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Archive for December, 2011

A Case for Thank You

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Example #1:

“You look great!”

“Really? I didn’t sleep at all last night, I have these huge circles under my eyes.”

Example #2:

“Thank you for dinner! Everything was absolutely delicious!”

“Oh, sure. I just wish I hadn’t overdone the chicken.”

Example #3:

“Great work on that presentation.”

“Ugh, I felt like an idiot, just blabbering on and on'”

We’re all guilty of waging these “compliment wars,” as author and body image specialist Dr. Robyn Silverman calls them. You know the kind: shooting down every kind word and gesture, brushing them off, or even claiming to be undeserving.

We have created a culture that reveres humility to the extent that simply saying “Thank you” to a sincere compliment is confused with being cocky. Friends, coworkers, and those in our inner circles consistently send kind words to a compliment graveyard. Some even deny their own talents and shift the credit to someone else. Compliment wars plague girls and women more than their male counterparts. According to Dr. Robyn, “Young girls are indirectly taught, often by the female role models in their lives, to deflect, deny, or demote the compliment to ensure that the other person doesn’t think that we think we’re all that. We want to connect rather than offend.”

Why should telling a co-worker or friend, “You are really talented!” make them want to shrivel up and die? Shouldn’t we be able to use words to build up those around us? Deflecting compliments has the opposite effect, projecting an air of low confidence and self-esteem. Moreover, refusing a person’s compliment sends a message that his or her opinion is not valid, important, or appreciated. Even worse, though, when one is remiss in showing appreciation for being recognized, whether a present or a compliment, it is the equivalent of kicking a gift horse in the mouth. It’s lose-lose for everyone involved.

It’s about time we change this pattern of conversation and learn how to accept compliments and gifts in all their forms. This New Year’s, make a resolution to conscientiously accept and express thanks. Who knows? Maybe all those words and gestures will finally start to sink in.

Facebook’s Timeline: Letting It All Hang Out

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

As Facebook rolls out its newest feature, Timeline, 800 million users worldwide will have to confront their digital past. The new profile layout is essentially a scrapbook, neatly cataloguing all a user’s activities ‘ posts, photos, videos ‘ since joining the social networking site. The massive overhaul of profile pages is an obvious attempt to preserve the site’s novelty factor, but many users are reacting with the perennial backlash: concerns about privacy. As Jenna Wortham wrote in The New York Times, “This might be the first moment that many of Facebook’s 800?million members realize just how many digital bread crumbs they have been leaving on the site ‘ and on the Web in general.”

Facebook has 200 million users, or two-thirds the total population, in the US alone. But those numbers have been flat lining recently, leading many to wonder if Facebook will be the next MySpace. Top Facebook executives and industry analysts have commented that the challenge is not to recruit everyone in the US to sign up, but rather to keep current users entertained with the site.

But if Timeline is Facebook’s attempt to retain members, are they missing the mark? For years Facebook users have published silly videos, incriminating (yet funny) party pictures, and personal opinions with the understanding they would be buried under other activity. Users growing up with Facebook will find it difficult to transition from high school to college, and into a professional working life with a digital record of their younger selves available to new friends and colleagues with a simple click.’ Aren’t there things we’ve done or said on Facebook that we would like everyone to forget?

Facebook is confident its new offering will please members and advertisers alike. But if you ask us, Timeline might convince some members to make their Facebook days history.

Sugar plums dance in your head.

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Who doesn’t dream of sweet-cream-filled-goodness and plump fresh raspberries married with chocolate ganache and crisp, flaky pastry? There’s nothing quite like the French patisserie ‘- the way that all of the handcrafted selections are painstakingly displayed is akin’to a jewelry store, with all the little gems under spotlights.

Shot on an iPhone, no manipulation, Paris, France.

Photo by:

A Low-down Crosstown

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

We Cincinnatians are serious sports fans. We shower our professional teams with unconditional love and loyalty. We brush off whatever heartache the previous season may have imparted and begin each new season with bright-eyed enthusiasm ‘ “This is going to be it.” Opening Day is practically a holiday. From September to December, Sundays are reserved for tailgating outside Paul Brown. In Cincinnati, sports are inextricably intertwined with our heritage, our traditions and our hometown pride.

Last Saturday’s Crosstown Shootout between the men’s basketball teams of the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University left Cincinnatians hanging our heads in shame. For nearly 80 years, the Crosstown Shootout has been a weeklong tribute to Cincinnati’s two Division I basketball programs. Black and red flags mark houses next to those adorned in blue and white, firing off the Queen City’s friendly rivalries. But the nasty brawl that ended Saturday’s sucker punches and bloody cheeks was an embarrassment that will forever mar one of our city’s most cherished traditions.

Officials and coaches from both universities lamented the unsportsmanlike conduct of their players and issued suspensions to guilty parties. As UC’s head coach Mick Cronin said, “(Players) need to have respect that they are on scholarship and people come to see them play. They’re (representing) institutions of higher learning.”

That’s true. But these players aren’t only disgracing their respective universities, they’re embarrassing the entire city. It’s the kids, the fans, and the alumni who really deserve an apology. We will always love our schools and our teams. But in Cincinnati, the players have to earn it ‘ through hard work, honest winning and dignified losing. As for Saturday’s hooligans, apologies are a good start. For the remainder of the season, respectable behavior, on the court and off, will make us proud again.

Ghost of season’s past.

Friday, December 9th, 2011

In our over-consumed, throwaway world, isn’t it refreshing when images of old are brought back to life? Especially when it’s something in process so you aren’t quite sure what you are looking at? Psst…. it’s a layer from a poster, burned onto a screen in the reclaimation process.

Designed by Andy Hayes of Hucklebuck design studio.

Photo by: Poster designed by Andy Hayes of Hucklebuck Design Studio. Shot on an iPhone, no manipulation.