Me Connecting The Dots – Do what you love…

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Beyoncé: Entertainer, Business Woman, Mother and Wife (The Mrs. Carter Show 2013/2014)

Hello everyone,

Last Thursday (20.03.2014) I went to the Mrs. Carter Show in Antwerp, Belgium. I also went to the concert last year. A lot of people asked me: “Why are you going to the same show again?” A few reasons: great voice, great dancer, true entertainer, cool outfits, spectacular show and she has a message (and it was a different show with new songs). At the end of the concert I just felt empowered and full of energy. You will understand when you have visited a show of her. ;)

IMG_5435

With songs like ‘Run the World’ and ‘Flawless’ and her entirely female band, Beyoncé shows her feminism. These are lyrics from Flawless which were projected on the screen:
“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller
We say to girls: “You can have ambition, but not too much
You should aim to be successful, but not too successful
Otherwise, you will threaten the man
Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is most important
Now, marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same
We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are
Feminist: a person who believes in the social political, and economic equality of the sexes.”

Besides being a true entertainer, she is also a philanthropist. She supports different organizations and has set up ‘#BeyGOOD’. #BeyGOOD is working with partners to make a difference in the lives of others. During the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, fans were asked to bring donations to each venue, so they would become eligible for a seat upgrade.

She inspires me because she is not only an entertainer, but also a businesswoman, mother and wife at the same time. She is doing what she loves, motivates others and fights for causes like gender equality. And she knows that she is a role model. While other celebrities can’t wait to visit a coffeeshop once they have arrived in Amsterdam, Beyoncé chose to visit the Anne Frank House (museum) before she hit the stage.

Beyonce Anne Frank House

Finally, to the people who asked me which show was better, 2013 or 2014: I can’t choose because both shows were truly spectacular. And yes this year was a different show where she performed a lot of songs from her latest Visual album and here voice was Flawless. However The Mrs. Carter Show 2013 in Antwerp will always be special to me because she was ill the day before and had to cancel that show. When she talked about it at our show she got teary eyes, you could feel that true emotion. It made us feel a bit closer to her and it showed that she is, like everyone else, just a human.

XO

:) Helen

Song of the Day: Halo – Beyoncé (Sportpaleis Antwerp, 20.03.2014)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_1IaHSv_jk

Beyoncé apologizes for canceled show (SportpaleisAntwerp)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCKkD792cA4


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No more International Women’s Day!

Hello everyone,

Today it’s International Women’s Day. It is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements. It is also an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women. |Source: United Nations|

Much progress has been made to protect and promote women’s rights in recent years. However, nowhere in the world can women claim to have all the same rights and opportunities as men, according to the UN.
Women’s equality has made positive gains but the world is still unequal. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action.

I think it’s good that we are paying attention to these subjects every year. But I hope that there will be one day with no more International Women’s Day. Which means that we do not have to recognize women for their achievements as something extraordinary anymore! No, it’s normal that women can have great accomplishments. Which means it’s normal that women have all the same rights and opportunities as men! Which means there is equal pay for women and men for equal work!
I’m waiting for this day to come. I know it will!

Many people, organizations and brands are celebrating this day with inspiring videos and images. To conclude and celebrate this day, I want to share some with you.

Every woman should be able to follow their dreams! – L’Oréal

President Barack Obama

Women Dreams Obama

Women make it happen! – Kiva

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton IWD

Happy International Women’s Day!

:) Helen


Song of the Day: Run The World (Girls) – Beyoncé


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Last year in my twenties…

Hello everyone,

Next week is my 29th birthday. Which means that ‘three zero’ is nearby…
I don’t know what it is, but it just feels like getting old and really stepping into the grown up world. I’m even a bit scared of it. But luckily I still have one year in my twenties.

I guess the feeling of being scared of 30 is because I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything yet. In an ideal world (my ideal world) I would be well on my way to a fulfilling career at my dream job, have a stable relationship, and know what I want in life. In reality I am single and I’m doubting my career choice. The problem is that I don’t even know what exactly my dream job is. Something in Cosmetics? Fashion? Food? Entertainment? I’m working in the Food industry right now, so defining my dream job is not only about which industry to work for. I feel like I am missing something in my current job, but I can’t tell what exactly…

Why does my ideal world look like that? Is it the expectation of society that we should be having a nice job and a relationship by our thirties? Or is it the clock that’s ticking (as a woman it is a nice age to start thinking about having babies)? Somehow, I feel an internal pressure to hurry up because 30 is around the corner. It’s hard to explain, but I feel the urge to start working on something meaningful, something big…
It also doesn’t help when one subject always pops up at family gatherings: “Don’t you have a boyfriend yet?”. “You’re a woman, career is not that important, starting a family is the most important thing in life.” I totally disagree with that. I think that we should be able to have both: career and family. I hope that one day I can accomplish that.QLC

I start to wonder, am I in a so-called Quarterlife crisis? “The quarterlife crisis (QLC) is a period of life usually ranging from the late teens to the early thirties, in which a person begins to feel doubtful about their own lives, brought on by the stress of becoming an adult.” Experts describe a QLC as a sense of panic that your life, career, relationships, etc. isn’t where you want it to be. |Source: Wikipedia|

It sounds very familiar to me. Apparently two thirds of young adults experience this. So I’m not the only one. I guess I really should not be complaining. There are so many people in the world that don’t even get to make their own choices in life. And in the end, 30 is just a number. I should be happy that I’m getting older and have a life in front of me to chase my dreams.

