Sunday, 19 January 2014

My Favorite Website Attributes

If 'internet belonging' can be measured and equated to 'citizenship', I reckon i'll be bestowed with the 'resident & ordinarily resident' status, hands down! (pun intended, because hands will be down touch-surfing the internet or typing onto it)!

Websites visited, any day, exceeds people visited so its only natural that I have developed my own likes and expectations from websites as well as reward and punish them (yeah, 'them' means websites) accordingly.

Now, raised as I'm in a pluralistic world - online & offline, in that order, its unlikely i will have 'one' favorite attribute and 'one' favorite website! 

Yes, there are many attributes that excite me coupled with a select club of websites embodying each of those attributes.  

These are the attributes I look for in websites, that make the website stand out for me in millions and achieve a favorite status:




1.  Intuitive:

Well, don't know if that's because I'm a woman, I'm inherently intuitive and value that attribute a great deal - be it in a person or in a website.  

An intuitive website attracts me, engages me and makes me revisit it again and again.

What's my definition of an intuitive website

(a)  To start with, a website that handles content (either a lot of quantity or complicated content or both) effortlessly, comes with a simple, yet powerful layout and navigation system.  Nice, topical icons endear me to a website. The landing page & how seamlessly traffic is directed therefrom to the rest of the site - depending on user inclination - is key.

(b)  Next, a website that makes the same content - all of it - easily accessible on any device of my choice.  This is a 'must have' for me for that website to become my favorite - and, unfortunately, a feature many many websites lack, as it were.  

So, a website that can make the same content accessible in exactly the same manner across a range of devices / gadgets (e.g., a PC - be it laptop or desktop, a tablet, a smart phone etc.) scores very high on my favorite meter!

Let me give you an example:

Food Sense is a website I love for its recipes and fantastic photography of course, but more importantly, for it being highly responsive and intuitive in its layout and the way it handles content across any device - try it, I don't know when was the last time you had a website for an appetizer - this website, by itself, is a great appetizer, irrespective of which device you get to it from!



(c)  As added bonus, I love websites that let me navigate them (well, make that 'control' them :) and play with them using motion control - or at the very least, mouse control.  

The Audi A3 website is one of my top favorites, as much as it is the world's darling.  In case you are on a PC, just remember to connect your webcam. The site, as a tribute to the model that is 'ahead on intuition' lets you beautifully and intuitively navigate - not just the site, but the car itself - using gestures & motion control.  









Fell in love? hmm.. recover fast because this post still has significant bandwidth to cruise ..

2.  Informative:

A website for me, more often than not, is a repository - a virtual library.  So, a website's got to be informative and resourceful for me.  More its informative value and resourcefulness, the merrier.

Here are two of my very clear favorites - I don't remember a day when I'm online and haven't been here - and take note, they are very different genres :)

Mashable actually melts me!  My 'go to' staple for social & digital media, technology and web culture coverage.  




The next favorite for this attribute, well, has nothing to do with where I live :)

New York Magazine is my 'go to' staple, for, guess what (no, I don't live in NY) .. for Fashion :)



I absolutely adore their GIFs, especially, from design to beauty! Go, take a look .. by the way, remember to get back here, in good time!  This is as close you can get to losing your way on the information highway, trust me :)


3.  Inspiring:  

Whilst the aforesaid attributes largely have generic definitions, this one can be subjective.  What's inspiring for me need not be for another.

So, what inspires me?  

Don't laugh: animation and movement inspires me (don't ask me why - i don't know - may be i still have a child well alive in me :) 

And, yes, i concede, i'm lazy.  

Combine the two and what do you get? Yes, GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format).

I get majorly turned on by websites that give me animated content - and yet, don't require me to click or play at all - just animated content playing and replaying by itself :) 

Now, I already mentioned GIFs in point 2 above, but those are for their informative value whilst out here, its purely their entertainment, creativity, imagination and therefore, inspirational value :)

Sample this folks:



and this ..



Inspired?  want these? read on ..

Imgur and Gifhell are my favorite websites for this attribute.

Once in a while, a random favorite emerges if it provides something like this:





4.  Interactive:

Yes, I'm lazy but that's where the challenge for a website is!

Interactive websites turn me on infinitely.  Sites that let me create unique content and most often, run contests and reward such creation as well.  

