Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas Giveaway 2013!

Off on a Whim is holding their yearly Christmas Giveaway Contest!
These three wire-wrapped Christmas tree ornaments will be given away to three random winners!

Entry is easy! Follow the link to Rafflecopter (an outside application designed to keep track of entries so that a fair winner is chosen!), and follow instruction. Only one step is necessary to enter:
LIKE Off on a Whim on FB! The rest is optional for additional entry points!

Contest closes at midnight on Dec. 9th, 2013, Osaka time!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 13, 2013

An Extraordinary View

Wednesday saw me taking a trip over the ocean to visit my family and daughter in the States. The weather gods were good, giving me one of the most beautiful days I've had yet for flying. Clear blue sky on departure, almost no turbulence, and less than 10 hours in the air. 

The airline [Delta] changed their luggage allowance in June, a shock since for the past 2+ decades of living here we've always been allowed 2 suitcases, suddenly getting downsized in half was a surprise. But, the flight food was very good, I ate everything, and the entertainment system was very well set up. 

Despite announcements to turn off all electronic devices, I couldn't help snagging a couple of quick pictures of the view from above the clouds. Views like this are amazing and put me in a surreal place, that little bit of time when you can pretend you really are on top of the world and all is going to work out.

I was surprised to find I was on the right side of the plane to see Mt.Fuji, clear, tall, above the clouds, in full glory and beauty. I think this is one of the most amazing views I've ever had of the mountain, and believe me, I've had many, including the half a year I lived right next to it.

S this trip has started off quite well, and I'm thinking the break will do me good!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Social Media: Trying to Do it Right!

My long-time friend and international best-selling author, Taylor Stevens, recently sent out a newsletter discussing How to Use Social Media Right. AND, Off on a Whim was very pleasantly surprised to be featured as one of the 'They're Doing it Right!' examples :)

(Taylor's Munroe series at present has three published books and one on its way to publishing. The rights to turn her first book into a movie have been purchased by James Cameron, cool!!)

Here's what Taylor has to say:

The Thing About Social Media...

When I do writer events I’m often asked about social media and how best to use it so I thought I’d give you an overview of my thoughts on the subject.

Advice on which sites to choose, how often to post, why one venue is better than the other, etc., is endless and, in truth, these are personal decisions based on each individual’s preferences and there’s really no right or wrong. Where I do often see writers and/or those in other industries flub their social media opportunities is in how they interact with their online communities and in what they say. I’m by no means a social media expert but some of these mistakes are pretty basic and I see them so often I can’t help but offer my two cents. 

I think one of the biggest underlying misperceptions about social media is that somehow it’s a magic potion that will sell lots of widgets—that just by being online and gathering Facebook likes or Twitter followers that these numbers will somehow equate into sales—or that by having a page or a website the book or product will be quickly and easily discovered. I wish this was true, but it’s not. Social media is a tool that authors are expected to utilize in promoting their work but like all tools, its usefulness is only as good as the skill with which it is utilized. Poorly used, social media can be worse than not being online at all. 

Authors and small businesses often seem forget that the social networks are sites where individuals with like-minded passions connect over points of interest (friends, family, fan clubs, hobbies, or what-have-you) not to have products shoved in their faces. When they ignore or forget this, they become another version of the same kind of spam that we all hate. When it comes to authors specifically, I see this in the form of multiple “by my book” updates followed by numerous links to their books, followed by links to every single positive review ever written about their work. 

If you’re doing that, stop. If you’re just getting into social media, avoid it. It’s a mistake to confuse social media with advertising. The key word in social media is “social.” Social media is about genuine interaction, it’s about giving not getting. If your expertise involves how to take care of your pet goldfish and you are passionate about goldfish, then for goodness sake, let your online interaction be about goldfish. Those who are likeminded will find you and connect with you and that connection will be based on something authentically you and authentically them.

If you watch the social media accounts of best-selling authors, you’ll notice that they rarely, if ever, do “self-promotion” stuff. Instead they post news, they post personal thoughts, or quirky things that they’ve discovered and enjoyed. In essence those who really have a handle on their online “magic,” interact with their online contacts as friends not dollar signs and they do this because they are genuinely having fun with their fans and readers and aren’t there under some other guise or pretense. They are REAL and their audience loves this. And that’s what successful social media is really all about.

Think about it: If individuals have connected with you online, either a) they already know who you are and have their own opinion of your products and all you’ll accomplish with “buy my stuff” behavior is annoying them, or b) they connected with you online to increase their own exposure which means they don’t care at all what you do or what you write and nothing you link to is going to change their minds. The reason individuals connect with you online is because they want to connect with YOU, the genuine you. So be genuine and be you. They stick around when you offer them value, and because value means different things to different people, this is an ever-evolving target—but one thing value definitely is not is you shoving your products in people’s faces over and over. When you write your book about how your pet goldfish solves murder mysteries, let your friends and readers know about it—just don’t shove it in their faces every single day. 

