Why Reddit is one of the best news websites on the Internet

israelpalestine-flags1 I can’t deny it; I am a daily Reddit user. And this morning, while riding the bus, I realized something about Reddit that has never been so relevant than today. In light of the current conflict in Gaza between the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) and the Hamas “freedom fighters,” many news stories have sprung up about everything from the massive ground invasion in Gaza, to the Hamas rebels firing off rockets at the “Iron Dome,” to IDF forces firing on children. No matter what side you happen to be on with this issue, Reddit has become an incredible resource to see both sides of this conflict.

Reddit is a global community of Internet users who participate in a forum-like conversation on thousands of topics ranging from world news, cute animals, movie reviews, Photoshop battles, and much more. One notable “subreddit,” or channel of Reddit, is the IAMA subreddit. IAMA stands for “I Am A…..Ask Me Anything”, which is essentially a medium for people of all walks of life and professions to answer curious Redditor’s questions.

Today, two notable IAMA’s unfolded: one from an Israeli soldier and one from a Palestinian living in Gaza.

In reading both accounts, you gain an interesting perspective on the crisis. The Israeli soldier expresses his opinions of a sovereign nation where Israelites and Palestinians can live together in peace. He answers questions regarding the cultural and political atmosphere within Israel and he also sheds light on the popular opinion within Israel with regards to Gaza. On the other side, the Palestinian in Gaza expresses a very different point of view. He is not allowed to legally leave Gaza nor does he feel safe in his densely populated city, yet he has never seen an Israeli citizen in his life.

Reading both of these accounts simultaneously shows how absolutely different their lives are; yet they are a border away. Both are in their twenties and express their yearning for peace and stability. Both are open and willing for a day when they both can share the land together. In our day in age, it is critical for citizens to have a voice on a public forum and Reddit has proven time and time again to be just that. This is why I argue that Reddit is the best news website on the Internet. Not only does news break first on Reddit, but it also allows a forum for interesting, firsthand accounts of individuals that are relevant to the what’s happening in the world.

Food Lifeline's 25th Annual Food Frenzy

Starting tomorrow, July 11, Curator kicks off its two-week long efforts to raise funds on behalf of Food Lifeline’s Food Frenzy, which is a creative competition between local businesses to raise funds and food, and encourage volunteerism.

While 2014 marks Curator’s first year participating, Food Lifeline is celebrating its 25th Food Frenzy Anniversary. We're thrilled to work with our friends, family and local communities to give back to such a worthy cause.

Every $1 donated to Food Lifeline provides four meals for a person struggling with hunger, and that includes children who don’t have many options during the challenging summer months when school meals aren’t available. All donations are greatly appreciated and tax-deductible.

Interested in supporting our team and making a donation to Food Lifeline? You can do so by visiting our Food Frenzy team page here! Or, head to Swansons Nursery next Thursday, July 17, for its first-annual Garden To Glass event, where in addition to learning how to make refreshing botanical cocktails, you can purchase raffle tickets to win one of three fabulous Swansons container gardens.

All of the proceeds from the raffle will benefit Food Lifeline. Thanks again for your consideration, and helping us spread the word!

Tastes of PSQ

When I started at Curator and would tell people I worked in Pioneer Square I'd seem to always get a puzzled look in return. When people think of Pioneer Square, they think stadiums and about all the shady business that goes on when the sun goes down. Fast forward two years and I tell people I work down here and get, "Ooh do you ever go to London Plane!?"

It's been exciting to say the least to watch all of the new businesses, and especially the food and bar scene emerge in this neck of the woods. As an agency, we seem to always be keeping each other in the loop about where we've dined and what's coming next. Here's a list of some of my favorites that I've already been enjoying, plus some that I can't wait to try:

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The London Plane. What started as a wine bar on the corner of Jackson and Occidental turned into the always-packed breakfast and lunch hub of Pioneer Square. Go here for your morning Instagram or soak up this wonderful summer weather with an afternoon glass of rose out front. This is truly a beautiful space!

Altstadt. Another great happy hour spot on 1st Ave. Altstadt is the perfect place for a cold German beer, and of course, brats!

E. Smith Mercantile. I feel like I've talked about this place before in a past post, but I don't care because it's worth mentioning again! I'll admit I've taken a detour at lunch to browse the store and keep meaning to check out their killer happy hours, hosted in the back bar. I love the vibe here!