Being the 'Fashionista' I'm naturally bestowed with a penchant for styling; here are two websites, in the order of their founding, that save my passion from going unrequited:

Polyvore



Polyvore is where most of us turned online stylists for the first time; an incredible virtual, open wardrobe, if you will, it provides excellent online ambiance (read tools & settings) to mix, match, create, test and of course, buy. 

Limeroad is a huge personal favorite.  As far as i know, the only Indian site that lets us play stylist - creating looks with the online 'Scrapbook' and earning shopping credits in return.  We can also curate and earn when our curated goodies get picked up by our network.  The rate at which I'm going, a good part of the rest of my lifetime is gonna be enjoyed right here :)




5.  Indulgent:

This was coming, wasn't it?

I love websites that 'indulge' me - now, what indulges me? 

And, its important to make a fine distinction between 'inspire' and 'indulge'. 

Whilst the aforesaid GIFs inspire me, what indulges me, of course, you saw it coming - is, SHOPPING :)

In an e-commerce world, yes, there are shopping sites dime a dozen.  But, for the discerning fashionista and the born jewellerista I'm, the website that is number 1 on my favorites list is:

Etsy

Etsy lets me shop for handcrafted and vintage products directly from fellow connoisseurs from around the world.  The advantage is, its very personal (I've interacted with loving creators from as varied backgrounds as Israel, the Far East & of course, the US & the rest of the developed world).  I absolutely drool over the range of jewelry and handicrafts .. my wishlist here will clearly exceed my lifeline, trust me!



Forget retirement funds, here i'm, contemplating how to fortify and 'inflation proof' my 'Etsy Fund' :-)

6.  Impenetrable:

Ah, ah, wait a second .. my definition of 'impenetrable' is not about technical security :)

A secure website is an ideal website and I will cover that attribute in a while.

'Impenetrable' for me, quite simply, is what Reddit is!

Reddit is not a run-of-the-mill social media site.  It celebrates and, more importantly, enforces the value of community, authenticity & quality content - at the same time and in one go :) 


This website is almost classical in its approach, values 'educating', keeps 'marketing' out and is a stickler for quality content - I actually paused here, to see if I've expressed my view a tad too strongly and scouted around for this additional reference and vindication for the readers :)  

Its them being such a stickler that makes me classify this website under 'impenetrable' and not 'informative' - though it has tremendous educative value, what appeals to me even more, is their outlook and stickler approach.

That, to me, is 'impenetrable' in today's plagiarized times!

7.  Impressionable:

I like websites that are different :) In the way they look.  Unique and distinct.

A website that leaves a distinct imprint and 'first' impression in a matter of seconds.

Be it through very traditional / classical looks or through use of technology (including, for example, QR - Quick Response codes).

For example, I quite like this Giraffe website.

Its child-like and easy; i absolutely love that 'ticket' to book a table:




8.  Ideal:

Well, well .. this really is not just the last of my attributes.  Its also 'the' least attribute .. the bare minimum I expect my favorite website(s) to have:

(a)  Free of pop-ups and ads! And should load very quickly.  Nothing, i repeat, nothing irritates me more than this not happening!

(b)  I love every new product or category, especially if its a shopping website, to 'open in a new window' by default.  

(c)  Secure payment enabled.

(d)  Does NOT store any of my credit card or personal details by default (seriously, with the range and extent of hacks we have seen, I trust my details only with my brain)!

(e)  Easily readable, short, understandable privacy and other terms of engagement!  

hmm.. since these are the very basics I expect in every website, I'm not even specifying examples for this attribute - here's hoping there never will be a need to provide one! 

That rounds up my favorite website attributes coupled with the examples embodying them :)

Hope you find this 'i' themed blog post about the internet, well, interesting :)

This post is written for a contest by The Blog Bowl and WebRiti.  

No, none of these websites even know I'm writing about them, so this is not a sponsored post :) Its just my passionate & often times, strong views!

Cheers :)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Giveaway on my blog: multicolored, Indian ethnic sling bag .. Enter Now ..

Update: Jan 23, 2014 : This Giveaway has since closed.  Thank you. 

