Thank you Vancouver Mom for including me in this year’s list of Top 30 Vancouver Mom Bloggers. Cheers to all the fabulous women who write, create, care, empower, eat(!) and share it with the world through blogging and social media. Read more about the Top 30 here.
Happy National Love Your Pet Day!
Meet Aapik, my adorable mixed-breed dog (a cute mutt!) Here’s a photo of her when she was less than a year old and hiding under the couch.
Aapik is a rescue that is originally from Nunavut (#madeinCanada). How we came to adopt her is interesting. A friend was doing some summer geological work in Nunavut at the time and found her homeless and next to a dead animal carcass. Our friend asked around and no one seemed to claim her so the dog lover in her decided to bring her back to Vancouver to be adopted.
We took her in and the rest is history! She’s been a lovable addition to our family and we
I once did a DNA test to find out what breed she is and it said that she is part
Even though she is 8 years old, she still gets mistaken to be a puppy. In the summer when I go for walks with her along the seawall, people smile when they see her, wave at her, and have asked to take pictures with her.
If you’re looking for a dog to add to your home, there’s always lots of dogs waiting to be adopted. Check out your local SPCA or rescue society to help a dog in need.
Hope you are having a great day with your lovable pet!
I recently purchased the newly released Sony a7iii as a long overdue upgrade to my Sony a6000. My a6000 setup had included a Zeiss 24mm f1.8 E-mount APSC lens. This lens is particularly useful when I need to photograph food that I hold in the air myself. Naturally, I would need an equivalent lens for my a7iii.
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Rokinon versus Zeiss
At the time when I was looking to make a lens purchase, there were two 35mm f1.4 lens choices to satisfy my needs. There was the Sony/Zeiss Distagon 35mm f1.4 (model SEL35F14Z) which retails for $1500 on Amazon.com or $2100 on Amazon.ca. There was also the budget alternative: the Rokinon 35mm f1.4 (model IO3514-E) which retails for $700 on Amazon.com or $940 on Amazon.ca
Based on reviews comparing Rokinon versus Zeiss 35mm f1.4, Rokinon received favourable responses. Furthermore, the Rokinon was priced favourably at less than half the price of the Zeiss. I managed to score an extra $100 off for the Rokinon when there was a sale; it was $800 at the time of purchase. I ordered the lens directly from Amazon.ca. The lens was shipped from Kentucky and took 4 days to arrive.
Here’s a look at a brief unboxing video of the Rokinon 35mm f1.4 which included a lens hood, lens caps, lens pouch, instruction manual and warranty.
On Weight, Lens Hood
Upon taking the lens out of its box, I immediately noticed its hefty weight. This is a good sign that the lens is made with a significant amount of glass and metal. You can’t always equate weight to build quality, but I definitely felt that it was well made.
During my initial handling of the lens, I was unable to fully lock the hood on to the lens. I went back to it at a later time and discovered that I had to twist the hood with much greater force before it finally clicked in. Nothing is wrong with it; it was just something new that I had to get used to.
One of the major selling points of mirrorless systems was the size and weight savings compared to traditional DSLRs. I have benefited greatly from this in the past couple years of owning the a6000. However, with a full frame body and f1.4 lens, the size and weight advantage quickly reduced. The Sony a6000 with Zeiss 24mm f1.8 weighs in at just over 600g. My new setup, the Sony a7iii with Rokinon 35mm f1.4, weighs more than double at 1344g.
So far, I’m happy with the purchase. The pictures taken with my new setup are certainly more tack sharp than my previous setup. While I am very happy with my new Rokinon lens, it is not perfect. The nitpicky part of me noticed that the shape formed by the 9 aperture blades is far from regular, and this problem is less apparent at f8. This is certainly no deal breaker for me as I will generally not use this lens with aperture setting below f5.6.
In general, I am satisfied with Rokinon 35mm f1.4 based on photo quality and pricing. I would recommend the purchase to others as a cheaper alternative to the Zeiss. Check it out on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.
Hey everyone, today’s topic in my “Blogger Life” series is about copyright infringement on Instagram. I just want to share with you what happened when I found my content being reproduced without my permission on Instagram.