Girin. This may be a reason I want 2015 to get here already. Steven Han and Co., the group behind Momiji, Kushibar, and Umi Sake House (YUM),  are bringing Korean cuisine to PSQ! The steak house is rumored to open mid-2015 and I cannot wait.

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Damn The Weather. A new go-to for after work drinks, this bar has awesome cocktails, a fun atmosphere and fries that I can never not order!

Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar. As an oyster addict I can't say enough how excited I am for this oyster bar to open later this summer. Coming in hot right across the street, it will be way too tempting to stop by everyday after work.

Got a favorite spot in the area? I'd love to swap recommendations! Tweet me @C_Allodi and I'll see you around the neighborhood!

Summer Nights at Swansons

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As a part of the Swansons Nursery Grow With Us Project, we've helped them put together a series of Summer Night events at the nursery. Swansons recently hosted a 'Family Night' event in June, which included activities for children, food and drinks, plus 10% of sales that evening were donated to the Ballard Boys & Girls Club.

This was a great kickoff to the series, but we're especially excited for the two upcoming events. The first is a 21 and over 'Garden to Glass' event, happening on Thursday, July 17 from 6-9pm. Guests will get to taste, and learn how to make botanical cocktails and botanical infused waters in a cocktail-making demonstration by Amy Pennington of GoGo Green Garden. Plus, herb garden planting station (free soil with purchase of plants and pot), live music by Sandy Carbary, Tim Lerch and Chris Symer, and a raffle for a fabulous Swansons container garden to raise money for Food Lifeline.

Also happening this month is a beautification project with the Ballard Boys & Girls Club. More to come on that!

You can sign up to receive invites and information about all of Swansons' events and seminars on their website. And don't forget, you can get all of your personalized plant ideas, tips and advice from Swansons' seasoned pros when you Instagram or Tweet a photo with your question, using #HeySwansons.

We hope to see you there!

10 Tips for a Successful Photo Shoot

CHB_2076HDR-3 Prior to starting my internship at Curator, I spent much of my time as a freelance photographer and photographer assistant, which led me to participate on numerous shoots for Microsoft, Kontent Partners, Redhook, Tom Bihn, Shep Films and the Pan Pacific Hotel. Through these experiences I learned a great deal about what it takes to have a successful photo shoot. Below are my top 10 tips I learned from practical experience and seminars.

Research, Research, Research

With any visually centric project, it is imperative to do your research. No matter what you’re shooting, if you don’t understand the client, publication, story, or product, your photographs will reflect that. With many shoots you may be alone, therefore doing as much research prior to the shoot you can do means the more literate you will be when meeting with the client.

Plan Ahead

A photo shoot can be ruined because of numerous factors, ranging from the weather, to knowledge (or lack thereof) of the location. If possible, it is important to scout the location a day or two prior to the shoot and be up-to-date on current weather reports, because at a moments notice a storm cloud could rob you of your light and ruin any dynamic lighting that may have occurred. It also helps to have a detailed “shot list” that you can rely on for back up shot ideas when lighting and other elements don’t work in your favor.

Understand Your Capabilities and Limitations

Certain projects require more elaborate equipment like external lighting, camera rigs, a higher resolution camera, or on-site postproduction tools. However, investing in more gear, lenses, or lighting gets extremely expensive, and fast. It can be beneficial to get acquainted with rental services such as rentglass.com, lensrentals.com, or Glazers camera in Seattle.

Lighting is Everything

To be able to control and modify light is a key skill in photography. Light creates mood, drama, and a sense of place. The best times to shoot with dramatic lighting are either early morning at sunrise or at sunset.  Shooting during mid-day is the worst time to shoot because the amount of light will wash out the colors and over exposes the sky. Ways to get around shooting in mid-day is to find shade, or a way to obscure the light in a way that creates a dynamic contrast.

Packing the Right Gear

After a while, being a photographer means you’ll accumulate gear, and I've  found that more gear means more problems. While you spend time thinking about what lens to use or what flash setup you want, the other guy with less equipment is getting the job done faster and cheaper. I've found it to be effective to have two camera bodies (if possible), both serving different functions – one may have a telephoto whereas the other camera is outfitted with a wide angle zoom. For slower and more planned shoots, it is always good to have a back-up camera just in case your primary fails.

