November 2008


dscn1402On Saturday, November 22, Mark insisted we have a date night in Boston.  I loved the idea and suggested one of our favorite cozy spots, Match, on Mass Ave. near Newbury Street in Back Bay.  We had a lovely dinner, enjoying a cozy meal near the fire, drinking wine and just basically enjoying each other’s company.

Towards the end of dinner, he mentioned that the tree at Faneuil Hall had just been lit earlier that day, and suggested going to check it out.  Even though it was a lovely 25 degrees out, we were bundled up and I agreed, thinking if we stopped by the tree we could then go to the many nice bars & lounges in the area afterwards to warm up.  We took the Green Line downtown and walked up to the tree.

The crowd had just dispersed and there were maybe one or two people still around, plus two workers who were clearing the metal barriers away from the base of the tree.  I stood there, looking up at the immense tree and enjoying the sparkling ornaments.

Mark was standing between me and the tree and I realized he was starting to yank one of his gloves off.  As I tried to figure out what he was doing, before I knew it, he had dropped down to one knee.  I started shaking and gasping and getting all teary eyed.  The rest of the moment is a little blurry, but I *think* he said, “My soulmate, will you marry me?”dscn1404

I pressed my gloved hands to my face in utter shock.  Tears flowed down my face.  I heard the one of two guys moving the barriers say “Dude, check it out,” and I suppose they stopped to watch.  I couldn’t speak; I simply shoved my left hand in his face with my ring finger extended to say, “Yes!”  It took a moment for him to understand, of course.  I think he took my glove off; or maybe I did.  I just remember the ring sparkling in the box and glistening in the chilly evening, and being completely wowed. 

He placed the ring on my finger and stood up and kissed me and hugged me and kissed me again.  Then he asked, “So is that a yes?”  “Of course, yes!” I said.  I think some of the people around us might have clapped, I can’t remember.  All I remember is just being so completely overjoyed.

After finding out about all that went into the proposal (more about that later), we decided to go warm up and make our phone calls & send out the necessary text messages.  We walked to the nearby Red Sky Lounge, which happened to be one of the places we went to on our first date two and a half years ago.  We ordered a round of champagne, toasted our happy moment, and began sending out the messages.

So it turns out Mark had worked with our friend Rob to get us a gorgeous executive suite at the Seaport Hotel, overlooking the water.  We walked back to our car at the Common and drove over to the hotel, still glowing and totally ecstatic.  We checked in and went up to our amazing room on the 11th floor with the fantastic view of the skyline and the water.  There was a bottle of champagne waiting with two glasses.  We spent the night celebrating, making more calls, and just enjoying being with each other.  I’m such a nerd – since there was free internet in the room, I hopped on the computer when he was out of the room for a second and updated my Facebook profile and did the quick post below.  It was a great way to share the news with a lot of people (but you can imagine – I had over 60 emails when I got home the next day!).

dscn1397So here’s some of the back story: Apparently, when I was in Las Vegas, Mark met up with my Mom to have dinner and ask her permission.  (She was, of course, ecstatic.)  Then, last weekend when I thought he was “having a guys night with the boys up at our friends’ place in Ayer,” he actually drove down to New York to ask my Dad’s permission in person.  I spent the weekend at my Mom’s, thinking Mark was putting down cold ones and watching the game with the guys.  Little did I know he was asking for my hand in marriage over dinner with my Dad and Karen.  He even stayed overnight and drove back the next day (his original supposed reason for the overnight: “they would be drinking and he didn’t want to risk a drive”).  And for someone who has trouble keeping anything from me, I am shocked he hid all traces that he had been in NY and kept it from me!

Then, since he knew we were staying overnight in town, he packed me a bag of clothes that he figured I would not notice missing from my closet, and went out and bought extras of the toiletries that I would notice was missing in the bathroom.  The fact that he had the ring on him for so long, told both my parents, planned this whole evening, and did not leak a word is amazing.  And the fact that he went through all that … well, it’s beyond words.

