SMART ART

Last week two new pieces of artwork arrived that I had ordered to hang in my office at home (and they look absolutely amazing!). Not wanting to break the bank, but still wanting something unique, I went with some customized art. I know you are probably thinking of those awful pop art prints that hung everywhere at one time, or a massive black and white family shot that has been blown up on to a canvas… you can relax, my taste is a tad more sophisticated. I went with two specific items – and not only are they great for home, but can add a unique feel to an office.

1. A customized map which is available in any colour, size, pattern you like. It comes with pins so you can track any location around the world and you can print whatever wording you like on it too (mine is pictured above).
Perfect for –
a) Remembering family holidays
b) As a gift (especially a wedding present)
c) Business – hang it in reception or a meeting room so you can show office locations around the world

2. A “Favourite Things”. All of your cherished things – quotes, holiday locations, people, movies, experiences, dates, food, values – all on one canvas and the list is endless. Every house should have one. And again completely tailored and available in any colour and size.
Perfect for –
a) Children’s rooms
b) Gifts
c) Business – Company values, office locations, customer lists… whatever your style.

Best place to source this from? After a lot of research from all over the globe, I found one supplier who provides not only a high quality finished product, but has the artistic prowess to design something special for each individual.

Check out the BLANK website to see for yourself – http://www.blankbespokeart.com/Gallery

The best thing… the customized art starts from only USD$425 and they can be shipped anywhere in the world!

HOST WITH THE MOST

I am the first to admit I am much better at attending dinner parties than giving them – my strength is eating and drinking rather than cooking and hosting!

Dinner parties aren’t a recent fad from the 70’s, the earliest one has been traced back to a 12,000-year-old site in Israel where the remains of two cows and 71 tortoises, plus fire pits and shaman bones were found – definitely more than two courses worth. Romans were also great at dinner parties, lots of sitting around in togas and eating peeled grapes – a dinner party anyone would like to get invited to.

Attending or hosting one this weekend? Here are some golden rules to guide you through the next dinner party –

As a host you must provide alcohol, and as a guest you must bring it. And the host should always serve guests’ wine immediately.

People know how much Yellow Tail wine costs – always buy a good bottle of wine to take. It costs a small fortune to put on a dinner party so bringing cheap wine is just rude.

Smoking cigarettes without asking permission is unacceptable.

Brush up on your table manners – slurping/eating noises, eating with your mouth open, picking your teeth and blowing your nose on napkins should just not happen.

What ever happened to the cheese course at dinner parties? Hosts, don’t be scared to bring back the cheese!!!

Get some white wine on ice – it is the most popular alcoholic drink for that special meal, being served at 82% of dinner parties.

Guests lists are just as important and here are the popular must have’s and no thank you’s!

NO’s – Hitler, Charles Manson, OJ Simpson, Sarah Palin and Kim Jong II.
YES’s – Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presley.

And remember lunch can sometimes be better than dinner as you have a whole afternoon and evening ahead!

WWW.SHOP

I consider myself an experienced online shopper, buying about 80% of all my clothes and shoes over the internet from stores across the world. And it seems I am not alone…

Global web retail sales are set to hit $1 trillion by 2013, growing at 19.4% a year. And Asia is the growth market – it will overtake Europe this year in online sales with growth of 27.5% to become the world’s leading online shopping region.

Amazon and eBay are still the most popular global shopping sites (282 and 224 million visitors a month), and China’s Alibaba is next, followed by Apple and Japan’s Rakuten.

No longer are you limited by shipping either, as “buy for you” and “ship for you” services make it possible to buy from anywhere. My favourite shopping sites:

www.shopbop.com
www.netaporter.com
www.theoutnet.com
www.mrporter.com (for the guys)
www.yoox.com
www.shopstyle.com (to source it all)

But if you aren’t an online shopper and prefer to put your money elsewhere consider online stocks. In 2010, the Online Retail Index performed at 36% while the S&P 500 was 12.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial 11%.

Sources: Forrester, Goldman Sachs

WIRED WEDNESDAY – Networked

A Cisco survey of 2,800 twentysomethings across 14 countries said they would accept a lower-paying job in exchange for more latitude regarding the use of social media, ability to work from home, and choice of mobile phone talent.

If you are lucky to be able to access social media sites already at work – you may want to bookmark these and use your online time to your advantage by networking across the globe from your desk.

LinkedIn: a networking site to connect online
Ecademy: connects business people through its online network, blog and message-board chats
Focus: where business professionals can help each other with their business decisions by accessing research and peer expertise
YorZ: networking/job site
Xing: helps you find experts at the click of a button, market yourself and open up new sales channels
Facebook: not just for posting photos… advertising opportunities, event promotion and alumni
Care2: the global network for organizations and people who Care2 make a difference… is your business going green?
Gather: this thinking community talks about books, health, money, news and more to ignite discussions on politics, business and entertainment. This will help your company tap into its target audience and find out what they want.
MEETin.org: acquire contacts in your city on MEETin.org, and then organize an event so that you can meet face-to-face.
Tribe: Unique online communities where you can search for favorite restaurants, events, clubs and more (but not available everywhere yet).

WIRED WEDNESDAY – Sonos Music

All the music you want. All over your house. All from the palm of your hand!

A few months ago I did a review on Spotify (my music provider source) and mentioned using Sonos as my stereo at home. So what is a Sonos? Think of a magical spell that plays any song you want, in any room in your house.

The system can be controlled by Android, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, Mac, Windows and is customizable – all you need is a zone bridge and player and you can control everything wirelessly via your phone. No need to plug in anything else.

Costs are approx. $299-$399 for the player and $49 for the bridge.

And of course it looks stylish too!

www.sonos.com

WIRED WEDNESDAY

Working too hard and need some downtime in front of the tv… LG’s stunning 55-Inch OLED 3D TV is likely to be the first 3D set that showcases the in-home potential of 3D viewing, so the 3D footage looks about as lifelike and immersive as possible. The tv is only 4mm thick so is basically thinner than any artwork framed on your walls.

The price? It will probably cost around $10,000, but as you know, it doesn’t take long for the cost of new technology to fall, so hang in there.