15
mar

#SoLoMo – are you local?

#SoLoMo - are you local?#SoLoMo

The second section of letters – Lo – in SEO buzzword #SoLoMo refers to the word “Local”. A few weeks ago I attended a short but interesting seminar at Creuna Aarhus regarding SoLoMo. I will break the information gained into 3 articles since each topic in SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile) is of importance.

My first article was about Social refering to the first two letters in the term #SoLoMo – are you social?

Parts of the information given in the articles were inspired from the seminar at Creuna – while others are passed on exactly as they were given. Those will be statistics, names to follow and some bullit points of best practice and so on.

Below is a screenprint of the Creuna #SoLoMo presentation showing paid search, the Google Local 7-pack (depending on how specific your search is it might be 3-pack or more) and organic page ranking in a Google search. In this case the search criteria is “restaurant copenhagen”.

#SoLoMo local image from Creuna

The Local aspect

Being represented locally is important in the SEO aspect. For shops, museums, institutions, service providers and agencies it is not always a problem to be locally represented. The local aspect of #SoLoMo is however only possible if you have a physical address. Google search engine is looking for a physical representation of your company at Google Maps. Last year Google also introduced Google My Business – a social business profile and a way of mapping your company into the criterias of a Google search.

Google My Business page

With Google My Business you connect everything to the Google search – if you want. Google has created an app so you may manage on the go, access your insights and check your reviews.

Get the app in Appstore or Google Play

Is it yet another page to keep up-to-date and yet another social media to manage and maintain? No. When Google is making search criteria that ranks a Google My Business page it would be a mistake not to get one. Besides I strongly believe that it is just a matter of time before we don’t have company websites anymore, but mainly social profiles for our websites. The fashion industry, museums and institutions might have app’s, video channels and online showrooms instead of websites. If that will be the future we might as well join them now.

#SoLoMo - work in progress

Not Social, not Local and so-so Mobile

The whole idea of being ‘local’ online is somewhat a contradiction of the very idea of being mobile, isn’t it? We have to have a physical business address to optimize our SEO. How does that combine with a life in overall freedom and a constant urge to travel? Not so well.

Do I need good SEO? I don’t have a webshop or items for sale and therefore I could choose to not care about my SEO ranking. I would however like to be found in searches and get visits on my website, so I have to make some adjustments.

How is your SoLoMo?

Mine is not okay. Neither is my general SEO. I have to take some considerations and improvements. Here is what Creuna suggests in their presentation:

3 hot bullits from Creuna

# google my business page
# get your citation right (everywhere)
# get (good) reviews

Local practice from Creuna

# be visible on local search
# make sure your business info is consistent

 

The next ‘tech’ post on this page about #SoLoMo will be regarding Mobile and have more information on the mobile aspect.

15
feb

Color block challenge – expand your colors

Color blocking signs

If you are working with color, you have to evoke dynamics into your color preferences. Color dynamics involves changes in your color likes and dislikes. Especially with a color dislike, you are more likely to deselect the color in your designs. You are likely to block them out. Why not challenge your color block-outs?

Traditional color-blocking

The term color block or color-blocking describes a way of coordinating colors in an often simple color palette containing 2-4 colors. Color-blocking offers a way of styling your outfit into a strong personal expression that empowers you. More so it is a statement of your creative and innovative design skills.

I have gathered a pinboard on Pinterest with some great examples of fashion color-blocking:

 

Color dislikes

Working in any line of business that involves graphic design, fashion, beauty, decorating, interior design, photography or trendforecasting your color palette is more likely to be very dynamic. The preferences change and colors become a daily part of your life to discuss, involve, love and maybe dislike.

Likes and dislikes are often categorized into several other groups for example your dislikes may be categorized in: colors you may use in your work or in your interior design but you would never wear them as part of your outfit. And then there is the colors you only dislike if combined with certain other colors.

Color block challenge

A perfect way to create dynamics and motion into your color life is to challenge your color dislikes.