2014 Will be a year where I’ll try to let go of my expectations of what (my) adulthood should be like. It doesn’t matter that some of my friends are getting married, having babies or starting their own business. I should not compare myself to others. Life is too short to daydream it away wishing you had someone else’s. Twenty nine, I’m ready!

:) Helen

P.S. Thinking about accomplishments, I have to congratulate the Dutch skaters who have already won 17 medals after
just one week at the Olympic Games. Today, the Dutch women dominated the 1500m speedskating by becoming
1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th!
Society_Levo


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Enjoy the little things in life

Hello everyone,

It has been a tough week and now I’m also feeling a little bit sick. So I’m just going to share some of my favorite food because it makes me feel good. And maybe it will give you some inspiration for dinner tonight.

But first, I want to share a video of Kayden who is 15 months old and experienced rain for the first time. A great reminder for us to stop and appreciate the little things in life. Next time that I’ll be caught in heavy rain without an umbrella, I hope I will think about Kayden and just smile and run.

Some of my favorite food:

Tofu
My favorite Tofu dish is the one that my grandmother makes! Home made is the best.
If you want to try some good Tofu dishes you should ask a Chinese person, who knows how to cook, to prepare it for you or just go to a traditional Chinese restaurant (in The Netherlands, there are a lot of ‘Chinese-Indonesian’ restaurants who have adjusted their food for the Dutch market).

_Tofu-7

Chocolate
I just love chocolate!! Especially Ferrero Rocher.

Chocolate

ferrero-rocherLobster, Crab, and Shrimp
I love it when the lobster and crab are prepared the ‘Chinese way’.  It tastes the best at home, but you should try it in a traditional Chinese restaurant. The lobster is usually served with noodles underneath it. I had some good ones in the US (New York, Boston, Los Angeles) and Hong Kong. In The Netherlands you should go to a Cantonese (Dim Sum) restaurant in Rotterdam or Amsterdam. When the shrimp is fresh, I like to just boil it so that you can taste the natural flavor of the shrimp.

-hong-kong-lobster1-500x350

2.1.1.2-seafood_03
-Shrimp
Ribbed Potato Chips
One of the favorites of me and my colleagues at work. We even eat in the car when going to external meetings!

Lays chipsSushi
Most (older) Chinese people say that it is stupid to eat cold rice. I didn’t like it either, but in the past few years I started to enjoy it very much. I guess Japanese people are not as crazy as my grandparents think. ;) The California Maki is my favorite.

sushi20
After looking at all these pictures, I feel much better already!
Enjoy your weekend!

:) Helen

Enjoy-the-little-things


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Super Bowl ad – “The more you talk about your product, the less people like it.”

Hello Everyone,

One thing that fascinates me as a Marketeer is the Super Bowl, which will be held again this Sunday. Since I live in The Netherlands, I have never watched it. And to be honest, I don’t care about the game. But what I did watch, were the commercials and the halftime show. Normally, commercials are seen as interruptions of the main show that we are watching. But several studies have shown that 50% of the Super Bowl audience tunes in just to watch the commercials. Even as a European, I am looking forward to them.

Last year, the Super Bowl was the most watched event in America with more than 108 million viewers. To compare, in The Netherlands the most watched event (soccer game) had around 12 million viewers. So, these are numbers that our small country can not relate to at all.

A 30-second commercial costs $4 million and a 60-second commercial $8 million! And the average production costs are at least $1 million. It makes me wonder if it is worth the investment. Because it gives you no guarantee of increased sales. However, you can expect that most or all viewers of the Super Bowl will watch your commercial. That is around 108 million people in the USA. Besides that, millions of viewers abroad are going to watch the ads. And, even better, millions of people are talking about your commercial and your brand. Prior to, during, and even after the event. I guess that this buzz makes it worth the money.

Research of C. Tomkovick (Marketing professor) shows that two-thirds of the companies who advertise during the Super Bowl break, enjoy a boost in stock price, sales, and brand awareness. Of course some brands do better than others. Tomkovick also shows that popular commercials often feature dramatic sound, motion, and celebrities. Other good ingredients are humor and surprise endings. “The more you talk about your product, the less people like it”.

