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As an actor and producer of 35, the first scripted web series to stream live on the Internet, Kathryn Jones is reinventing the concept of "theater techie." No longer is it only about shadowed souls clad in head-to-toe black, frantically whispering into headsets, trying to perfect the lighting on Juliet's face as she waxes poetic about her happy dagger right before plunging the rusty tool into her broken heart. No - because of Miss Jones and her crew, theater techies now perform a much more visible bow at curtain call. In fact - curtain call has taken the form of rolling credits behind the glow of our computer screens, and the theater techie, now clad with multiple cameras and vigilant live-editing skills, has risen, lens first, into the limelight.

Founded by three women, Better Left Unsaid is a cross between a play, an online video and a live-streamed event - and with already six performances under their belt, Jones (producer) has already broken cross-industry ground by merging theater, technology and social media.

Written by Joey Brennaman, the play follows eight lives as their secrets are revealed, ultimately asking the question "How well do you know the people you love?" Performed in front of a live audience in Manhattan, the production is shot with multiple cameras, mixed in real time, and streamed live so that anyone anywhere in the world can watch, and interact during the show and via the post-show discussions 'What You Said.'

Don't leave Better Left Unsaid unsaid! SPREAD the word. And WATCH their second round of live performances, starting THIS Friday, in your pajamas at home or with armloads of flowers and applause at Center Stage in Flatiron District (48 West 21st Street, 4th Floor, between 5th and 6th Ave., Subway: F or N/R to 23rd).

Theater and online performance times:

Friday, Feb 4 – 8pm EST

Saturday, Feb 5 – 8pm EST

Sunday, Feb 6 – 3pm EST (optimized for European audiences respectively - 9PM GMT )

Sunday, Feb 6 – 7pm EST 
Theater tickets are $18 while interactive online viewing tickets are a suggested donation of $2-$18.

For more information and tickets, visit www.betterleftunsaid.tv.


 
 
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There is a space that exists between ambition and success, the dull and delicious, static and fresh – a demure gap of inspiration that can catalyze global movements, or remain entirely invisible.

That space is called the AHA. A flash instant, in which our entire perspectives are shifted, swirled and flipped inside out – revealing a new playing field of ideas and opportunities.

My spicy soul sister, Shauna Mei, harnessed her AHA moment and launched AHAlife this past Monday. And curious minds all over the world will soon be kowtowing in gratitude.

AHAlife.com is a discovery platform of innovative lifestyle products built for savvy, socially conscious consumers. The experience they have created is unerringly reflective of how we are growing as a society. As our lives become more and more cramped with information and shiny new things, we naturally begin searching for ways to filter and curate. We yearn to cut out the noise, so that we can save time and focus on what’s most important, interesting, inspiring. Which is exactly what AHAlife does for the consumer palette. 

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Their mantra, “1 product. 24 hours. 100% inspiring,” leverages urgency, scarcity and crowd-sourcing to break the heavymold of e-commerce by creating a shopping process where the only sales pitch is one we make to ourselves. Because the real ‘aha’ behind AHAlife is their growing network of curators who suggest fiercely inspired products from all over the world.  And though that list of curators includes the likes of Diane Von Furstenberg, Tim Gunn and Vivienne Tam, anyone can submit products for consideration. The platform gives us the chance to be influential tastemakers, ultimately guiding ourselves to become a new generation of more sophisticated, conscious and self-generated consumers. You could say AHAlife is a tastemaker of tastemakers. And it is precisely this move that will be the source of their viral success.

Hey Shauna. You always said you loved when people make everyday objects beautiful. Well – look what you have done to the entire industries of e-commerce and media. You. Go. Girl.

There is a force that sits quietly, waiting to be noticed. A bolt of lightning willing the Earth to obtain a charge.

That force is called the AHA. It stops time, allowing us to discover and recognize a piece of life at its fullest. And it is that AHA that pulls our everyday ordinary into a state of infinite beauty.

*For more information, sign up to be a member at AHAlife.com

 
 
As if it wasn't bad enough that Hootsuite went and robbed me of their old, fresher user interface (see previous post), today I was also robbed of my beautiful MacBook Pro. As in, someone came into my boyfriend's apartment while I was ASLEEP, and took my baby away into the underground world of crack addicts, pawn shops and dirty bastards watching midget porn on the 15 inches of my laptop's glossy screen.  This is where the mind of a mother, whose Apple child has just been kidnapped, goes.