___________________________________________________________


Its Giveaway time on this blog :)

This Giveaway is sponsored by Limeroad.com

WIN this handcrafted, Indian ethnic multicolored sling bag:


Rules:

1. "Like" the sponsor Limeroad.com's Facebook page (1 point)

2.  Add me to your Google+ Circles - see this blog's side bar under 'Google+ Followers' (1 point)

3.  Follow this blog on Bloglovin (1 point)

4.  Sign up with Limeroad.com Here .. and make one Scrapbook Look with this Bag and leave a comment on this blog post with (i) your Limeroad sign up email ID and (ii) the link to your Limeroad scrapbook.  You can also email me (10 points + additional 5 points as per note B below)


Notes:

A.  Each person can submit an entry with their limeroad.com registered email ID.

B.  Fresh joiners to Limeroad through this Giveaway get 5 special points. However, if you are already an existing Limeroad registered scrapbooker, you can still earn these additional 5 points by bringing along/introducing/referring a family member / friend / acquaintance of yours, who will now become a fresh joiner. Please provide the email ID of such person you have referred to now sign up with Limeroad through this Giveaway, to earn these additional 5 points.

C.  Giveaway ends at 5 p.m. IST on Thursday, 23 January 2014.

D.  Giveaway open to all (including international entries) but the prize can only be shipped to an Indian address (hence, you can enter if your prize can be sent to an Indian address).

E.  There will be 1 winner for this Giveaway.  I will select the winner and make an announcement here on Friday, 24 January 2014. The winner needs to email me their Indian shipping address, following which I will provide the same to the sponsor and the prize will be shipped. 

F.  This blog has Google+ comments enabled - this may, sometimes, result in your comment not showing up; please do not worry about the same - i will get a notification of every comment posted (whether or not it shows up).  If you do not see your comment, please feel free to also email me. 


Criteria for winner selection:

- The best look among the entries with most points earned as per 1 to 4 above plus as in Note B.

- 'Best look' means how stylishly it is put together as well as the size and placement of the products in the look.

- A maximum of 18 points can be earned by each person.  So, please try to earn all these 18 points :)  Most likely, the best look among all entries with 18 points each, will win

- I will keep the winner selection objective and transparent (time permitting, might even post all the looks here :)


Guidance for creating your Scrapbook Look:

Once you have registered on Limeroad, click the 'create scrapbook' side bar and drag components (apparel, accessories) to the mini scrapbook window that opens up.  Stretch the sizes as required and place them and save your look. The look must have a minimum of 3 products (maximum is to your choice). 

Here is an example I created for this Giveaway:



So, please take care of the size - each item must be prominently sized; the components of the look - dress, footwear, bag, jewelry etc. - can overlap as long as each is clearly visible. 

For any doubts, email me here: phantomdelight@gmail.com

Happy Scrapbooking folks .. the bag awaits you ..

And, here is further good news .. if we show sufficient enthusiasm and if the numbers are good, we may have regular Giveaways on this blog .. it can get bigger and better .. so come out in full support ..

Cheers :)

A Radiant Orchid Look ..

My Limeroad.com Look of the day 'Radiant Orchid' from My Limeroad Scrapbook:




Cheers :)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

I wanna Recharge My Hair to GIFt myself a New, Recharged Life ..

Well, you are about to enter a recharge cycle of sorts ..

hmm.. we have all heard about a vicious cycle, so what's a recharge cycle? I define a recharge cycle as a positive chain reaction that results in a continuous, cumulative, positive recharge of energy and therefore events in our life thus providing a new impetus to our life cycle :)

sorry, i guess that's a word one too many ..

especially when the subject matter of the post is 'Hair'.. yes, not for nothing is it called our crowning glory!

Hair, to me and to our culture, is all about visual resplendence, so i have decided to dedicate this blog post, as a tribute to, exactly that - visual resplendence :)

Here i present to you, Ladies & Gentlemen, my coolest reasons why I want to recharge my hair and how it will recharge my life:

I present this in the form of GIFs(Graphics Interchange Format)for two reasons:

1.  Yes, visual resplendence

2.  Seamless ease - if they were videos, you have to 'click' to play each of them; whilst, here, you can be handsfree and enjoy seamless visual resplendence - exactly as beautiful hair comes across as a visual delight!

Since my presentation is in the form of GIFs, the title aptly is "GIFt" of a new, recharge life :)

Okie, that's enough tossing, let's get to the roots, shall we?

Vivian Greene famously said "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass ..... Its about learning to dance in the rain."

Recharging my Hair will empower me to Dance in the Rain .. without a care in the world .. since I was a teenager, rain dancing has attracted and fascinated me.. come,experience it with me.. 




Ever watched a peacock dance? Even better, ever joined in?  I will now be able to with Recharged Hair ..