Whether it is worth the money or not, I enjoy the buzz around it. I’ve been teased about what will happen to yellow (M&M’s) on Facebook and could even vote for the #covered or #uncovered ad of David Beckham for H&M.
I am looking forward to it!

While I am writing this blog, something just came to my mind. Would it be an idea if a charity organization gets a free commercial spot during the Super Bowl? This way, they can get the attention of millions of viewers that they would not get otherwise. It would be a nice gesture of the TV Network that broadcasts it.

A few Super Bowl 2013 commercials that I like:

M&M’s Love Ballad – Super Bowl 2013
Because I love M&M’s!

Mercedes Soul – Super Bowl 2013
Because I like dreaming..

Calvin Klein Concept – Super Bowl 2013
Just because… ;)

Have fun watching tomorrow!

:) Helen

Song(s) of the Day: My favorite halftime show: Beyoncé (and Destiny’s Child) – Super Bowl 2013


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Do what you love – The first steps

Hello everyone,

After getting inspired to spent 10 percent of my time on the things that I love, I decided to sign myself up as a volunteer. I always had the idea to get involved with charity when I have built a career in the commercial industry. But when I was thinking about my life and what I wanted to do, I thought “why not start now?”. I love children and they are the future. I think that every child should have the right to education, a carefree childhood and basic necessities such as food and health. That’s why I have decided to contact UNICEF.

There was a vacancy on the website which I applied to. A week later, I had an interview at the UNICEF store in Breda. It turned out that they needed volunteers for different positions. I decided to help with organizing events and writing articles. Now I am officially signed up as a volunteer and I am excited to start my first project. mandela_Education_UNICEF

I have also signed myself up for piano lessons. It’s something that I always wanted to do, but never actually took action. And when the years passed by, lack of time and the thought of being too old to start learning to play piano were holding me back. But last year I realized that you’re never too old to learn something. And I wanted to start doing something that I love. So I bought a digital piano and had my first piano lesson.

My teacher is a very talented piano player and his way of teaching is a little different. He doesn’t use any books, but creates his own material. At the first lesson he asked me: “what music do you like?” Alicia Keys was one of the artists that I mentioned, so he wrote down the music notes of Fallin’ and told me this would be the first song to play. I don’t know if this is the right method for me, but for now I enjoy learning to play. Digital Piano

There are still many things that I would like to do, but I know I have to take one step at a time. To remind myself of all my dreams, I have created a mood board. I did this with a friend. We used a lot of magazines and I even surprised myself with things that I have put on it. It was a lot of fun to do and I would recommend it to everyone!

:) Helen

P.S. Happy 60th Birthday to my inspirator Oprah Winfrey!
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”

baby-steps-to-big-dreams

Song of the day (I want to learn to play in 2014): Read all about it – Emeli Sandé


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Connecting the dots…

Hello everyone,

Here it is, my first post!

Movies, Music, Dance, Musical, and Theatre were the first things that I wrote down. Next were: Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle, News, Society, Charity work, Photography, Marketing, Health and Languages. I could even name a few more. But these were the ones that I wrote down when I was asked to write down my interests/passion.
It was at a Seminar ‘Live your Life Mission’ (‘Leef je Levensmissie’ in Dutch) which I attended on a Saturday in November. |Trainer of the Seminar: Arnout Visscher|

What is your goal, your mission? What matters to you? And how are you going to make sure that you are doing the things that you actually want to do? These were the main topics of the Seminar. Throughout the day we made excercises and had interactive discussions in smaller groups. At the end of the day we all had to imagine we were 92 years old and write a letter to a friend. The letter will be send to our home address in 9 months.

I attended this Seminar because I have so many different interests and I don’t know what I exactly want. Since I graduated, I always wanted to find my dream job. And likely this dream job at least contains one of the interests which I wrote down. Currently I am working as a Brand Manager, so Marketing is covered. I have great colleagues and I am slowly getting more and more responsibilities. But there is something inside of me that feels that this isn’t enough. Is it because my job has nothing to do with my other interests? Then again, why should these interests relate to my job? Life is not only about your career. On the other hand, there are enough examples of people doing what they love, who turned their passion into a career. So, why can’t I?

What I learned is that your life mission is not a destination, it’s a process, a journey on which your goals and dreams might change along the way. One important advice at the Seminar was: Start by spending 10 percent of your time on things that interest you. Who knows what it may turn into. As Steve Jobs said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” |Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Address| Connecting the dots...

So that’s what I intend to do. I will use this blog to share things that I’m interested in, career related topics, what’s in the news and my journey. I also see this as a kind of experiment. If I start spending 10 percent of my time on the things that I like and love, what will happen? Will it become clear to me what my life mission is? Will it lead me to that dream job that I always wanted? I’m about to discover…

:) Helen

Song of the day: I was here – Beyonce