It started when I published my original video from a my visit to Dazzling Cafe on my own Instagram account.
Love the tableside service at the new Dazzling Cafe in Richmond where the staff divide up these mouthwatering honey toast boxes for you! Here are the Mont Blanc and Hazlenut Chocolate honey toasts ? The free original honey toast with two entree (pasta or rice casserole) promotion ends Sunday. This place is pretty busy so call ahead for a reservation or be prepared to wait. | Dessert adventures with @risubaby @moostu ? #NotSponsoredJustLove . #video #vancouver #videos #foodvideo #videogram #vancouverisawesome #strawberry #richmond #desserts #igvideo #friday #friday #weekend #fridayvibes #explorebc #canada #weekendfun #fridayfunday #montblanc #march #springbreak #blogger #blog #yvr
Within a few hours, another Instagram account reposted the video and tagged me in it. I sent that account a direct message on Instagram and politely asked them to remove the video. Since I did not get a response and I saw that the account made new postings, I posted a more aggressive comment on their post of my video to ask them to remove it and mentioning that I would report them to Instagram. I waited for them respond but they didn’t. I then decided to report a copyright infringement claim to Instagram. This all happened within 24 hours of me posting my video.
While other Instagram accounts have reposted by images without my permission, I do let them slide because those accounts tend to have a small following. I don’t find them particularly impactful so to speak. However, in this particular case, the account that reposted by video did so within the first 24 hours that my video my published. In that sense, they were stealing my views. Further to that, that account had a significant following (whether real or unreal) of over 900k followers. Needless to say, my video on their account was racking up more views than on my own.
The Reporting Process
The process of reporting copyright infringement on Instagram was really simple and didn’t take too long. They do suggest that you first try to resolve the issue on your own with the person who posted your content. If there is no resolution, you can submit an online form which is what I did. They ask for your personal details (name, address), the place where you found your content violated, and the place where the original work is found. If you’re reporting a post on Instagram, be sure to use a web browser to find the exact URL of the post.
After submitting the form, I received an e-mail confirmation. Within a day, Instagram sent me a standard e-mail saying that they had taken down my post on the other person’s account. The issue was resolved.
The intention of my post is just to share with you what you can do when you see others reposting your original content without your consent. I am very impressed with how Instagram handled the matter in such a timely manner. I would encourage others to go through the process if they encounter a similar situation.
For more information on Instagram’s copyright policies, visit here.
This past week, I started my Blogger Life series to share some of the issues I encounter as a blogger. Today, I want to talk about an invitation I received this week to attend a media tasting at the controversial Mott 32 in Vancouver.
At a high level, the negativity surrounding Mott 32 is not because of its cuisine or service but rather because that it is physically located within the Trump building in Vancouver. Many media outlets had published journalistic pieces regarding Mott 32 and even those had many hater comments. The general theme, not surprising, from haters is that they swear off anything that has to do with the Trump brand.
This wasn’t the first time that a media event was held at Mott 32. The Vancouver Courier published an article entitled, “Trump Vancouver: Where even food is political.” In the article, it was described how Mijune Pak of Follow Me Foodie had received “a lot of hate” from being at the media event. The issue of dining at Mott 32 is certainly political rather than culinary.
I asked the PR firm for more information so that I could share it with my readers. My question was simply how is the Mott 32 related to the Trump brand? The firm replied:
Mott 32 Vancouver is a franchise from Maximal Concepts, a revered restaurateur brand based in Hong Kong. Mott 32 Vancouver is Maximal Concepts first North American location. TA Global franchises the Vancouver location from the Maximal Concepts team and operates in the Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver.
So, no – Trump doesn’t seem to be dictating how things run in the kitchen or what the menu is like. In essence, they are guilty by association for being located in the Trump building.
In the end, I respectfully declined the invitation to attend a media tasting at Mott 32. But it was tempting – their menu is Chinese fine dining which is something I don’t experience regularly. The biggest factor in my opinion was that I simply didn’t want my personal brand to be associated with something that negative. I mean, I understand journalists who had to cover Mott 32 because it’s their job. But for me as a blogger, it just isn’t worth it in my opinion.
