On June Laurent Voulzy and Jane Birkin take to the stage of the Salle Garnier opera house!

On June Laurent Voulzy and Jane Birkin take to the stage of the Salle Garnier opera house!

The Monaco F1 Grand Prix has started this morning with the practice session!

 The Monaco F1 Grand Prix has started this morning with the practice session!

Experience all the thrills and excitement of Formula 1 with Monte-Carlo SBM.
 We welcome you to an outstanding setting, at the very heart of the F1 Grand Prix race-track!

70 years of the Monaco Grand Prix – 24 to 27 May
 -> THE Formula 1 event of the year!

Gorgeous Lana del Rey yesterday on the Place du Casino

Monaco Grand Prix 26-29 May 2012

 Prince Albert of Monaco - Charlene Wittstock
Welcome to the Monaco - Grand Prix 2012

Head to Monte Carlo for the unforgettable Monaco Grand Prix this year! Monte Carlo a french speaking destination famous for glamour and has a great choice of hotels, casinos, celebrity sightings but is home to the best event the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, how can you resist. Get ready for the race, Thursday 26th May to Sunday 29th May 2012 it all begins.

The most famous event is soon approaching and May 2012 sees the F1 Grand Prix motors start. It is the slowest and the hardest circuits in the world Formula 1 Championship so get ready for a battle to the finish.  If you are planning to attend you will want to stay in either Monaco, Nice, Cannes or the French Riviera, transport can be crazy in Monaco and the surrounding areas so make sure you plan your visit well beforehand.
  There are many packages you can choose from to make this the most memorable of events you attend this year, so look for package tours which offer value for money. There are main packages you can choose from, the Terrace Package that offers a trackside race viewing from a private marquee on the garden terrace of the Hotel de Paris which is in the heart of Monaco. 
You will be within meters of the cars and have a great view of the high speed adventure.  The Ultimate Monaco Packages are the best of all, you get an exclusive pit lane tour for two people, track side Yacht hospitality or try the F1 Paddock club package where everything is catered around you with prime location for watching the race, endless service of the finest cuisine at your request and opportunities to meet and greet the racing drivers, the options are endless as our the views in Monaco.
 German Sebastian Vettel

Grand Prix tickets & Hotels online soon - Keep tuned

Samsonite Firelite ... new travel obsession

Samsonite have sent me over a new piece from their Firelite collection.  It is quite possibly one of the coolest suitcases I have ever owned.  I used it last week in my travels and I just wanted to drop a few bullet points as to why I love it and will be using it on every trip from here until the end of time(or the invention of a suitcase that actually manages to subtract weight from your packing job):

    The first and most massive reason to love this case has everything to do with the weight. . It truly is that light. When empty this suitcase weighs less than a large bottle of water (or 1.9kg). In a world where excess baggage fees are killing us all, Samsonite have definitely come up with a master solution to suitcase weight!

    The suitcase features 4 silent lightweight wheels for a ride that is second only to that of a Maybach! They are also the wheels that move 360 degrees as opposed to those pesky wheels that only go backwards and forwards. Two wheels are so 2012.... come into the new decade with a four wheeler baby!!

    The Curv technology means that airport security can throw this bag around as much as they want, bash it as much as they possible can and it will still regain it's shape and be basically as good as knew. THAT makes me feel not only confident that my luggage will reach its destination in one piece but also quite smug knowing security can try as they may but they won't make a dent in my precious cargo!

For those who would like to see the Firelite in action, here is a videos of the actual suitcase and the technology in action...

Thank you Samsonite

Wiesmann MF5 Black Bat

What does this beast look like to you? Obviously, a Batmobile. Aptly named the Wiesmann MF5 Black Bat, the car was customized by Schwaben Folia and Dhaler. The partnership resulted in a dangerously good looking ride, powered by a threatening upgraded V-10.

Much fierce than the base car, the Black Bat boasts a 600-hp output, a new exhaust, and six-piston Brembo calipers, among other modifications. The exterior owes its appeal to the matte black coating, the black BBS 20-inch alloys with polished rims, and the blacked out chrome touches. We love everything about it, inside and outside. The only thing we’re not exactly sure about is the red Batman logo on the back.