  1. Find 2 colors you dislike when combined.
    Consider why you dislike theese two colors? Go down memory lane and question if there was a time when you liked the colors? Maybe you like the colors alone but not together – why is that so?
  2. Create an outfit or a moodboard that combines the two colors.
    By being surrounded by the colors you might begin to understand the colors. Why do you dislike them? What are their assets and meanings? How do you make benefits from these assets and meanings? It may be difficult to understand the colors – not even the scientists know why or how we react to most colors. By working with the colors you will get to know them and understand them.

Color block sportswear

We are used to seeing the color-blocking trend in the line of fashionable sportswear. Sneakers, t-shirts, tops, gym and yoga outfits, caps etc. have used the color-blocking energy in many years. An energy that is dynamic, vibrant and perfect to use to create motion and a sense of speed according to the design the colors are implemented into.

Color block combinations

Often a colorblocking outfit involves at least one strong, vivid color that may be combined with another strong and vivid color to create more drama and a look that will catch the eye of the beholder.

A more subtle combination is to choose a neutral color to go with a strong color to make the look more highclass and sophisticated. Depending on what you are aiming for, which context and mood you want to surround yourself with, you may have outfits that covers several personal styles.

Color block examples

An example of colors to combine in a colorblocking outfit is Imperial Blue and Turquoise in a strong and refreshing combination of colors.


Or how about the nice combination of nude – neutral – and honeysuckle like the bag and skinny jeans here:

And here is another very empowering combination of color blocking. Notice how these examples are very feminine and empowering.

Simplicity

It is often not a great idea to involve a lot of graphic prints in your garments, because that will make your colorblocking outfit too complex. You are looking for simplicity and color more than texture, print and complexity.

Color blocking classics

The classic combinations of color blocking are the combinations of black and white – grey, black and white – black and gold or black and silver.

Quick color blocking

An easy and quick way to combine a color block outfit is to use white or black as one of the colors in combination with some of your more creative or empowering accessories. A neutral color as your starting point is always a good way to go: a black dress combined with blue shoes (or stockings), a blue belt and a blue watch and/or necklace.

If you have black shoes and honeysuckle jeans but lack a black top, you might combine the outfit with a simple grey top to finish the outfit. The color block may be a combination of several colors. If you want summer look you might choose a yellow top to go with the honeysuckle jeans and maybe white or nude shoes. You might combine this with a mint green cardigan to complete your color blocking style of multiple colors.

Have a colorful day.

17
jan

Ice cream sandwich cake

Miette in San Francisco
A drive up the west coast of California introduced me to a treat of an ice cream sandwich I will be longing after when going back home to Denmark. The ice cream will be fairly easy to find because the flavor is a hit worldwide. The sandwich bites will be a little more tricky to find.

The ice cream sandwich cake is made of two chocolate wafer cookies surrounding a wonderful chocolate flake, mint ice cream. The combination is just so good that I have to try to bake my own chocolate wafers at some point.

Carmela Ice Cream

This particular ice cream sandwich cakes were introduced to me by a local Los Angeles food lover and I am so glad she insisted on going to Carmela Ice Cream. There is a variety of flavors in their fridge so you might also find a delicious Salted Caramel chocolate wafer version. The ice cream from Carmela Ice Cream is a delightful and tasty experience in itself – but the wafer sandwich is especially a pleasant experience.

Another great flavor is the chocolate sorbet which I feared was a little bland and perhaps too light. It was not however…. it was exactly the way I prefer it rich, chocolate flavor without the creamy taste and feel.

Carmela Ice Cream has several locations in Los Angeles. They offer classes for the person who likes to learn how to make delicious ice cream or just needs a little inspiration to the usual recipes and some tricks from the pro.

Ice cream sandwich cake

Miette

The sandwiches are available in San Francisco at Miette in the Ferry Market Building. Find other locations at their website.

Order the chocolate wafers from Miette here (box of 4 servings = 8 wafers in total)

There are other flavors to get, such as:
Miette offers classes as well for the person Gingersnappers with crème fraiche but the Chocolate flake mint with chocolate wafer is superb and highly addictive.

