abortion. Subtle, but a qualified stand.

What made this movie stand out more were the wickedly delicious dialogues mostly delivered by the wickedly brilliant Ellen Page. Language was often young and hip to emphasize the kind of girl Juno was. The adults had their own witty lines and comebacks as well, right at every turn. But it’s a good thing that Ellen played the lead role because she would have stolen the scenes from any other lead anyway. They were all good, but Ellen was just…well, again, wickedly brilliant!

JUNO made an instant Ellen Page fan out of me. [Ed. She’s the main reason I’m watching THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY.] So I  researched on her and found her interesting film biography. She has done roles others can only dream of. Ellen tends to play dark roles, but she has said she is open for other kinds of roles (e.g. Kitty Pryde a.k.a. Shadowkat in X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, Ariadne in INCEPTION).

For JUNO, Ellen received nominations and awards. She now carries with her name the “Academy Awards Nominee” tag. She has said that one advantage is she can now choose roles. Maybe it’s a joke, but I don’t think she even had that problem before at all, anyway. Real directors know talent when they see one.

JUNO gets FIVE STARS from me for being unconventional, smart, and even delicious to the eyes (I love the bright colors!!!). And, oh, spankin’ cute soundtrack as well, honest to blog!

Meanwhile, I am now looking for copies of her movies HARD CANDY, MOUTH TO MOUTH, SUPER, THE CURED, THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS, and AN AMERICAN CRIME [Ed. I posted a review of this. Just click]. Maybe I’ll try Netflix.

“TAUNTED” #NanoPoblano2019

TAUNTED

I am forever taunted
by the promise
of a new day,
an elusive dream
waiting on the palm
of my hands.

I close my hands
only to find
what has always
been there —
a touch of empty air
that I, myself, molded.

The promise is my own doing.

The new day is my own dream.

Until such time, I forever hold nothing.

Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

 

For more, please check out the POETRY NOOK.

5 Ways to Drive High Quality Leads #ThursdayTips #NanoPoblano2019

Are you having trouble getting quality leads? Then, you are probably doing it wrong.

There are various ways to learn how to get those leads. They will not be easy and will require more time and effort to do.

5 Ways to Drive Great Leads

Below are five ways to do it, listed in random order. They may be things you already know, but they are there for emphasis.

1. Write unique and relevant articles. Make sure you do not simply copy off from other people’s works. Make sure your topic is related to what your business is offering.

If you do not create unique and relevant articles, you will end up listed far away from the first search engine results page. That is not going to help you drive high quality leads since searchers cannot find you. Content is considered king in the search engine optimization (SEO) industry.

2. Use Google AdWords. This can help you with great campaigns. You can create banner-type display ads and text ads. Maximize the use of their Keyword Planner Tool to include keywords in your ads. The tool will help identify keywords your site is ranking for and suggest some that you may try to rank for. Forget all the others that are not helping your site rank higher in search engines.

Understand how this powerful Google product works so you can use it well to boost your business standing. It is not an easy task and the service is not free. Still, work hard on your campaigns and check performance based on the results.

3. Use reputable analytical tools like Google Analytics. Google is emphasized because it is the most popular and trusted search engine. There are other analytical tools you can use; it depends on which search engines you trust. Bing has its own tools, for example, so use it, if that is your preference.

Analytics are important especially since they are oftentimes integrated with search engines: Google Analytics is with AdWords, Bing’s SEO Analyzer is with Bing Ads. Using them gives you a bigger picture of how your site is doing, why it’s not performing well, and what the possible problem(s) could be.

4. Do both on-page and off-page optimization. Optimize well, not just on-page but off-page. If content is king, optimization could be the queen—it can get you anywhere.

On-page SEO is done directly on the site. You can optimize titles, descriptions and links. It usually involves keyword search, allowing you to include keywords in creating descriptions, for instance. Meanwhile, off-page SEO is done outside the webpage. These are ways to promote your site through social media marketing, link building (e.g. online directory submissions), article submissions that link back to you, and others.

Hiring skilled SEO specialists is highly advised.

5. Learn online marketing strategies. You will need to learn new marketing strategies to get high-quality leads. Learn inbound marketing, inbound sales marketing, even email marketing. All can help you improve your business and get great leads.

Do not handle all the marketing, though. Make sure you have people to delegate tasks to. A marketing and a sales person/team will have separate tasks while still working together—Marketing will find possible leads (based on targeted “buyer personas”), Sales will work until the leads avail of your products or services. They must have the proper training on the new marketing strategies.

Marketing is very important. It is how you are going to introduce your business and let people know what you offer. The best strategies can boost business performance.