Porsche which once belonged to Bill Gates to be Auctioned

Bill Gates is in the news again and this time it has nothing to do with the launch of a new software or the millions that get deposited in his bank account every month. Not long ago, when Bill Gates had just founded Microsoft with Paul Gates, he had purchased a Porsche, a brand of car that he has been associated with for a long time now. 

It was in 1979 that he purchased the Porsche 911 Turbo that is now up for auction in Austria. We still don’t know as to how the car ended up in Austria after Bill Gates gave up its ownership in the 1990s. The car is estimated to fetch a pre- auction price of around € 39,000-€50,000 which will make it $55,500-$71,000 in the Dollar range. The car will come under the hammer on 6th June.

It’s not been long since a Bill Gates estate was in news. It was in winter that he flew with his family to Florida and paid a whopping $600,000 to rent a home in Wellington, Florida. It was a house of a millionaire. Located at the plush Fairlane Court the house exudes luxury and was elaborately furnished for the family of the world’s richest man. For long everyone went gaga over the property which was 7,352 square feet. A massive amount of space we say for a family comprising of three children and a millionaire husband and wife. It was his daughter, Jennifer’s interest in jumping horses that Bill Gates is said to have rented this property. The Wellington Home was also listed for sale at a staggering $12.999 million.

Anyway, let’s turn our attention back to Mr. Gates car which is up for auctions at the Dorotheum. It is said that when he owned this car he indulged in a number of shenanigans and often got into trouble. Let’s have a look at the Porsche Turbo 911 and its long association with Bill Gates.

Bill Gates and his Porsche Tales

Bill Gates has quite a collection of Porsche cars. But it’s with the Porsche Turbo 911 that many tales are connected. It is said that it  was the same Porsche that got him into a ot of trouble. Bill Gates was known for his infamous driving habits even before he purchased this car.

With the Porsche Turbo 911 speed limits never mattered to him as he almost flew the Porsche Turbo 911 on the desert area around Albuquerque, New Mexico. This was just before Paul Allen and Gates shifted Microsoft to Seattle. Gates was arrested for one of his midnight speeding adventures and Paul had to bail him out after he had to spend a night in jail. He also got three speeding tickets and one two from the same cop who had his eyes on the speeding thrills of the world’s richest man.

It was in the 1990s that Bill Gates and his Porsche Turbo 911 parted ways and the car ended up in Austria, as we have already mentioned. The current owner of the car made a few changes by overhauling its 300 hp 3.3 ltr engine. He also repainted the car and retained its original turquoise metallic color.

How to Run Successful Online Promotions

Live and learn.
That’s the nature of life, and that’s the nature of business.
And it seems that as I navigate my way further into the trenches of running an online business,
I learn a little bit more every day from each obstacle that I stumble through.
It’s hard. It’s exciting. It’s exhausting. It’s rewarding. It’s yours.

A wise friend from my past used to say, nothing easy is worth having.
And while I don’t know how true that statement is for every situation life hands us,
it certainly rings true when it comes to starting and growing an online business.
But with a little {okay, a lot} of hard work, and even more kindness–you will find success.
Just remember, success is not always defined as a dollar amount.

How to Run a Successful Promotion:
There are literally dozens and dozens of ways that you can run a promotion for your online business.  However, there is only so much time and money you have to devote to marketing, so you want to make sure that the route you choose is beneficial.  Also, keep in mind that not every promotion is designed to result in an immediate return on your investment–there are “branding” promotions, and there are promotions designed to sell product–and then there are the glorious promotions that achieve both.

Before you get started paying for promotions, be sure to set a marketing budget. How much are you willing to allot towards achieving your marketing goals.  If you are having trouble determining a number, and you don’t want to come out of pocket for this expense, then I would suggest setting aside a portion of your sales to put towards marketing.  For example, you can say that 10% of all revenue generated will go into your marketing budget.

 I am going to focus on 5 different types of promotions: banner advertising, giveaways, reviews, discounts, and daily deals.