That thing was like my second brain and heart. The machine is replaceable, but the content is seriously priceless. Which is why I'm hating myself for not having backed up my work since October. That was nine fucking months ago. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

This is the collection of incidents that led to this sad day:

My boyfriend, B, lives in the hood. He's a teacher, and therefore teaches where he is needed. And having moved to NYC not too long ago, his job and his unfamiliarity with the city landed him smack in the middle of Brownsville, two train stops away from where they filmed 'Brooklyn's Finest.' You know - the movie about the cops and drug dealers murdering each other. Yeah. That's two blocks away.

So I spend a portion of my time in the hood because B is there - and mostly everything seems okay because we have good neighbors, and B's apartment is part of a new section of housing on a one-sided, quiet street. But hood rats have legs, and they are around during the day. And they watch you, and wait. Or they're bored and decide to use any apartment they can slide their little greasy asses into, as a free-for-all candy store. Fucking bastards.

I never take naps in the middle of the day - but I've been working so many cross-border hours with China that I finally had to lie down this afternoon.

B never comes back for lunch in the middle of the day, and he just happened to today.

Those rat bastards must of seen him leaving after lunch and figured no one was in the apartment. 

Except I was. Dead asleep. IN the bedroom, while they snuck happily around and swiped my baby *tear* because I had left it sitting in the living room in all its silver glory. I wonder if they saw me lying in the dark. If they did, I hope it gave them a jolt, sending them scurrying out the back door with their tails between their legs, their heart skipping a beat. With my laptop in hand, but nevertheless, scared.

Ugh.

I won't even tell you how many policemen and women came storming into my apartment, more curious about my decor than the crime, more suspicious of B than the actual thief. 

What a fucking day. Lesson learned. 

Move forward. Make more memories. Take more pictures. Re-do a little bit of what was lost, and BACK IT UP PEOPLE. Losing the computer itself hurt. But losing all the memories and work was absolutely devastating.
 
 
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A few weeks ago, Mashable put out an article on how to customize a few real life treats via the Internet. Among them: mix your own chocolate bar, smoke your own jerky, create your own pet-food, shoes, handbags, shirts. And the one that stuck out the most to me (other than the jerky): customize your own jewelry.

Say what?

Every girl likes diamonds right?

And boys (in many cases) are the ideal deliverers.

Thanks, pop culture. It’s because of you that I have this grossly generalized fantasy in my head:

Girl meets Boy.

Boy is smitten.

First date.

First kiss.

Move in.


“Dear Boyfriend,

When you propose, it will preferably be on a cruise to Costa Rica.

Think that’s too cliché? I’ll ask again when our mouths are full of lobster, and we’re riding a horse named Steve through the rainforest.

But most importantly, I would like you to present me with a 10 carat, princess-cut diamond in a platinum  setting . . . or was it a marquise in white gold with two emeralds on the side. Or maybe I . . .

On second thought. Don’t propose until I consult my jeweler to find out what the heck it is I want.

Love, your adoring, baby darling, shmoopie.”



Well, this is how it used to go in my head anyway. Except now, I want a wedding on the beach, and maybe a proposal that takes place on a ferris wheel. And the ring. Jewelry is either supposed to be extravagant or sentimental, right? So maybe expecting a bajillion-carat Harry Winston is a bit much. So, let’s go for sentimental. You know, like a test of how much the boy knows me. (It seems the boy never wins in my fantasies)

Except I haven’t found any jewelry that’s quite up to my taste and sentiment. Until now. Which is where Gemvara steps in – with the perfect combination of two things I love: bling and tech.