Ice cream tip

Speaking of ice cream I heard along the coast, that Rocky Road is supposed to be really good with Balsamic Vinegar sprinkled over it. I will try it tonight and get back with a review.

23
dec

corepower YOGA – hot power yoga

corepower YOGA San Diego

corepower yoga

CorePower YOGA studio is a really nice hot power yoga studio situated in several towns and states in America. I visited the North Park studio in San Diego. Find their location here on corepoweryoga.com

Right now CorePower offers a week of free yoga classes to new students which is exactly enough time to try out some different classes and get a good idea of how the workout is at CorePower.

corepower yoga studio in North Park

The power of graphics

When I arrived to San Diego I was on the look-out for a yoga studio and the town offers several opportunities. CorePower was the one that really stood out as an interesting studio because of the brilliant name: core power really says it all – but I also chose them for their consistent graphic line: the logo is printed on their rentable yoga mats, on the swipe-through membership card and on several other items. the studios are new and so well designed and you feel welcome immediately as you walk into the studio.

The shop in the studios offer a great variety of yoga outfits and different fashionable, yogic items such as a lovely pink peace bracelet as seen on their instagram page:

Are you a last minute shopper like most of us? Don’t stress. Stop by our studios for great finds for your favorite yogi.

Et billede slået op af CorePower Yoga (@corepoweryoga) den

The CorePower yoga studio offers beginning power yoga, heated power yoga intro, hot power yoga, hot power fusion, restorative yoga, yoga sculpt and heated power yoga with weights. A great combination where you may choose the 1.0, the 1.5 or the 2.0 class which tells you a bit about the strength of the poses and the heat of the room. Every class ends with a nice stretch and a couple of minutes to relax.

The power of ujjayi

CorePower yoga studio is practicing the benefits from the ancient yogic ujjayi breath technique but you are welcome to leave it out, if you prefer so. However the ujjayi breathing will help energize and relax your body at the same time. I find that sometimes when I am very focused on the poses I drop out of ujjayi breathing and that whenever a pose demands a lot of physical power, the ujjayi breath helps me build up extra strength for the pose. The instructors at CorePower are really great at assisting your focus upon the ujjayi breathing technique when the pose demands a little extra strength.

But as mentioned you are welcome to leave it out – in general the studio is pretty relaxed and easy-going, so if you want to take a break during the yoga or just need to lie down and relax a little bit, it is welcomed. There is no pressure to strain your energy off balance.

The power of privacy

Each class opens with a request to raise your hand if you do not want guidance or help in your positions during the yoga class. this gives you the chance to be left alone on days where you might feel a little fragile or introvert and it is an absolutely great idea. It saves you from having to notify the teacher yourself.

The studio at North Park even has private showers with a frosted glass door to give you the ultimate privacy during your shower.

The power of Om and Namaste

Eventhough CorePower is somewhat spiritual in their yoga practice and use terms such as the beautifull Om in their marketing and the great Namaste as the farewell greeting after every class, the spiritual never becomes the main focus. The main focus is the yoga poses and the yoga practice. Some instructors highlight the yogic living outside the studio more than others so it is all about finding the balance that suits you, or vary from whatever fits your mood.

While I was in San Diego I attended a class with focus upon the chakra system – a highly spiritual energy system – which may be awakened and strengthened by yoga, meditation, diet, colors and several other practices. The main focus for the class was however at all times on the physical poses more than on the awakening of the chakra energy. I like to combine the “lightly” spiritual with the physical and the mental. I also like to have my own space to practice the power of the deep spiritual experiences. Therefore CorePower is perfect in my book. Sadly there is no studio in Denmark – yet?

Visit the website: corepower YOGA
Follow corepower on Instagram here.

12
dec

Dairy product detective

Non-homogenized, organic, fat-free milk

Finding the right milk

Dairy products are very different from country to country and it may take a little while to find the perfect product for your taste. To me dairy products such as milk is really a question of habitual taste. Don’t give up on the hunt for the right dairy product.