Create a Visual Narrative

Photography is an informed, forced perspective. The photograph may address the heart of a story or idea. It may be the peak of an action or a subtle reflection, but it provides understanding to a narrative. Keep the initial narrative at the front of your mind while shooting to keep your photos informed and help develop the sense of feeling you’re trying to elicit.

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Break the Rules

Every photographer knows about how to frame an image. Whether it’s the using the rule of thirds or the golden ratio, photographers tend to like to stay within in these confined rules. It is important to break these rules and find an angle or shot that is ‘interesting.’ A photo that catches the eye is much more valuable than a mediocre image that’s well balanced and framed.

Familiarize Yourself

One of the most important lessons I learned from a National Geographic Seminar given by Ami Vitale and Melissa Farlow is to settle in and get to know the people and the space in which you are photographing. It’s not so much about getting yourself comfortable as it is about getting your subjects comfortable with your presence. Many photographers treat an outing or a shoot like they’re at a zoo, which in turn makes the subjects feel uncomfortable. Before taking your camera out, make time to connect with those around you, allow them to familiarize with you and in turn your photos will yield better and more natural results.

Edit Tight

The hardest part with anything we do is divorcing from something we spent time on or personally “love.” It is true with writing and it is true with photography. Even though you may love a specific photo, it may not be the right one for the client. Always keep this in mind when narrowing down your final products.

Give Something Back

It is always a great idea to share a print with your subject or client. This can be just as effective, if not more than a thank you note.

Summer Nights at Swanson's

Unknown Curator client Swanson's Nursery, which is celebrating its 90th Anniversary in 2014, is hosting a series of Summer Nights events, starting with Family Night on Thursday, June 19, from 6-8 p.m. In anticipation for the first day of summer, which is Saturday, June 21, families are encouraged to stop by the beloved Seattle gardening institution for an evening of fun! There will be a kids' seed-planting station courtesy of Renee's Garden Seeds, face painters, a balloon artist, and food, drinks and desserts from Hot Dog King and Street Wheels Ice Cream Sandwiches.

To make this first-annual event a little sweeter, Swanson's is donating 10-percent of sales to the Ballard Boys & Girls Club. The funds will go directly to support future gardening projects for the more than 1,700 kids who attend the clubhouse annually.

This is part of a larger Grow With Us Project initiative by Swanson's, as it is funding a community gardening and landscaping project at the Ballard Boys & Girls Club later this summer.

Stay tuned for more information on July's Garden-to-Glass cocktail-themed event, and August's hops-themed event!

Swanson's Nursery is located at 9701 15th Avenue NW in Seattle's Crown Hill/Ballard neighborhood.

The Ultimate Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is just around the corner (This Sunday in fact!), which means a lot of us will spend this week scrambling to figure out what to get dad this year. Luckily, we have the opportunity at Curator to work with some pretty fantastic clients who just so happen to have some pretty fantastic Father’s Day gift ideas for you. Here’s a list of some of our personal favorites that we think should be on everyone’s Father’s Day Gift Guide lists:

-       For all of those last-minute shoppers out there…which means most of us… Whole Foods Market will offer 30% off all beef and seafood steaks Father’s Day weekend, June 13 – June 15. Need to find some beer to wash it down with? No problem, because they’ll also offer Union Jack IPA on sale for just $3.99.

-       Now that you have your grilling items in stock, what in the world are you supposed to do with them? Allrecipes has a huge database of grilling recipes with helpful videos, so you can allow dad to truly take the day off.  For example, check out this recipe for Sirloin Steak with Garlic Butter.

-       If you want a true step-by-step guide, Macy’s has shared gift ideas for every type of dad. Check out everything from clothes to home supplies to gift cards and more.

-       A scratch ticket from Washington’s Lottery could give dad more than you think, for a truly unforgettable Father’s Day!

-       If you’re shopping for dad down in San Diego, like Curator’s very own Noelle, check out C. Wonder at Fashion Valley. Just in time for Father’s Day, they are offering for the first time an exclusive set of men’s gifts!  Some of our favorite picks are the C. Wonder Dopp Kits for $48 each, the Wonder ‘Dad’ Initial Cuff Links for $44/pair, and the Needlepoint Card Case for $48.