Everyone’s a critic and I am no exception. Owning a domain name and fingers with which to type a blog suddenly makes me an expert consumer, right? Well, it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. I want my cake and eat it too. That sort of thing. Which makes it no surprise that one of the first things I asked Cheryl Kremkow, Gemvara's VP of Content and Merchandising, was whether customers were uncomfortable with the idea of creating and buying jewelry online because they couldn’t try it on. I mean, half the fun of buying bling is putting it on and imagining the subsequent avalanche of compliments. Luckily, Kremkow was incredibly sweet, especially when pointing out that even if you are creating custom jewelry at a store, there is no way to actually visualize or touch the exact piece until it is too made – which is sometimes too late. But on Gemvara, you can pick and choose until you get it just right.  In fact, each gemstone has 16 different varieties, and there are eight different metals to choose from. So, take a standard ring, let’s say – a diamond with two supporting stones – add 16 different choices for each stone, and eight different metals, and thousands of designs: you do the math. The possibilities are endless. And here’s the cool part: you can SEE every single one of those possibilities, as long as your patience matches the number of times your index finger can click the mouse.

In fact, the endless customer stories Kremkow receives on a daily basis is proof of the platinum pudding that Gemvara is feeding a very hungry niche.

“One of the surprises for me, is the different colors of engagement stones. People want something different, and we can give that to them. Sapphire, amythest, emerald – even a black diamond. We’ve seen birthstones, and if it’s a second marriage and there are kids, the ring might even have the birthstones of the kids. I’ve discovered that people want to do so much more than just a diamond. There really are no rules. We want to help our customers express themselves. If you’re only going to do this once, you should do it right!"


So, I went online and expressed myself. Here is my wish list:

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Ok, so I happened to choose the most expensive engagement ring of the bunch. Lucky boyfriend.
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Thangka Pendant in 14K Rose Gold
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So many colors, so little time!
So that’s the bling part. Now the tech.

One of the reasons Gemvara is doing so well is because this sort of thing has never been done before. And one of the main reasons it’s doing so well now is that the technology is just starting to exist for jewelry designers. The CAD cam (computer aided design) is just now becoming more accessible. And along with CAD comes a whole new community of designers who are becoming well-versed in this tool. And that’s what tech is for right? A niche need surfaces; a tool is built to aid that need; a community is born to aid that tool; everyone goes home with a nice piece of bling.

And the women in tech? No women developers yet, although their Chairman of the Board is female, and a lot of their designers are women. But Gemvara is looking to expand their team, looking for: online marketers, graphic designers, front end developers, and people who are familiar with the CAD system, particularly those who use Rhino and Matrix design and manufacturing platforms. So if any of you ladies (or gents) are partial to the industry of bling, you might want to consider a Gemvara career. And if not, you can just join the rest of us who are relishing in the luxury of creating our own treasure troves of diamonds, sapphires, rubies and rivers of yellow gold. Not a bad way to indulge in a few hours online, I’d say.

For more info, visit Gemvara’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

 
 
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This past Saturday (May 8th) saw the Launch of Girls in Tech China

WHAT an experience:

Because I planned the entire event in Beijing . . .FROM New York.
Because I have an amazing team (special shout out to @acrosstheC and @eiyssa for being excellent mid-wives for the deliverance of #GITChina).
Because we launched an amazing #GITChina cocktail: Girls in TECHquila by @beijingboyce.
Because we had an amazing panel of female Influencers (Tudou, Wall Street Journal, Mobinode, Zebra Media) moderated by Twittamentary's @sioksiok
Because we officially announced the 2010 Search for Girl 2.0 (to be launched on June 1st).
Because it's history in the making. 


Video of the event will be out soon. Watch this space. 
 
 
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I remember when Facebook just started out. It was called The Facebook and only circulated among a few universities, Vandy being one of them. I didn’t want to join at first, because I thought it was an egotistical way to plaster pictures of yourself online; eventually, I was too curious not to. And then it was love at first sight. Since I moved around a lot during my childhood, Facebook found my kindergarten playmates 15 years older, helped me keep in touch with high school friends and stalk ex-lovers. And even though I have an account, I was never a MySpace gal. Facebook, with its simple design, straightforward info boxes and easy search system held my loyalty. It was just that good.

But as all passionate relationships that happen too fast go, things spun out of control. My world of simple profile templates started receiving heroes ability and be a billionaire! requests, friends for sale and emo bands invitations, and 125 other extraneous piles of poo that I am still scooping and tossing.  And then the tracker started, recording our every move: relationship to single, updated photos, Jenny is-es. It was almost too much to handle. But I held strong; I staunchly defended my Facebook against My Spacers, and faithfully checked in every day.