The variety of milk and dairy products are big in America where it is quite common to add vitamins and minerals to the milk. Any additions as such are however always printed on the carton or bottle. Being from Europe where legislations ever since the 70s have ruled against added vitamins and minerals to dairy products, I am of course a bit sceptic. Today things are changing however and several products now have added vitamins in Denmark as well.

Selection of dairy products

Cream or milk?

In Denmark we normally get milk to go with our coffee but some of the slightly older generations might prefer cream in their coffee and therefore perhaps also serve that with the coffee when having guests. Others simply like cream a lot better in their coffee but might on a daily basis choose milk over cream of health reasons more than taste.

In America the ‘half and half’ is commonly served with your coffee and often you have to specifically ask for plain milk, to get the taste you are looking for.

Half and half dairy product

I love my coffee to have added a non-fat, organic and non-homogenized milk if possible. If not available I can go with other versions but I do like my milk to taste like milk and honestly a good deal of dairy products do not taste natural at all. I guess the most natural would be warm or at least have a top layer of cream and in that aspect the fat-free would never exist……..

The hunt

After an intense search in the dairy sections of many, many supermarkets I found the brand to match my needs and tastebuds to be non-fat, non-homogenized, organic, grass-milk from Organic Valley. It tastes exactly like non-fat and natural milk or at least like the Danish skim milk called ‘skummetmælk’. My American friends have remarked that it is more or less like drinking water, but there is actually a very fine taste of milk to it.

From out-of-town?

On my request for non-homogenized milk, the guy in the dairy product area said: “You must be from out-of-town because we never have requests like that here. It sounds European!”

Well the guy knows his stuff and he quickly showed me the brand that produce exactly what I was looking for. Whole Foods sell it.

Whole Foods dairy products

What about the newer hipster product called Skyr? I wonder if there might be a match that is somewhat similar?

Almond milk

If you have a soft spot for almond milk smoothies – go to recipes from Almond Breeze – California is the right place to be. The variety of almond milk products is great and at a very good price compared to Denmark. This is of course a state of almond crops and it is possible to find chocolate almond milk, icecream made from almond milk but also other dairy products made from almond milk. Just let the fun begin.

Almond milk products

Good luck on finding your products out there.

08
dec

The Huntington

The Huntington er som et slot

The Huntingtons

Henry E. Huntington and his uncle Collis P. Huntington both shared great visions of growth for the Los Angeles area and they both understood how to make business and how to achieve their goals. They also understood that growth required a way of transportation such as a railroad. Collis, being one of The Big Four who amongst others owned The Central Pacific Railroad and The Southern Pacific Railroad, had already built or bought railroads to link several states to eachother. Collis eventually asked Henry to come to Los Angeles and share the management of the Southern Pacific Railroad with him. After the too early death of Collis, Henry started expanding the electric railways into an inter-urban tram system in LA. Los Angeles got bigger and population numbers grew and the public transportation system got better and better.

Today, however the public transportation system is no longer impressive since the town later turned into a car industry darling, during the American Streetcar Scandal, when many inter-urban railways were closed and transformed into roads, highways and freeways to be filled by buses and cars. Now carbon footprint is what is growing big in LA, sadly.

Huntington Estate

The Huntington estate and what was until the death of Henry E. Huntington, also the home of Henry and his wife Arabella Huntington, is enormous and the detailed interior design is absolutely stunning.

The Huntington Los Angeles

The Huntington estate

The Huntington plant life

Art building at The Huntington

Arabella Huntington, the second wife of Henry Huntington and the widow of Collis Huntington !! – a scandal back in the days – is most likely to have been the decorator of the rooms. According to many of the purchases made by the estate she had a sense for quality and very good taste.

Color methods used at The Huntington

The Huntington art piece

Mirror at The Huntington

As well as the impressive art gallery shows the interest and knowledge of Henry Huntington for art and fine arts. Here is a link to guide you to a closer look at The Huntington Art collections on their website.

