Friday, June 27, 2008, My Beef with Baby Carrots, Keeping Up with the Garcias & Black on the Runway: I'm Just Saying

Whatsup geniuses.

I have to apologize for the hiatus. When starting this blog I never intended on having such a lapse in time. Between moving to a new city (hell even a new region of the U.S), searching for an apartment, settling in to a new job and getting my social entrepreneur on I let the blog fall between the cracks and for that I’m sorry. Never again. I got some cool stuff planned for future installments and great guest genius interviews lined up so you can learn more interesting and useful stuff. All in a day’s work.

Thanks to Dee Dee for the encouragement and welcome back to the syndicate.

-elbj Fly Business Cards for the Fly Business Person

Design can and should be applied to everything in life and that doesn’t exclude the all-important business card. If you’ve been in corporate America long enough you’ve witnessed the occasions where different employees from different companies exchange and compare business cards and it’s not a good look to be on the losing end of that comparison. You know what I’m talking about. The cards that make ordinary look like amazing. Picture a 3x2 thin stock piece of paper, Times New Roman font, monochromatic color scheme and some corny ass logo. We all can relate. Thanks to the people at MOO we can break free from business card monotony.

MOO is a printing genius that can print beautiful images you upload to their site or images from their bank on postcards, stickers, greeting cards, note cards, gift cards and mini business cards. I ordered a set of 100 mini business cards for $19.99 (28 mm wide x 70 mm wide on 350 g/m2 stock paper with a matt laminate finish) and selected designs from Marc Johns and Lara Cameron. To this day people pay more attention to my MOO mini business cards than any of my work business cards.

The cool thing about MOO is that the design of the card doesn’t take backseat to the functionality of it. Most times the size and image you select will definitely give your cards the advantage in the traditional card comparison game. Find out more about MOO and step your biz card game up. Go on now. Get!

My Beef with Baby Carrots…You Heard Me!

When you have a brother studying culinary arts you learn a lot of things about food. Like fancy French words like mirepoix (carrot, onion and celery blend), cool knifing techniques and the common sanitary practices of quick service restaurants (don’t get me started). All in all its cool having a brother studying to be a chef but one day he dropped a bomb on me that literally changed my life. I’m talking about baby carrots. Damn right baby carrots.

I was probably the only kid who used to eat a raw carrot as a snack. My love affair with carrots was just as natural as breathing. I still vividly remember asking my Grandma if I could have a carrot, peeling that thing over the trash can, rinsing it off, sprinkling a little salt on it and going to town. Yessir! So imagine my delight when baby carrots hit the scene. It was the bite-size blessing from above (or beneath) that allowed millions of us to get our snack on in a healthy and convenient way.

Convenient? Yeah.

Healthy? Wait a minute.

One day my brother told me one of his Chef instructors at school said there is minor nutritional value in a baby carrot. Basically they are just premature versions of carrots called Imperator carrots. “They are bred to grow faster and ripen quickly, and because of this, they only have 70% of the beta carotene of a normal carrot (Baby Carrots- The Frugal Idea That Isn’t 2007). I instantly went through all the stages of grief (shock/disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression and acceptance). During my further investigation I took another hit when I read that the idea of a baby carrot was basically an invention by farmer Mike Yurosek who figured out a way to prevent wasting massive amounts of deformed carrots (majority of carrots grow in ways unlike the typical carrot shape we are used to). Baby carrots even cost more than regular size carrots!!!

I’m not hating on Farmer Mike and I can definitely co-sign on methods that decrease waste but I can’t get down with paying almost $1 more for an under-developed product. I love my regular carrots too much to do that. So the only alternative is to say goodbye.
Peace baby carrots and thanks for nothing b*tches.

Keeping up with the Joneses…make that Garcias

I’ve always been interested in the origin and meanings of surnames because I think they really can tell a lot about a person. Mine, for instance, always draws weird looks and questions about its derivation (I’ve narrowed it down to France or Germany) but I’m used to that now.

According to an article in the NYT it seems that Smith is still the most popular surname in the U.S but “for the first time, two Hispanic surnames — Garcia and Rodriguez — are among the top 10 most common in the nation, and Martinez nearly edged out Wilson for 10th place.” Now ain’t that a blip? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the presence of Latinos has grown exponentially but the debut of Latino surnames on the Census’s list proves that the Latino American population and culture is continuing to add more texture and dimension to society. It really is a milestone. However, the census bureau’s surname list doesn’t only offer information on Hispanic Americans.

Although multiple Americans share the same surnames (“1 in every 25 Americans is named Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, Jones, Miller or Davis”) there are names that are closely associated with races and ethnicities. “Nearly 90 percent of the Washingtons were black, as were 75 percent of the Jeffersons, 66 percent of the Bookers, 54 percent of the Banks and 53 percent of the Mosleys” at the time of this study.
Now I see why I get the looks I do when people hear my name for the first time. See where you last name ranks on the 5,000 most common U.S surnames here.

Black on the Runway: I’m Just Saying

Fashion is cool. It just is. Plain and simple. Fashion speaks to everyone no matter your income, background or age. You’d think something that speaks to everyone represents everyone but that hasn’t been the case with the fashion industry. It seems that designers and fashion publications have become accustomed to being labeled racist and sizest (you know what I mean) but recently some funny things have happened to make black people in general tilt their head and raise their eyebrow in wonder regarding high fashion.

I’m sure you’ve read that the July edition of Italian Vogue features photos of only black models photographed by Steven Meisel and to some surprise Donatella Versace has created a line inspired by Barack Obama. In Milan the Dsquared fashion show featured a number of black male models including Tyson Beckford all tatted up.

The skeptical Capricorn in me can’t help but keep my eyebrow raised when I think about these “accomplishments’. Is this a new day in the (fashion) industry or a marketing ploy designed to garner publicity from media and favor from an under served and under represented consumer segment? Either way it’s good to see brown faces associated with an industry built on universal standards of beauty. We always knew that black was beautiful it just seems that the fashion world forgot about it…until recently.

The real testament is to see how or if black models will remain in the spotlight of the fashion industry from now on.

I’m just saying.

Quote of the Day

Universal though the instinct for revenge may be, it is much stronger in some of us than others. And those who have it in abundance apparently pay something of a price.

-Ellis Cose, Bone to Pick