The next morning we woke up to a gorgeous sunny day, still giddy and glowing.  I peeked out the window and realized we were overlooking the parking lot where we had ended our first date those many years ago.  “Look how far we’ve come,” I mentioned.  “Yeah, wow, like 500 feet,” he retorted.  Haha, thanks.

We had already planned a brunch with our friends Melyssa, Jeff, Colleen & Todd at the Fireplace in Brookline, dscn1400_zoom-in1way before the proposal happened, so it was perfect timing.  Mark also invited our friends Steve & Cristina, and we enjoyed a yummy brunch and lots of advice from all the newlyweds (all have been married within the past 2 years or so).  Then we drove home and spent the rest of the day answering our many emails and voicemails.

No, we haven’t picked a date yet.  We’ve started talking about it, but right now we’re basking in the glow of being engaged.  We’ll probably pick a date by New Year’s and will of course keep everyone posted when we know.

I’m so ecstatic.  For someone who loves planning parties and events, this is the ultimate party.  And to think that we will be planning a wedding for us and spending the rest of our lives together … well, I’m just completely overwhelmed and overjoyed.  Here’s to true love!

037-mark-and-mem-all-cozy               

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the basic, wonderful things in life.  I am thankful for:

  • My family
  • My friends
  • My fiance, Mark
  • My health

These are the things that make my life complete and I feel so lucky to have.

What are your plans for this Thanksgiving?  What are you thankful for?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

(By the way, two random things to note:

  • The ring is based on my paternal great-grandmother’s engagement ring, aw!
  • As my colleague Kyle pointed out, we met on Match.com, and we started the night of our engagement at Match.  Weird!)
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I write this from our gorgeous room in the Seaport Hotel in Boston … tonight, Mark and I went for a nice romantic dinner at Match in Boston, and afterwards went to check out the tree in Faneuil Hall, where he dropped down to one knee and PROPOSED! =)  So happy. =)  More details and ring images to follow..

1,000 people were surveyed in September.  And 69% could NOT remember a new product that was launched this year.  69%?!

When I first heard that number from the Most Memorable New Product Launch survey results, announced today and hosted by Schneider Associates (disclaimer: my company), Mintel and IRI, I was in shock.  That is a LOT of people.  I mean, lots of products get launched in a year, right?

Right?

And then I started thinking . . . could I remember any products launched?  Or, if I was surveyed, would I be destined to be one of the 69%?

Many of the Top 5 products – Nintendo Wii Fit, iPod Touch, Bud Light Lime, McDonald’s Chicken Biscuit, Kraft Mac & Cheese Crackers – I thought launched the previous year.  Others in the top 10, like Yoplait Fiber One and Rock Band, I thought came out more than a year ago.

Want another scary number?  Out of the Top 50 products offered as new products launched in 2008, 96% of those surveyed could not remember any.  50 products!  Wow.

And yet another surprising result of the MMNPL Survey – purchasing decisions by males are more influenced by social media than females.

At first, I’m shocked by this.  I almost think it would be reverse.  Women are incredible reliant on word-of-mouth and other’s opinions, whether in person or through blogs and Tweets.  If another woman reviews a product and says, “this made my day!”, it seems like more women would listen to that and go buy it than a guy.  We’re women – we like to go to each other for opinions and support.  I mean, look at all the mommy blogs out there.  And look at their power, which can influence other females to buy – or not buy.  The latter is clear from the recent reaction over Johnson & Johnson’s “hip” (used lightly) and condescending Motrin ad; it released such a fury that J&J finally pulled the ad.  And I doubt any woman is going to go out to buy the product now, especially after hearing all of her peers online encourage her not to support a brand that doesn’t seem to understand the female market.

But then I started thinking about what social media IS.  Is it mommy blogs, TheKnot.com forums, deal sites heavily dominated by females, and grrl power groups on Facebook?  Or is it those little annoying ads on the top of your Google search results page and the banners that hover so devilishly over your Gmail inbox, winking with the sinister eye of advertising aiming directly at you?  If so, then I could see men, who seem to be drawn more to interactive flashy things than long, drawn out forum conversations like women, would definitely be more influenced and notice product placement more than women. 