Art from The Huntington

Huntington Library

Henry Huntington collected several important books, manuscripts and fine litterature, as well as an impressive collection of art during his lifetime. Today the vast library has some of the finest and most precious books within the collection. There is the life-sized nature Birds of America by John James Audubon, The Gutenberg Bible on vellum and a Shakespeare folio. Here is a link to guide you to a closer look at The Huntington Library at their website.

John James Audubon

The Gutenberg Bible

The Huntington Gardens

The gardens at The Huntington are impressive and you may easily spend an entire day or more if you plan on seeing everything there. The garden spreads out into 120 acres and has more than 12 different gardens within. It offers so many different plants and spectacular speciments, that the garden by itself deserves a full day visit. Here is a link to guide you to a closer look at The Huntington Gardens at their website.

The Huntington cactus garden

The Huntington garden view

You may just enjoy the view of the garden from the breathtaking view of the terrace or with a nice cup of something in the Japanese Garden café which also often offers a delightfull concert. A perfect end to a visit at The Huntington – enjoy!

18
jul

Life emerging – Adopt a box

Adopt a box - life emerging

Emerging urban green life

Summer is here, green life has emerged everywhere – even in the center of Aarhus where you find several ‘Adopt a Box’ boxes with all kinds of veggies coming to life. In a previous blogpost about ‘Adopt a Box’ I dived into the concept of the boxes: They contain a variety of plants: some might have potatoes and marigold, others have carrots, onions and garlic, and yet another has salad and herbs.

Adopt a box - a teabox

As stated on their blog Adopt a Box “aims to cultivate the city centre by bringing edible plants into an urban setting” The idea is that a shop or a cafe adopts a box, waters the plants and becomes part of a society which reaps the harvest around autumn. Meanwhile the boxes offers a bit of nature for the bees and birds in the city. Visit their blog: Adopt a Box blog

Adopt a Box boxes in Aarhus

Adopt a box in Aarhus - Red Box

Adopt a box - a green concept
I find that the boxes also serve as an educational topic for kids and parents who are aiming for knowledge about plants: how specific plants look, how they differ from eachother in looks, smell and taste and such information.

Adopt a Box in Botanical Garden amongst likeminded

Adopting boxes of life These photos inspired me to make a virgin mojito: mint leaves, lime juice, organic cane sugar, ice, a squeeze of ginger ale and mineral water. Mmm – so tasty.

 

26
jun

Just call me a color hippie

Blue color is cool, calming and distant

When we create graphic designs we are used to work with color, select, consider and analyze color. But have you ever considered how color works with you? Or works on you?

I sense colors

Color matters in a far greater scale than we are aware of because often we don’t even realize the impact or influence a color has to our actions and interactions. It is in the dark for most of us. I sense colors just like everybody else and today I take colors more serious than I did yesterday:

Blue is supposed to be less invasive than some of the warm and passionate colors. Right now I find it rather intrusive though.

Blue color and meanings

The symbolism of blue

When it comes to color psychology and meanings, blue is a cool, calm and conservative color. Blue shades seem a little distant and tend to have a calming effect on the surroundings and on people in generel. It seems cold or cooler compaired to the warm and more red/orange shades.

Blue items in shop display

As a graphic designer, color enthusiast and photographer I am used to having a dynamic sense of color. I drift in and out of color phases loving and using specific shades in one project and then altering my preferences in the next project. Every now and then I might even adapt my home surroundings to colors that tend to grow on me through my work. Probably you feel the same way.

Blue shopping display

Color enthusiasm

A few weeks ago I had coffee with a freelance friend of mine who told me, that she had come to like a specific, light green color. This was the first time she ever felt such a strong desire or need for a specific color. She showed me different items she had bought, bowls, a vase, candles and some garments, in the green shade. Her appetite for the color was so big she just HAD to have it around her.

Going through some color psychology websites, she had found the meanings of the color to represent: a new start, life, growth and so on. She felt it absolutely described the situation in her life. I was happy to hear that she also had taken such a passionate approach to colors and given it extra thought..

After a while I asked her, what she does with the colors she dislikes. ’I avoid them’, she said.