A very good example of someone who does social media right, who gets sales without ever advertising for them, is my friend at Off on a Whim. She builds custom-made jewelry using leather (or silver) and power stones. [Power stones is a term very familiar in Japan, where she lives, and for which we don’t have a direct equivalent in English, but essentially her pieces use stones ranging from common to precious that have specific meanings and are built around whatever a person might need in his/her life.] The Off on a Whim Facebook page generates income and business, but her primary reason for putting the page together was as a way to share what she loves and to have fun. This genuineness comes through and creates a visibility she could never get by constantly posting about products for sale.

The golden rule of online interaction is this: it’s not about you or your ego, it’s about making a genuine connection with those who want to interact with you. When you’re in desperate need of validation and you want to post that awesome review you just got, think twice before you copy/paste/share because you’re posting for the wrong reason.

* * *
The thrill is in the chase; to prove to myself what I am capable of.

--TaylorFind Taylor's FB page here: Taylor Stevens, Author
Find my Etsy Shop here: Off on a Whim Jewelry

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Superman: Man of Steel -- A Biased Review

By Erinn from Off on a Whim: part-time teacher, part-time jewelry designer, full-time mother

Be warned! There may be spoilers.

I told my dad, if he wanted to get an honest review of Superman: Man of Steel, he'd better not ask me, cause I'm biased and will have nothing bad to say about it.

But, the truth is, I really loved the movie. I thought they did a good job. 

Before going to see it, I was worried about a few things: 

  • The re-telling of the story, messing up the storyline from past versions, and who wants to sit through ANOTHER re-telling??
  • Henry Cavil as Superman? Christopher Reeve can never be replaced, Brandon Routh did a very good job, Tom Welling pulled it off as well, and don't forget Dean Cain, why introduce another new face??

And I was under the impression that he reveals himself as both Clark Kent AND Superman to the world, which would be a major story change from the original, I wasn't too keen on it. But this turned out to be my own misunderstanding of the movie's story line. 

I was very happily surprised that:

  • The re-telling of the story didn't focus too much on the re-telling, but it was woven into the movie through memories.
  • Henry Cavil as Superman totally rocks. The looks, the size, the muscle, the hair...yah, I can go with it. Christopher R. will always be the best, but Henry Cavil, very good! 
  • I loved that there was more in-depth and plausible explanations for Krypton's destruction, for Zod's incarceration, and why he comes to find Cal-El.
  • Russel Crowe as Jor-el! Really cool! And Kevin Costner as Jonathan, loved it! 

  • While my brother begs to differ, I loved Amy Adams as Lois. So she isn't totally HOT, or she wasn't portrayed that way, I loved it cause why does every female lead have to be hot? Superman still fell for her, as he always does, as he always will, and she is down to earth, normal, intense reporter strong woman. 

  • People have complained about the destruction in the movie. So yes, there was a lot of destruction, but what else are you going to get when super heroes and super villains are fighting it out in a congested city full of glass buildings?? I like my superhero movies full of great fights and stuff getting destroyed, and I'm mature enough to realize this really only happens in a movie.
  • General Zod: I actually really liked him as the villain. And his crew, they were believable, they were bad, they were evil. Very good. 

My dad asked me what my favorite scene in the movie was, and while he was sure it would be when Clark comes out of the ocean half undressed and in search of some clothing... it was actually the scene when Superman attacks the evil Kryptonian in full anger and rage for daring to lift a hand against his mom, and he's yelling something along the lines of 'Don't f**k with my Mom!' Yeh, as a mom, I really get it! Sons going to your defense and all that, totally cool!

So, no, I have no regrets about spending $60 plus gas plus snacks plus parking to see the movie, and when it hits DVD, it shall be on its way to my house! 

PS. Did anyone catch the Lexcorp trucks??

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

500 Fan - 2 Year Anniversary Giveaway!

Celebrating Off on a Whim's 500 Fan and 2-year Anniversary, we are having a giveaway for three pairs of these fun, funky, trendy hoop earrings with gemstone chips!

Entry is simple!! Follow the instructions below! You only have to be a fan to enter, but there are a few ways to improve your chances by sharing with your friends, following us on Pinterest or Instragram.

Good luck and have fun!

PS. you can also find us on Etsy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 12, 2013

Birthday Parties!

Once in awhile Off on a Whim takes a break for stuff like birthday parties!

Last night some of my besties came over with food, drinks, presents and party spirit, ready to celebrate my friend's son's 8th birthday...and...since half the crew were absent for my birthday, I got a bit of cake too!

Parties are always funner with lots of good food...

... and lots of good drinks! ... Like, mojitos, or pina coladas, or something with rum in it!

And of course birthday parties for little boys need special birthday cakes!

And Little Boys need time to play!

But I made the mistake of giving them a can of spray string ... never again!

And as always, Little Boys are fascinated by things with wheels!

And I lucked out with a few more birthday presents :)

Thank you my lovely friends for making me feel special.. again! You guys never fail!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Interviewed! By Fran-Japani!

I had a chance to do this interview for Fran at Fran-Japani. She actually asked me about a month ago, but life had its own plans with getting my daughter ready for moving overseas, and I finally finished the interview last week! I have to say, her intro made me smile and is leaving me with a happy feeling today! Thanks Fran for the opportunity and the really nice things you said!

Click the link to read the interview!
Interview by Fran-Japani with Off on a Whim