Plus, I think a lot of the brands that made the MMNPL, such as Bud Light, Apple, Rock Band, Kraft, Burger King & McDonald’s, tend to focus their online outreach more towards male and male-dominated sites.  And they use interactive programs, such as microsites with games, to entice potential buyers for their new products.  (Rock Band is made by EA Games, famous for their Sims game that my boyfriend is so addicted to; I would rather email with a long distance friend than play it.)  So I can see why, after playing a branded game on a web site, males would be like, “Yes, this is cool, I want to own it!”

Now, a lot of feminists will attack me for this post, I’m sure (good time to flaunt my love for Bitch magazine?).  BUT, go to the Rock Band web site, just as an example.  If you know me, whether personally or just from reading my blog, you know I am a HUGE music fan.  Huge.  I spent years playing many instruments and I love being on stage performing, whether I’m dancing, acting or playing an instrument.  HOWEVER, when their page launches, it’s all black and dark green and there’s a large leaping tiger (grrrr!) and an angry eagle, rargh.  Hmm.  I may be looking at this with a biased eye, but it’s kind of male-centric to me.  If I wasn’t interested in rock music, I would turn away from this immediately as a female.  But I search the site a little further…

I look at the zine – ooh, interview with Paul Westerberg, woot!  Hmmm…all the articles are written by guys.  Well, then of course they know how to reach men through social media – they’re the ones behind the content!

So where can men and women find common ground?  Well, maybe it is online, but through efforts focused on gender-free initiatives – not just directed at one sex over the other (i.e. Rock Band vs Motrin).  Then we would be united in our discovery of these new products and they would stick better with us, whether we’re male or female. 

Or, maybe it’s in person.  #6 on the list is KY’s Yours + Mine Couples lubricant.  Ahh.  Now that’s something we can all certainly interact with together.  And most definitely remember. 😉

What do you think?  Do you agree?  And what products do YOU remember launching in 2008?

Full list:
Ten Most Memorable New Products of 2008 (Aided Recall)
1. Nintendo Wii Fit (recalled by 22% of respondents in aided recall*)
2. iPod Touch (16%)
3. Bud Light Lime (15%)
4. McDonald’s Southern Style Chicken Biscuit & Sandwich (14%)
5. Kraft Mac & Cheese Crackers (13%)
6. KY Yours + Mine Couples Lubricant (12%)
7. Gatorade G2, Yoplait Fiber One (11%, two-way tie)
8. MacBook Air, Rock Band, Burger King Apple Fries, Neosporin Neo To Go!, Kraft Bagel-fuls (8%, five-way tie)

Happy Wednesday!  I’m back from Las Vegas and finally (mostly) back on schedule.  Let’s jump right to what’s important – cool news from the arts world for this week:

CULTURALLY SPEAKING, for November 12, 2008:

  • Schneider Associates posts 5 preview videos to kick off the countdown for the Most Memorable New Product Launch for 2008 – which one do you think made #1?  (disclaimer: I work at SA…but I still think it’s a cool annual tradition, regardless!)

My sincerest apologies for being so delayed with my weekly Culturally Speaking blog posts.  I’ve been in Las Vegas for a few days for work at the AAPEX & SEMA shows and just came back on the red eye this morning.  Between show/travel prep and Halloween last week (and our subsequent office party), the free moments I had were few and far between!  So I’m sorry for the missing posts but I promise I’ll be back on track next week.

I had never been to Las Vegas before and it was quite an interesting experience.  In my short time there, our country gained a new President (the first African-American president at that) and I learned that they never tell you how much walking is required in Sin City!  Also, even though I’m from New York, I really think that Las Vegas is the city that never sleeps.  (Probably because you never have an idea of what time it is!)

So next Tuesday we’ll be back to the usual posts.  Happy November!