Ever danced in the rain with friends? I want to and now can do precisely that ..



I can now reduce an umbrella to a mere prop, in my dance in the rain ..




And make my loved ones dance to my tunes .. well, quite literally..

Its a long time since I went Bungee Jumping .. now, I don't mean a backyard bungee jumping prank, trust me:



Or, bungee jumping in the shallow neighborhood pond for that matter..



I mean serious Bungee Jumping, from real heights to come down in a free fall, liberated and one with nature .. 




There is hardly anything as much an oxymoron in life as bungee jumping .. it gives you such a high even as you plunge lower and lower!

I even have 'bungee jumping' themed jewelry (you can see it in the last GIF to this post .. the 'closing highlights') ..

Yet, for years, i have been damn worried that the few locks of crowning glory i have might actually submit to gravity earlier than I do and plummet never to return .. now that i will recharge my hair, i can recharge my life going bungee jumping.. and, ford a stream and feel a valley..




I love Kayaking and Canoeing, actually more Kayaking than the latter:

ah ah, no, not stating that here for a post .. have already successfully kayaked in Kerala & Vancouver .. and fallen irrevocably in love with sailboats .. can show you actual, dated snaps :)

Come, experience my would be recharged life with me..

That's Canoeing for you ..



And, Kayaking for me :)

Well, well, if you notice, they are bald .. that's because, they hadn't recharged their hair and in the swift and cold winds, they lost it all!  I wouldn't thanks to my recharge I hope :)




Color, Color, What Color?

Recharging my hair would be a color lifeline for my hair and life .. a born fashionista, with a deep penchant for hues and colors, they sway me naturally!

I would have renounced life had i been born a gentleman .. seriously, i just can't live life in 'black, white, grey, brown and navy' as colors! phew! here we are, debating if mauve or soft pink or fuchsia contributes the most to making 'Radiant Orchid' the Pantone Color of the Year 2014 ..

Yet, for such unbridled love for colors, the myriad components in hair colors scare the hell out of me .. and potentially my hair out of my head ..

Which is why, recharging my hair might fortify it to withstand and welcome a color onslaught .. wow .. take a look ..




Few things can exhilarate and well, accelerate life as much as hair colors can ..




Paragliding 

I have never gone paragliding and am waiting to recharge myself to take a first shot at it..



Planet Mars, here i come ..

Regular readers of this blog know my love for amateur astronomy and how keenly I follow the sky calendar and the Mars missions (Our very own, Indian and the American missions).

I fancy inter-planetary travel and would love to head over to Planet Mars .. soon (yeah, they are still recruiting for one way volunteers .. I am waiting for it to become two way, you see, so i can come back and make a fortune out of my visit so i can finance my trip to Planet Venus thereafter)..

Being worried about hairfall all the time, it would be poetic justice to defy gravity and have my hair raise .. literally ..




I then would not only have the myriad hues and colors for my hair, but also the shine and twinkle of the galaxies thanks to my space travel: how exciting na?




Its time to get back to Earth now, sweetheart ..

I grew up to fairy tales and despite racks and racks of Cinderella shoes, am still waiting for my Prince Charming .. oh well, not because Nature did not bestow me with goodness .. but because we just haven't found each other .. yeah, GPS doesn't work in matters of the heart, you see, at least, not as yet ..

So what if Cinderella isn't it for me?

It could be Rapunzel hurray!

After I recharge my hair, I can recharge my life Rapunzel style by finding my Prince Charming aka Mr.Right ..




After which, sooner than later, it will hopefully be time for a Status Update .. by God ..

Time for Motherhood:

The most blessed and privileged, unique status update we ladies can have is to become a Mother .. to a child .. the Father of Man!

Yet, before, with and after Motherhood come a serious of fears and challenges .. the two chief ones revolving around shedding .. the first, we want to shed weight post pregnancy and the second, oh dear, I dread this, we don't want to shed hair because of all the hormonal changes our body goes through in this remarkable Natural phase of life ..



I dread my baby should not react like this should I experience severe hair loss:



Well, if i can receive recharging solutions for my hair and go in to my pregnancy with hair immune to the oncoming onslaught .. well, well, i can have the hair and braid it too, what say?

That's that for the future ..

Here's how recharging my hair will most immediately recharge my life (yes, you got it, i am a huge fan of parallel cinema and love swaying the script backwards and forwards .. its as much challenge as tackling tangled hair, trust me) 

Wash my hair, whenever I want ..