People’s attention span is too short, so you must keep their attention. They may visit your site, become leads and possibly convert into customers. Eventually, they may become what Inbound Marketing calls “evangelists”, the ones who will promote your business by word of mouth and increase your social media reach.

The Sandbox Show #WhatsupWednesday #NanoPoblano2019

Last October was my first YouTube anniversary. Actually, technically, it wasn’t. I’ve had the account for years. But last year, I decided it was time to do what I really wanted with it: I started vlogging.

One of my dreams was to create my own videos someday. But when I was younger, we didn’t have a camera. We probably could not afford one. Even if we could, it would be against my conscience to ask one from my parents who worked hard to raise us. If we had cellphones, they would not have had clear cameras anyway, if they came with cameras at all. Good thing that I had my chance in college where we created various video productions. And then, my first job was perfect — I wrote and produced institutional videos for a tertiary school.

But those were school- and job-related works. I wanted to create stuff for myself. I had always wanted to own a channel once I learned about people broadcasting on their own cable channels. I wanted to be the one to produce and decide what to do on my own show. But I didn’t have my own equipment and the family did not have cable…

Fast-forward to now and voila! Hello, YouTube!  It helps, too, that new technologies have made it easier for us. Now anyone can own a channel. Even a quirky wannabe like me.

Starting Out

My not-so-high-tech equipment does the trick. Of course, there’s still a lot to be desired. My detachable webcam takes vivid shots except if you move a lot, it creates a sort of visual echo. It can be quite tricky considering that I am a very animated person. I use Windows Photo Editor, which is helpful but is not as nice as other editors. In some of my posted videos, it is obvious whenever I jump from one part to another. They were the first ones I recorded.

I used the “Trim” feature to edit at the start. Luckily, I noticed sometime these last months that they have added a “Split” feature. Tried that and it proved to be sooo much better. It makes the work easier and the results less ‘jumpy’. Most times, the transitions are not even obvious. I could get a better (free) editor, but I am not sure if my laptop’s memory can handle it. Will get to that one day.

The jumps in my vids are more obvious when real-time, actual background music is recorded along with my talking. That is because in the first videos I made, I knowingly recorded while playing songs in the background. That was me being stupid, not realizing the consequences of my actions.

I sometimes get copyright claims when I post them (so I do add credits in the Description section). No strikes, though, especially since I am not earning anything from vlogging. YouTube influencer, I have no illusions of becoming. I have explained in one of my posts (“6 Reasons A Vlogger is Not Popular“). Unless the universe tells me otherwise. Until then…Anyway, I decided to ditch the real-time background music once I realized my problem. If you do encounter a newly posted vid that still noticeably jumps because of the music, that means the raw copy just recently got edited.

Honestly, in a span of one year, I have only posted eight videos on my channel. Life happens, in a good way or a bad way. Serious editing eats time. But since I am in no hurry to get famous, I figured I’d do things on my own time. If you’ve been watching vloggers long enough, you’ll know a lot of them get burnout trying to keep up with the demands of vlogging. So, no. I have enough pressures already at work and in my personal life, I’m not about to add more.

Yes, there are only eight posted videos. Still, there’s enough where they came from. I have lots of recorded copies to last me till next year, plus there’ll be new ones I have yet to make.  My upcoming New Year’s Resolution, however, does include being a more active YouTuber. Also, I’m putting (1) “Don’t buckle”, (2) “Pronounce words correctly”, (3) “Avoid grammatical errors”, and (3) “Don’t be conscious of the camera” on the list.

The Sandbox Show

The Sandbox Show is produced by The Sandbox Prodxns, a “self-owned one-woman company” that I created myself years ago (when I didn’t exactly know what to do with it). My account name has “akasands” in it, which actually means A.K.A Sands. Why it is there and what that means, I will reserve for another time. Unless you want to watch my long, boring, and awkward intro video. It’s explained there somewhere. At least, I added bloopers after, ha!

What can I say? I’m getting better at it. And I do like to play around with the editing to get my best results. I’m a visual person. I try to make my videos as entertaining as I can. Maybe I have only eight posts yet you can betcha I worked hard on every one of them. Practice makes almost-perfect.

Anyway, I have shared some videos in the past on this blog. Below are the two most recent ones I posted on YT, if you can call them recent:

Yakult vs Delight vs Go Long Probiotic Drinks It’s one of those reviews that I call “comparative mukbang”.

Next,…

The Arya Stark Gender Debate It’s the first and, so far, only Game of Thrones-related video I’ve posted. There are more to come. Here, I discuss an issue that people felt compelled to debate on even in this day and age. Disclaimer: I did say “It does not matter” whether Arya Stark was or was not.

This is my channel, by the way: THE SANDBOX SHOW.