Ads that “know” you – Scary or The Way It Is?

Now that Thanksgiving is past us, and Black Friday only resulted in light trampling and not full out stampede, I’m trolling for Cyber Monday. Mostly I’m finding that shopping no longer brings the excitement that it used to, which is ironic because I’m finally at a point where I have disposable income to spend! While burning some time with my mom – and burning off some of the splurge garlic fries and beer from Gordon Biersch – we hit up Macy’s shoe department. With my waning interest in being a mall rat, shoe shopping is the one activity for which I find the time and energy. I need to know the shoe, experience the heel height and see how it affects my gait, it’s a tactile thing. After finding some gorgeous Michael Kors suede booties, I was disappointed to find there were none in my size. Once I made it home, I jumped online only to find the great 50 percent off deal in the store did not transfer to online shopping. Grrr…

I also jumped on DSW and Nordstrom’s trying without luck to find a replacement. My sartorial twin, also known as my sister, weighed in but my heart was still stuck on those Michael Kors booties and the 50% off. I chalked it up to the game, and went about online surfing my usual pop culture sites. But something was different…the shoes  were following me! Nearly every Google ad that appeared on the top, bottom and sides of these various sites were promoting the very shoes I’d just looked at online from Macy’s, Nordstrom and DSW. Not only the very selections I’d browsed but the “similar options” shoes as well. While I keep up with online advertising technology as a complementary topic to public relations, I’d never truly seen it in action in my own life. It was kind of freaky, and I’m not the only one that feels that way. Google is like an omnipotent “god” on the Internet, and the fact that to Google something is now tantamount to online searching, it’s not hard to see how the massive amount of information the company gathers means big money to its advertising departments – a full 97% of its revenue comes from ads in 2009. Think about it like this: in the first six months of this year, Google generated more advertising revenue than all of U.S. print publications combined, a princely sum of $10.9 billion US dollars.

If this concerns you, and you want to eliminate your web browser, which if you use Chrome like I do you may as well say Google, from tracking your site visits and turning them into advertising dollars, a quick search (I mean Google-ing) gives you these resources for putting the kibosh on turning your interest into cold, hard cash:

Google Chrome Goes After Marketers With New ‘Do Not Track’ Feature – Mashable

For IE browser users, here is some info via Business Insider

Twitter also apparently tracks you, check that out too.  Oh and Facebook does it as well.

Happy surfing, and I leave you with the ultimate stalker song.



The Stretch Goals

My mom always joked with me as a kid that I was born late. While it is true that more often than not, I’m running behind, I am also a master procrastinator. It’s under control, as it has to be in order for me to make a living doing anything useful in life. Joy of joys, I’ve just entered final paper season of school, also known as the point at which I start to question my life decisions. So my challenge this week is to write on here at least four times, get a decent draft of my computer mediated communications class paper down that doesn’t give me heartburn and stop being a seasonally affected bum and work out. Let’s go!

Letter to a Younger Me

Usually I stay away from the standard blogger posts like lists – top 5 ways to improve your love life/lose weight/get inspired. Included in that list is the “letter to my younger self” post. Part of me thinks it’s a bit of a cop-out; of course you have a dozen things you would tell the you of yesteryear. How to not allow your pride to be your downfall, the importance of humility and hard work.

As I get closer to 3o…ugh…I see more reasons to get my thoughts like this down. Five years out of school, my point of view about work, love and life goals has changed pretty dramatically. So without further pomp and circumstance, these are my thoughts to a younger Leisa. I won’t pinpoint the age of the younger Leisa, I can’t think of any number more than another, as I learn more about myself every day.

Continue reading “Letter to a Younger Me”

From the Inside Out – The Rewards of My Diet

In my second week of attempted veganism (key concept – attempting), I’m realizing how much my diet, and therefore my well-being, has changed in the last year. My diet shift started much like my natural hair journey – a type of curiosity to test the limits of my existing beliefs. In the case of how I ate, I was also moved along by my relationship with my current beau, who is a lifelong vegetarian. That was over a year ago, and even to this day if I had to pick a death row last meal, I’d pick steak with blue cheese and butter, mashed potatoes and something with bacon. I can keep it real, I remember well how delicious meat can be.

Part of my enjoyment with being a vegetarian who is transitioning to veganism is that I am very much the last person you’d expect to adopt this lifestyle, based on the way I was raised and how I ate up until I graduated from college. Growing up, we all ate meat. We even dabbled in chitlins once, never to return again thankfully. I had no idea about the size and scope of the meat industry or how my meat got to the store and eventually to me. I just knew it was on my plate, and I was eating it. The first time I questioned the system was in college, while grocery shopping at Wal-Mart (I’ve since stopped shopping at Wally World too). I was in the peanut butter aisle and right between the chunky and smooth version of what I wanted was a pack of pork chops. Room temperature, so clearly it had been a while. Gagging slightly, I started to wonder about the food I was putting in my body. By the time I started dating my beau, I’d whittled my meat consumption down to chicken and fish, with an occasional burger on a night out. I am sure I gave him the RCA dog head tilt when he told me he’d never had meat, not once, in his life. This was a man who is six feet tall and at that point about 220 pounds. Clearly though he was finding what he needed. So I said “Well if I go vegetarian, I can at least stop making additional food for myself.”

Since then, I’ve educated myself on the lifestyle. I count Food, Inc. and Forks Over Knives as two transformational documentaries, recommended watching for everyone I talk to about diet. What I’ve found most rewarding is how much more I’m getting out of my body because of what I’m putting in it. Exercising is a priority for me and between diet and working out, I’ve found annual allergies and sickness is nearly nonexistent. My skin is clear and my hair and nails are growing faster than they have before. The science consistently supports that a vegetarian diet is beneficial to one’s health, and to the wallet and in relationships apparently.

Just recently, a friend from college shared a documentary straight from the 1980s, complete with face-width glasses and an old school Power Point. Lack of presentations skills aside, the doctor in the video laid out a comprehensive case for a dairy-free diet, including why humans don’t need milk from mammals past infancy. I shared it with the beau and my mom, who is a pescetarian, and we were all sold on veganism.

I’m still working through my food choices, dairy is in so much of our food that you have to be very discerning . Plus I have to make sure I’m keeping my iron, protein and other needs where they should be. Mostly I’m just excited to take the next step and continue to challenge myself.

If you’re considering a diet change, here are some of the resources that helped me:

Food, Inc.

Forks Over Knives

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Food That Kills – Documentary