Today, my Facebook crossed into adulthood. Her (Facebook is a She) beautiful, untainted innocence was shattered into a trillion tiny shards that pierced my heart in places I didn't know could be pierced.

I was puttering around my apartment when I heard Her Chat make its friendly popping sound, letting me know someone had sent me a message. I ran to the computer and saw that one of my best friends from high school, Courtney F, had messaged me. That's when the ball dropped, the goose was cooked, the cat skinned, the candy stolen, the rug pulled, the last straw plucked, the pie burnt and the fat lady sung. Facebook as I knew it, had changed forever.

I pasted our conversation below (with director’s notes in italics):

Couldn't retrieve chat his8:45pmCourtney
Hey

8:46pmCourtney
Jenny???

9:01pmJenny (Hooray! I haven’t talked to Courts in ages)
HI
muah muah muah

9:01pmCourtney
How are you?

9:01pmJenny
i'm good - YOU?
you're back in MA?

9:03pmCourtney
nope

I am stranded in London
i got mugged at a gun point, it was a brutal experience, all cash i had on me were stolen and my credit card was collected too now i'm left with no money here

9:08pmJenny (Wait, WHAT? Poor Courts!)
oh NO
have you gotten hold of your parents?

9:09pmJenny (Hmm, I should to be more supportive. But I’m in China! How am I supposed to help?)
is there anything I can do? (Wait, I know!)
I have a credit card

9:11pmJenny
hello?

9:12pmJenny
COURTNEY

9:13pmCourtney
yea i have but the $$ they wired isn't enough

9:13pmJenny
how much do you need

9:13pmCourtney
I need you to loan me $800 to add up with the $$ my parent's wired to me

9:13pmJenny
Sure (That’s weird; Courts would never say anything like “I need you to loan me . . .” She must really be frantic.)

are you at the airport? (Little red flag going up. Maybe I should double check, just to be safe.)

tell me something only you would know so that I know this is you

9:14pmCourtney
nope i am still in the hotel.. The Hotel Manager is letting me stay here until i can get help
I am also using his PC to talk to you right now

9:16pmJenny (She’s not answering my question . Come on, Jenny – put your thinking cap on. How can I check to see if she is really stranded at the Hotel? And why couldn’t her parents just wire her more money? Wait! I can call her mom. But I don’t have her phone number. Hmm. Who would have that number? )

are you going to tell me something only we know together? (Yes! I know! Haley just moved back to MA – she would know. I check Haley’s profile, which says:  Haley is laughing about CF’s hacked facebook page – she was not mugged and is not in London.)

9:22pmCourtney
jenny???

9:22pmJenny
sorry
i can't help you

(My god – I almost just gave her my credit card number.  A rush of anxiety fills my fingertips, like I almost got hit by a bus but didn’t, but then thought what if I had. Shudder.)

9:22pmCourtney
the server is kinda slow
why not?

9:23pmJenny (Getting angry)
because the Courtney I know isn't in London

9:23pmCourtney
we went to the same high school
Jenny

9:23pmJenny
what was your roommate's name, sophomore year?

9:25pmCourtney
Its you Jenny

9:25pmJenny (Mother-fucking weirdo who can’t even speak English. Who the fuck is this person?)
sorry, wrong answer (you fuckwad)
you should do more research before you pretend to be someone else

(Temporary panic; what if this person has kept me on chat long enough to figure out my Facebook password? Can that happen? Maybe I shouldn’t be such a smart ass to him)

who are you anyway?
bastard.

(Oh god. He’s going to send me a virus. Oh shit. He probably already checked out my blog and looked me up in the Vanderbilt alumni section, or called my office. Damn it. Stupid hackers.)

9:30pmCourtney is offline.

*

Oh the horror. I will never be able to look in Facebook’s eyes again. The damage cannot be undone. The cherry has been popped, chopped, dyed and fried. (Cue sobbing).

 
 
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A few weeks ago, Mashable put out an article on how to customize a few real life treats via the Internet. Among them: mix your own chocolate bar, smoke your own jerky, create your own pet-food, shoes, handbags, shirts. And the one that stuck out the most to me (other than the jerky): customize your own jewelry.

Say what?

Every girl likes diamonds right?

And boys (in many cases) are the ideal deliverers.