Well, I have to confess to that very same approach towards not so favourable colors, but sometimes I actually use the colors I dislike, in order to get some answers: why don’t I like the colors? What is the color symbolizing for me? I tend to reach a point that allows me to interpret/translate the color into a feeling, an asset or an action I am not integrating in my life. The reasons may be various. I use this information to challenge myself in trying to adapt the specific area in my life.

Walk the talk ….. of color?

And you know how sometimes you have to walk the talk, right? The next morning when I left my house, I was saddened by the fact that some vandal had sprayed a really poorly designed graffiti tag all over my front door and my business sign. It made me sad and angry at the same time. Why would anybody do that?

Graffiti tagged door

Blue for strategy?

On my walk downtown that morning it struck me, that for quite a while I had been noticing blue shades whenever I walked around for inspiration on blogs or photos. As if my visual sense had started spotting blue more than it usually would. Unfortunately blue seems to me like quite a dull color and I don’t have a lot of interest in it. I tend to ignore it a little. I had been ignoring the presence of blue for weeks.

Graffiti tagged signAnd here it was on my door and my business sign. For a few minutes I invited myself to not hating it on my door but actually trying to interpret it (a bit color hippie -ish I guess). While washing off the tag from my business sign I realized that the color symbolize an asset I thought I was great at. Suddenly it was crystal clear to me, that I am not great with this specific asset at all. I’ve deceived myself that I was great at: Strategy!

Now I know and then I can start taking care of it. Today I came across a book in the library and it turns out to be touching the very subject. The author recommends an 18 month startegy and a 4 year strategy. My strategic focus is now in progress.

30
maj

Your Rainbow Panorama – ARoS

Aros - Aarhus Kunstmuseum

Your Rainbow Panorama

The rainbow is always in the sky in Aarhus, Denmark: the rainbow art piece called ‘Your Rainbow Panorama’ is made by Olafur Eliasson and becoming a stronger and stronger icon of Aarhus. Placed on top of ARoS – Aarhus Kunstmuseum (Art Museum) the rainbow is significant in the center when you arrive by train, bus, car or bike.

Your Rainbow Panorama

‘Your Rainbow Panorama’ during the construction when all the uniquely colored glass pieces were gently put in the right sections to create the perfect gradient transforming one color into the next.

Aros - Your Rainbow Panorama Læs mere / Read more

05
maj

Why Danes light candles on May 4.

Liberation Day - light in the dark

Candles on Liberation Day

Liberation Day (Danish Befrielsesdagen) is an important historic day for Denmark who like Holland were liberated by allied troops on May 5. 1945. But the liberation of Denmark already began in the evening the day before.

On May 4. there is still an old tradition of putting lit candles in the windows in Denmark. It is not at all the darkest time of the year, yet it has to do with bringing light into the darkness.

In 1945 on the evening of May 4. allied troops came to liberate Denmark from suppression by Germany at the end of World War II. It was the end of a dark time with suppression, fear and war which also meant curfew at night and blackout curtains.

Dark times turned bright

Eventhough the liberation of Denmark was not official until the morning on May 5. (official Liberation Day), there was great happiness and joy as soon as the rumour spread. There was a relieved celebration of freedom, life and light. Danes were dancing and singing while tearing down the blackout curtains. Others joined in teams to find and punish the persons who had been particularly friendly towards the German troops and gained on the situation. It was 24 hours of darkness and light.

In the years to come Danes would put lit candles in their windows to mark the day of liberation. Today it is no longer a great tradition but the important day still reamins in the memory of many people.

4th May Dorm Aarhus

4. Maj Kollegiet

I treasure these traditions but before lighting my candles I went for a walk to find windows with lit candles. I found that the Dorm of May 4. (Danish: 4. Maj Kollegiet) was cozy and lovely lit by candles in almost every window. The young students living at the dorm have a long tradition of celebrating the day and many of them have ancestors who fought to liberate Denmark during the war.

It was a lovely and warm sight.

After that experience I went back home to light my own candles in the memory of the people who died in the battle for our liberation.

5. May Liberation Day of Denmark