Monday, December 12, 2011

Second-Generation Hispanics Prefer English

Second generation Hispanics, particularly those of the Millennial age, are acclimated into the American culture and prefer English over Spanish. This is the word of several Hispanic marketing experts I've spoken with, but I've also seen it for myself.

We share our church with a Spanish church, and I've seen two families of young children switch from the Spanish service to the English service. The kids are happier because they get to hang out with the American teens and youth, and they can relate better to the message because English is either their first language or their primary language, having learned it very young in life.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

iPhone or Android? What's Your Preference?

I just had a conversation with an SVP of a major digital agency about one of their clients' mobile campaigns. The campaign was promoting both an iPhone and Android app, and I asked him, could I get the app on my BlackBerry? I wasn't speaking hypothetically. It happened to be an app that I would really like to have.

He said, unfortunately, no, and told me that, for the most part, iPhones and Androids are replacing BlackBerrys, and within the next few years, BlackBerrys will cease to exist. He said that, like myself, most BlackBerry owners have been transitioning, or are planning to transition up to either an iPhone or Android when they're ready for a new phone.

So I asked, off the record, do you have a preference? This is a guy whose company programs campaigns for both models every day, so who knows the challenges and benefits better, right? First, I asked, is the bug/crashing issue the same in Android vs. iPhone as it is in the PC/Mac world? He said yes. If you go with an iPhone, you are going to have a more protected environment because they control everything. But with an Android, you have many more options of what you can do with the phone.

Finally, I asked, is the price differential between the two similar to the price differential between the PC and Mac? And he said, surprisingly, they are priced on parity. That's good to know that price is not a deciding factor.

Do you have an Android or an iPhone? If so, what is your opinion/preference? I would love to hear from you. I won't be changing out my phone for probably another 12 months, and I would appreciate some real world opinions before I make my decision. Thanks to all.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Herman Cain Can Have His Book Back

About 10 years ago, I attended the annual Direct Marketing Association conference at which Herman Cain was the featured keynote speaker.

He had just released his book, Leadership is Common Sense, and was signing autographs after his speech, so I bought a copy and stood in line. I never got around to reading the book, but put it on a special shelf I keep of autographed books.

When he ran for the highest government office, I pulled the book out and decided I would read it. I haven't gotten around to it yet, but now, I don't see the point. Not only do I not want to read the book, I don't even want to keep it. I feel it taints the other books on the shelf. Just thinking about touching the book makes me want to wash my hands. With bleach.

I think it's time to give Herman Cain his book back. I no longer need it.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Housing Market Not Improving Any Time Soon

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I recently interviewed a real estate expert who told me that there are so many foreclosures on the market today that it would take three years to free up space in inventory for people to sell their homes at a reasonable price.

Also, I did some math on the 1987 stock market crash/recession. Nine years later, housing prices had not yet bounced back. I bought a condo in 1992 in sold it in 1996. At that time (nine years after the crash), it was assessed by the bank for $2,000 less than what we were asking, and what we were asking was $14,000 less than what we paid for it!

Then, in 2002, another six years later, I bought a condo again. At that time, prices were at the top of the range and I was in a bidding war. I actually lost a condo to someone who outbid me by $2,000. So from 1996 to 2002, just six years, prices inflated and went through the roof.

I have been saying all along that this recession is as bad as 1987. So does that mean it will take more than nine years (or even 15 years - the total amount of time it took to go from rock bottom to its peak) for the housing market to recover?  That's my prediction. We are three years into it and this expert told me it would take at least another three years to clear foreclosure inventory. That's six just to level off, then it will take time to get healthy again.

We're all in it for the long haul folks. You might as well paint that room, start that project, or just spend your money on a nice vacation because none of us are going anywhere.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Democracy in Action

Following the death of Libya's dictator Mohammar Khadafi, I find myself thinking back to the capture and deaths of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. To have experienced the downfall of three of the world's most horrific dicators in my lifetime is a blessing.

While we have had bad times, such as 9/11, I also feel blessed to have lived to see the fall of communism in the U.S.S.R., and the taking down of the Berlin Wall.

As they say, we haven't won the war yet, but today, we won the battle. God Bless America, NATO, and all soldiers who stand on the side of freedom and equality for all.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sparky, the Legend

I want to take a moment to acknowledge a dog. Sparky. Sparky was more than a beloved family pet. She was the star of six children’s books authored by my friend Rick Arruzza. Rick traveled around Fairfield County, the country and even the Bahamas giving book readings at elementary schools and would often bring Sparky with him to meet the students. The children loved her, wrote her letters and interacted with her on her very own website.

In this age of abbreviated words through texting and snippets of short information on the Internet, children don’t often read enough. Rick and Sparky did a lot to get children excited about books and reading. Sadly, Sparky passed away on Friday. She will be greatly missed, not just by her family, but by writers everywhere for her efforts in getting children excited about reading. Good job, girl. Rest in peace, Sparky.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Brides Are Beautiful

I was driving down West Ave. in Norwalk yesterday when I saw a bride, her wedding party and all the invitees on the steps of a church. It was a beautiful summer day. The sun was out. The bridesmaids were in yellow gowns. They looked awesome. And the bride, well, let's just say I didn't have to know her to cry.