Thanks, pop culture. It’s because of you that I have this grossly generalized fantasy in my head:

Girl meets Boy.
Boy is smitten.
First date.
First kiss.
Move in.

“Dear Boyfriend,

When you propose, it will preferably be on a cruise to Costa Rica.

Think that’s too cliché? I’ll ask again when our mouths are full of lobster, and we’re riding a horse named Steve through the rainforest.

But most importantly, I would like you to present me with a 10 carat, princess-cut diamond in a platinum  setting . . . or was it a marquise in white gold with two emeralds on the side. Or maybe I . . .

On second thought. Don’t propose until I consult my jeweler to find out what the heck it is I want.


Love, your adoring darling baby cakes shmoopie.”

Well, this is how it used to go in my head anyway. Except now, I want a wedding on the beach, and maybe a proposal that takes place on a ferris wheel. And the ring. Jewelry is either supposed to be extravagant or sentimental, right? Well, maybe expecting a10-carat Harry Winston is a bit much. So let's go for sentimental. You know, like a test of how much the boy knows me. (It seems the boy never wins in my fantasies)

Except I haven’t found any jewelry that’s quite up to my taste and sentiment. Until now. Which is where Gemvara steps in – with the perfect combination of two things I love: bling and tech.

Everyone’s a critic and I am no exception. Owning a domain name and fingers with which to type a blog suddenly makes me an expert consumer, right? Well, it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. I want my cake and eat it too. That sort of thing. Which makes it no surprise that one of the first things I asked Cheryl Kremkow, Gemvara’s VP of Content and Merchandising, was whether customers were uncomfortable with the idea of creating and buying jewelry online because they couldn’t try it on. I mean, half the fun of buying bling is putting it on and imagining the subsequent avalanche of compliments, right? Luckily, Kremkow was incredibly sweet, especially when pointing out that even if you are creating custom jewelry at a store, there is no way to actually visualize or touch the exact piece until it is made – which is sometimes too late. But on Gemvara, you can pick and choose until you get it just right.  In fact, each gemstone has 16 different varieties, and there are eight different metals to choose from. So, take a standard ring, let’s say – a diamond with two supporting stones, 16 choices for each stone – you do the math. The possibilities are endless. And here’s the awesome part: you can SEE every single one of those possibilities, as long as your patience matches the number of times your index finger can click the mouse.


In fact, the endless customer stories Kremkow receives on a daily basis are proof of the platinum pudding that Gemvara is filling a very hungry niche.

“One of the surprises for me, is the different colors of engagement stones. People want something different, and we can give that to them. Sapphire, amythest, emerald – even a black diamond. We’ve seen birthstones, and if it’s a second marriage and there are kids, the ring might even have the birthstones of the kids. I’ve discovered that people want to do so much more than just a diamond. There really are no rules. We want to help our customers express themselves. If you’re only going to do this once, you should do it right!”

So, I went to express myself. This is what I just added to my wish list:
Picture
Ok, so I happened to choose the most expensive engagement ring of the bunch. Lucky boyfriend.
Picture
Thangka Pendant in 14K Rose Gold
Picture
So many colors, so little time!
So that’s the bling part. Now the tech.

One of the reasons Gemvara is doing so well is because this sort of thing has never been done before. And it's being done so well Now because the technology is finally starting to exist for jewelry designers. The CAD cam (computer aided design) is just now becoming more accessible. And along with CAD comes a whole new community of designers who are versing themselves in this tool. And that’s what tech is for right? A niche need surfaces; a tool is built to aid that need; a community is born to aid that tool; everyone goes home with a nice piece of jewelry.

And the women in tech? No women developers just yet, although their Chairman of the Board is female, and a lot of their designers are women. In fact, Gemvara is looking to expand their team, looking for: online marketers, graphic designers, front end developers, and people who are familiar with the CAD system, particularly those who use Rhino and Matrix design and manufacturing platforms. So if any of you ladies (or gents) are partial to the industry of bling, you might want to consider a Gemvara career. Or if not, you can just join the rest of us who are relishing in the luxury of creating our own combinations of diamonds and sapphires and rubies and rivers of yellow gold. Not a bad way to spend a few indulgent hours online, I'd say.


For more info, you can also visit their Facebook or Twitter pages.