Saturday, March 26, 2011

Meetup Can Support the Foodie Adventurer in You

So it is time to come clean. I am a Food Network junkie. I can't get enough of the shows, the fantastic reality tv and the personalities. To feed this habit, I spend hours watching the shows, just imagining what it would be like to taste some of that amazing food.

Recognizing that scoring tickets to a show in New York was unlikely, as was traveling across the country to visit one of the featured restaurants, I started pursuing an alternative to making my food fantasies a more interactive experience. I began doing some research and found Meetup, a channel that connects people to local groups with a wide variety of interests.

The list of groups is endless and focuses on everything from knitting to dancing. In fact, it didn't take long to find a local group that hosts a monthly underground food market modeled after similar groups in Oakland and San Francisco. Of course, I didn't waste a second asking for more info about the "secret" foodie group.

Tonight was my first experience with Atlanta Underground Market and it was an amazing. I had anticipated this event for weeks and even planned ahead to secure a membership card so I could guarantee access to the secret location!

The market was held in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood here in Atlanta, a eclectic area that is heavy on warehouses, lofts and likely place to secure that unique piece from an up-and-coming artist. The building itself was a unfinished commercial property and its rustic look only contributed to the whole mystique of the underground market concept. Although, I may have risked ruining that since I did check-in on Foursquare.

The vendors were as diverse as one could imagine and included everything from Middle Eastern food to local artisan popsicle makers. It was a lot to take in, but I won't forget that lime, cucumber and cilantro popsicle, the zucchini lime soup or the charcuterie plate that included salami cured right in East Atlanta. Talk about eating local!

I am already looking forward to next month's event and even after we left tonight I asked (okay begged) my boyfriend to run back in to pick-up some popsicles to hold me over! Thanks to Meetup I have a new pastime and don't think my exploration of local groups will end anytime soon.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's Just the Way My Mind Works

Earlier this month, SXSW was upon me and I was pretty anxious about it since it was my first time attending. I spent hours researching the panel schedule and sending in RSVPs for parties. Even with the time I spent preparing, I was still overwhelmed at the thought of how much information would be coming my way and I wanted to be sure that I was able to get the most of out the conference as I could.

As part of preparing to tackle this firehose of social media knowledge, I started to do a little research to identify an efficient way to take notes. More importantly I wanted to be able to share what I had learned and utilize the information afterwards. I knew traditional note taking just wasn't going to cut it.

I let my fingers do the googling and came across Mindmeister. It took me just a few minutes to realize that this was the answer and it would allow me to take notes similar to the way my mind works! Here is one example that explains how to get rid of email (from @arvind):

The capabilities are amazing and not only does it allow you to organize your thoughts, but you can attach files, insert links, assign tasks, invite others to collaborate on a map and much more.

After SXSW, I began exploring other ways to use Mindmeister and so far I have used it for social media content planning and yearly objectives.

I suggest you spend some time checking this out. I promise it will change the way you work for the better! I would love to know what you think, so commenti below to share your thoughts