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-       JCPenney, which are located at multiple Simon Mall properties, have Seahawks shirts in grey and blue for just $25 to get dad pumped for football season. You can also find a lot of other great items at Nordstrom’s Half Yearly for Men sale starting this Friday, June 13.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Tech Detox Out of the Question? Try for a Quiet Commute.

There are worse things to stare at during a rough commute.

A little over a month ago, I began feeling like technology (which I love) had crept into every waking moment of my day. The fact that I’m a voracious news consumer and truly love social media in all forms contributed to the problem. I realized that my phone was glued to my hand from the time I woke up 'til the moment I fell asleep. However, being “connected" from sunup 'til wee hours of the morning was not translating to better or more work getting done. There has been a lot written about trying out a “technology detox.” But in the PR world, disconnecting from technology isn’t an option. I decided to set some ground rules on when and where to engage with technology and social media. I’ve made many little changes in the past month, but the most significant change — and one that has given me the feeling of getting my day back — is the decision to be totally disconnected from everything during my commute. No checking my smartphone. No music. No talk or sport radio. Total quiet for 15-20 minutes.

It felt completely unnatural during the first 2 weeks. A quick pause in the traffic on the West Seattle Bridge and my brain begged to read through just one or two BuzzFeed lists. While stopped at a red light, my fingers twitched, wanting to “Like” a bunch of posts on Facebook. Before I knew what I was doing, I’d find my hand reaching into my bag to locate my phone. And my arm would automatically seek the car stereo.

But I’ve grown comfortable with the quiet. Now I now see those few minutes of commuting as great ways to organize thoughts, think through a problem, or just mentally unplug (while keeping the eyes on the road). Here’s how I spend my quiet commute these days.

- Mental check-lists. Whether it’s for a client, the week’s meal planning or weekend errands, I work best when I have a defined set of tasks. - Reflect and refocus. On my drive home, I’ll often think through what I accomplished that day. And I’ll mentally note my top 3 priorities for the next day. - Relax. Be present. Yes, traffic in Seattle is rough. However, with majestic Mount Rainier on one side and beautiful Elliott Bay on the other, there aren’t many places in the world as beautiful as my traffic jam.

Do you have a special commute-time routine that helps you recharge or be more productive? Tweet your ideas to @amricard. I’m eager to take a look once I get home.

 

Congratulations Greenway!

Today we had the pleasure of celebrating the opening of our Whole Foods Market client's newest Pacific Northwest Region store in Tigard, OR. It was fun to see the Greenway Town Center Whole Foods Market bursting at the seems this morning with proud team members, and excited shoppers. Whole Foods Market's commitment to environmental sustainability, high-quality organic and local food, and fostering community was felt by everyone in attendance. Congratulations Greenway! EAP2greenwayEAPlilshopper

 

If I Were 22

file0002022362803 Graduation season is upon us. I recently stumbled across a series called "If I Were 22," where more than 80 top LinkedIn influencers shared advice from their youth. I was inspired by their words and wanted to share some of my favorite tidbits of advice from one of the influencers, Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist at Canva:

"Be brief. Contrary to school, in the work place there are few minimums. In my entire career, I can count on one hand the instances when an email, presentation, or report was too short. The perfect length for everything is when it is “complete”—more is less, and “shock and awe” doesn’t work in business or war. Here are guidelines: email—five sentences; presentations—tens slides and twenty minutes; report—one page.

"Enjoy your family and friends before they are gone. Nothing--not money, power, or fame--can replace your family and friends or bring them back once they are gone. You probably have delusions of immortality right now—that’s natural. At least consider that while you may be immortal, those around you are not.

"One more thing. When you were a child, you thought your parents were always right. Through high school and college, you thought your parents were always wrong. After college, you’ll realize that your parents were often right. And then, believe it or not, you’ll eventually become your parents. Wrap your young mind around that...."

Read the full piece here.

The series also caused me to reflect on what I would write if given the same prompt. Those who know me know I'm not much older than 22 myself, but a lot can change in a year. My best advice to new graduates entering the "real world" is to take life in stride. Take work seriously, and work really, really hard. But, when you're off the clock, go enjoy life. The best years of your life don't have to end when college does. Don't turn down an opportunity to meet new people or go somewhere you've never been because you're afraid of the unknown. Never stop learning or growing. This is just the beginning.