Oh dear, i read in my research for this post, that a 100 years ago, folks washed their hair once a month .. guess what, i am getting there .. no silly, not because of the inflation & not being able to afford hair care products ..its because i am not able to afford the amount of hair loss wetting my hair causes ..



Add to it the trauma of getting scolded by Mom .. this is what a double whammy should be ..




I long for recharged hair so i will get a pampered hair wash every time, as often as i want ..



And, I can attain nirvana under the shower ..




And, I don't have to broadcast my usual sob story after every hair wash episode ..



With recharged hair, I can toss and turn and enjoy my just washed hair .. without the fear of losing hair ..



I can celebrate Holi - The Festival of Colors

When was the last time you actually 'celebrated' Holi, the festival of colors, in all its glory celebrated in the Country?  All the more if you are a girl / lady ..

I hide .. because, forget hair color dear, these holi colors will be oh so unholy for my hair ..

Recharged hair will of course stand up to this and i can, at long last, plunge in to a world of color and splendor:




Am I Game again for Love All? Its time for Tennis ..

Recharging my hair will return me to my first love .. yes, tennis and especially lawn tennis.

There are only three seasons in my hometown Chennai - Hot, Hotter and Hottest.  Throw in some free humidity and if you want to know what playing a tennis match feels like, just watch the upcoming Grand Slam of the Asia Pacific, The Australian Open: all the more, you have to be a gal / lady with pony tailed crowning glory to understand what all that sweat can wreck ..



With recharged hair, I can be a star attraction flaunting my crowning glory ..




So, until this opportunity to recharge my hair and therefore life comes across, I guess, i will have to be content playing tennis indoors .. on the Nintendo .. phew!



My Beauty Sleep

I love sleeping with my hair open .. alas, that means a few decades less with my hair! Yeah, leaving hair open whilst sleeping, while supplying it good air, does result in lots of tangles and ultimately hairfall ..

Recharged hair might give me my ultimate freedom .. to sleep with my hair and conscience wide open :)



I have limited hair now and the few styles I can experiment with are:

A grown-up ponytail:



And, spray my hair to give it extra volume ..



Recharging my hair will open my world to a galaxy of Hair Styles and Options: like this Game of Thrones braid :)





Source: I created this GIF so copyright for the GIF belongs to me phantomdelight@gmail.com
Photograph Sources:
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I have always fancied standing on a ship, like Rose (Kate Winslet) does in the movie Titanic, stormy winds tangling my fortified hair .. looking in to the icy chill waters below .. as soon as i get my hair recharge, this is where i am heading .. lo and behold ..



If you thought those are dime a dozen cool reasons to recharge my hair and thus recharge my life, dear reader, you have no clue what's coming ..

I am braiding this post together for the IndiBlogger - Sunsilk 'Recharge Your Hair, Recharge Your Life' engagement:


and on offer .. is a cool new Vespa ..

So, another super cool reason to get my hair recharged is so that I can zip past in the Vespa .. now, a helmet that a two-wheeler comes with can be quite a challenge for hair health .. ask Virender Sehwag, if you don't agree .. so, with recharged hair, i can take on the world .. 

and sport different hairstyles and become a star celebrity in my fashionista circle, doubly so, with the Vespa in tow .. Yo Womaniya:


All through the post, i have bragged about recharging my hair .. wonder how?

Sunsilk are providing the secret solution to recharging our hair .. so, as soon as i get it, i will fuel myself .. to recharge my life as aforesaid ..

Anymore reasons and this post will get longer than Rapunzel's hair ..

So, i am applying the brake here ..

Now, what's a good story with a recap and what's a good scooter without a stephney (is that how they spell it)? 

So, here is a fond GIF i created myself as 'closing highlights' (yeah, i love hair highlights): take a look .. this is how recharged hair will recharge my life ..


Source: I created this GIF so copyright for the GIF belongs to me phantomdelight@gmail.com
Photograph Sources:
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If you liked this ride, here is a little extra ..

You can view the closing highlights with a rocking track ..



Hope you loved the ride .. was like no other right? Took me 15 woman hours in the making .. invested in conceptualizing, researching, sourcing, scripting, creating, editing and of course, publishing / presenting ..

Thanks so much for stopping by .. before you zip past, I would love for you to park your views in the 'comments' below ..

Cheers :)