We all have our own "7 wonders of the world," the things that amaze us and that we think are beautiful. A young bride in a wedding gown is one of those things for me. I couldn't help but turn my head as I sat at the traffic light. I was disappointed when the light turned green. I wanted to keep watching.

My eyes even welled up with tears because she looked so beautiful. A bride in a wedding gown is just so naturally beautiful, I think. Definitely one of life's most beautiful things to behold.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Friday, April 29, 2011

I Think the Royal Couple Should Start a Blog

Wouldn't it be great if Prince William and Princess Kate had a blog? They could tell us what's on their mind and about some of the things they're doing or what they care about. I think it would be a nice way to get involved with the world but still keep it low-key.

It would be nice to have that feel of a personal relationship with the newlyweds and hear their thoughts first-hand.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Why I Watched the Royal Wedding

Some people have asked me why a person my age would be interested in the wedding of a couple of twenty-somethings, and the answer, I think, is rather obvious.

First of all, we all loved Princess Diana. She was the people's princess -- she was one of us. Secondly, we've known William from the time of his birth -- we watched him grow up. To a degree, he is our son -- everyone's son today.

And because of that, we love him. And we're proud of him. Perhaps only women can relate to this. If you're a man and you think this is hogwash, well, you're a man.

So I take this opportunity to say congratulations Prince William and Princess Kate. I wish you a beautiful life, all of God's blessings and health and happiness. Perhaps we'll all live to see their children grow up and get married as well, and then it will be "our" grandson's or granddaughter's wedding day.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Hate February

I hate the winter. I hate the cold. I hate driving in precipitation. So I'm writing this post to let everyone know that the end of the bad weather season is near. There are just 18 days left in February. And the next 5-8 are all going to be above freezing, so hang in there! 

If I close my eyes, I can see the daffodils and the tulips already popping up through the snow. I can hear the birds chirping and I can feel the sun on my face and arms.

Yes it may snow in March, but March snow is wimpy snow. It melts within a couple of days. It can't hold its own. Baseball pitchers and catchers have already reported for training. That's a good start! Spring training will begin soon. Mmmm, I love that fresh smell of glove leather in the springtime.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's lush and green, smells like flowers, is bright as the sun and sounds like a wooden bat hitting a leather baseball. Crack!!! C'mon spring!

The worst is over. Better days are coming!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thanks for Everything, Mom

I know it sounds silly, but I never thought I would see the day when my mother wouldn't be there to pick up the phone. I wonder, never mind the grieving process, how long does it take to simply accept the fact that she's gone? It's hard.

My mom was superwoman. She raised four children on her own. She worked two jobs most of her life. She bought a co-op, then sold that and bought a house. She did all the lawn mowing, the gardening, the gutter cleaning, the painting - inside and out. She hung light fixtures, replaced wall sockets. She was a clean freak. She would hang out of a second story window so she could wash it with ammonia. You couldn't pay me to hang out of a second story window!

I remember she taught me how to say the Hail Mary prayer while she was scrubbing the kitchen floor. I was probably about 7. I wasn't allowed any farther than the doorway. As she worked the linoleum on her hands and knees, she recited a line and I had to repeat it.

She was more a Mr. Fix It than a Martha Stewart or a Betty Crocker -- more Home Depot than Bed, Bath and Beyond. She didn't cook much, but what she did cook, she was the best at. She made the best stew in town. Her turkey on Thanksgiving was moister than anyone's I've ever tasted. She would put ol' Harry, or what ever his name was that year, in the oven around 11 p.m. the night before and keep the oven on low, say around 250. Then she would cook him all night, getting up every half hour to baste him. I think she turned the temp up to 300 or 350 around 6 a.m. Her stuffing recipe was her mother's. It's been handed down through the family, and I make it now.

I specifically remember the day she taught me to ride a bike without training wheels. I was 5. At one point, I asked her, are you holding on? And she said yes. But she wasn't. I turned around and discovered that, for at least the last 30 seconds or so, I had been doing it all by myself.

I was a sick child and she spent a lot of time (and money) running me to doctors and going back and forth to the hospital to visit me. I got a lot of extra attention in those younger years as I worked through my asthma attacks and she never complained.

We didn't get along too well in my teens and twenties (who does?), but in our later years, we became great friends, and spent a lot of time together. When she retired to Arizona, I left my husband behind and spent a week on two different occasions with her, just the two of us. "That's my mom," I told my husband. I have to see her.

As I try to work through each day, the pain is great and the void is large. But I have no regrets, save one: that I can't pick up the phone and call her today. She had a good life and so did I thanks to her hard work and unending love. I love you mom ... till we meet again.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.