I just wanted to take the opportunity today to share about an experience gone wrong with a PR firm. Part of the reason I am writing is because it’s therapeutic and the other is because I wanted to let other bloggers/influencers know how PR firms can be inconsiderate. I don’t want to hide the names of the parties involved because I’m in the business of writing honest restaurant reviews anyhow. And with those reviews, none of the restaurant names are masked so why not stop now?
KFC Cooking School
It all started when Edelman, one the world’s largest PR firms, initiated contact with me and let me know that KFC was having a one-day only cooking school for the public. As a KFC fan, I was excited to hear about this. And while you wouldn’t get to learn the Colonel’s top secret, you would learn the entire process to cook KFC chicken.
I was happy to share about the event with my followers and did not solicit the firm for any compensation. The firm let me know that they couldn’t sign me PERIOD (whether media or not) so I paid for the admission on my own. The cost was just $5 and proceeds would go to Add Hope, KFC’s global corporate social responsibility initiative. The event took place at a KFC in Abbotsford which is 74 km from my home. It would take almost an hour one way to get there.
I was excited to participate in the KFC Cooking School, cover the event and share great content with my followers on my own time and money. Unfortunately, after the event occurred, my whole impression of the event turned sour because I found out that some influencers had been paid to be there and even had their transportation covered. This is further evidenced by the use of hashtag #AD in tweets from the event to denote paid promotional content. I felt cheated and disappointed in how I was being treated. I mean, if you as a PR firm can pay influencers to attend an event, don’t reach out to others and get “free labour” out of them. That’s just sleazy.
The issue is *NOT* why didn’t I get paid? I resent that they reached out to me personally, inadvertently got me to sign up at my own cost (time and money), and then have me find out that they paid other influencers who happened to be at the same session. Adding salt to the injury was the fact that the event was far away taking almost two hours round-trip. I had even arranged for childcare so that both my husband and I could attend.
To be fair, Edelman didn’t actually ask me to go to the event but only reached out to me and maybe hoped that I would share about it or even attend it. However, the act of reaching out to me personally is in a way letting me know that they consider me as an influencer. I think the more appropriate thing would be to have paid media to have their own separate session rather than being in the same public session as others.
That’s a No-No
I’ve been blogging actively for over two years now and have worked with many PR firms with both unsponsored and sponsored content. To my knowledge, I haven’t been to an event with both paid and unpaid influencers. It’s pretty much a no-no in my books. It makes the unpaid influencers feel lesser than especially when paid influencers tell others about it.
This is the first time where I feel like I need to disclosure not being sponsored. When there are others being paid for promote something, I want to remain true and let others know that in fact I wasn’t compensated for it. Moving forward, I will be using the #NotSponsored hashtag in my posts.
— Foodgressing | Areta (@foodgressing) March 13, 2017
To clarify, this post is not about KFC. I have issued an email to the Edelman associate who contacted me initially regarding this situation and sent her the link to this very post. If any PR consultants see this post, I hope that they NOT take the same approach as Edelman did. And if any bloggers stumble on this post, just know that these sorts of things happen. I have a memory card full of content that I don’t have passion to publish anymore. And while I had some freshly fried, crispy, golden KFC chicken, I was left with only a bad taste in my mouth.
Update March 14, 2017 2 PM PST
After sending Edelman an email regarding my concerns, they responded to me quickly. They apologized for the mix-up explaining that last minute cancellations allowed them to be able to add paid influencers. And since I had signed up on my own, I was not considered. As a courtesy gesture, they refunded me and my husband’s admission fees. The firm also noted that they have taken my feedback seriously to ensure a similar situation will not occur again. Do I believe their overall explanation? To be honest, only kind-of.
Now at the same time, some information had come to me after publishing this post regarding how much these paid influencers were paid and let me just say that it was a considerable amount. It was just demoralizing to hear and a refund of $10 just pales in comparison to the amount that the paid influencers received.
Edelman offered to meet with me or speak over the phone to talk about it and get to know me better. While a perhaps more diplomatic stance would be for me to accept their invitation and be open to working with them again, I just felt like I had spent already too much “unpaid” time in dealing with this. I respectfully declined and have asked that they keep me off their mailing list.