    Banner Advertising: Often times, bloggers or website owners will allow businesses to place banner advertising on their site for a flat rate, or a pay-per-click.  This may be in the form of a sidebar ad, a leader-board ad {at the top of the site}, or at the end of every post.  I have a few specific tips when it comes to selecting which blogs to advertise on:

Choose Wisely.  You can’t advertise on every site out there.  And not every site out there is going to generate the response you are looking for. So ask yourself these questions before you make a decision: Are this sites readers a good fit with my product?  Am I getting my products in front of new eyes?  Does the content of this site match the philosophy of my business?

You usually get what you pay for.  All bloggers will have different advertising rates.  Generally, the more popular blogs will charge more–and by popular, I mean the blogs that get the most hits/viewers.  If you get a proposal back from a blogger and are blown away by the prices, feel free to ask them what kind of traffic they get, or what kind of results they have delivered for past sponsors.  You are completely entitled to know how your marketing dollars are being put to use.

Loyalty. Consider the readers of the site you are advertising on.  How much do they trust the blog author, value their opinion?  I can tell you from personal experience, that I have had greater results on a blog that receives less traffic but has a VERY loyal readership, than I have on some of the biggest blogs out there.  When it comes to advertising, you are generally paying to get your product in front of the most people possible–but sometimes, just sometimes, its not about the numbers.

Move Outside Your Comfort Zone. It’s easy to want to spend your advertising dollars on all the sites within your little circle of bloggy friends.  And there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, its great to support the blogs you know and love.  But I would also encourage you to select at least one blog outside of your usual comfort zone–one blog that has a different circle of friends from yours.  Branching out equals growth.  New circles of friends equal new opportunities to grow your business.

Keep Track. Download some form of a stat counter so you can track how much traffic is being driven to your site from the websites you advertise on.  I have used google analytics and stat counter.  Etsy also has a built in stats tab that can be found in the left hand column under “my account”.

Giveaways: Sponsoring a giveaway on other blogs is a wonderful way to immediately increase traffic and readership to your shop and/or blog.  Here are some quick tips to running a successful giveaway:

Be clear on the terms of your giveaway. When you hire a blog to host a giveaway for you, be sure that you are clear on the terms of the giveaway up front (i.e. entry options, deadline, winner selection, how the giveaway will be promoted, how many pictures of your product will be included in the post, etc).  When I sponsor a giveaway on another site, I like to make sure their readers visit my shop and my blog as entries.  Bonus entries could include things like: follow on facebook or twitter.

Do your research. Be sure to read past giveaway posts by the blogger–this will tell you if you like the way they run their giveaways.  I have also noticed I LOVE sponsoring giveaways on Tatertots & Jello because she puts so much time into really making her giveaways personal, and she goes the extra mile in promoting your brand.

Be generous. Without fail, the bigger the giveaway, the greater the results. More people will enter, more people will spread the world, and more people will learn about your business.  I also like to offer readers a discount code with all giveaways I sponsor. I make the discount code specific to the promotion so that I can gauge how many sales were generated from that particular promotion.

Reviews: Sometimes a simple product review or product placement is the most effective (and the least “in your face”) way to market your brand.  This promotion involves sending a product to a blogger and then they write about it on their site.  I REALLY suggest letting the blogger pick out the item from your shop–you want to be sure they really like it.  Because the more they like the product, the better the review AND the more likely they will be to wear/use your product in an additional future post.  

For example, I reviewed a Lisa Leonard necklace a while back (read the review here), BUT because I liked it soooo much, you continue to see me feature her products in my more recent posts. If you have a fashion business, then select a blogger that is respected for their fashion sense. If you have a home decor company, select a blogger that decorates to your liking.  If you have a crafting company, pick a blogger who crafts to review your product. You catch my drift. 
NOTE: If the blogger allows it, I always suggest providing a “limited time” discount code with the product review–this further encourages the looky loos to place their order before the discount code becomes invalid.

Discounts: Offering discounts can be tricky.  It is important to calculate your discounts before you offer them.  What I mean is, are you discounting your product so much that you are no longer being profitable–because that would not be good.  Sometimes, if you buy your supplies at a quantity discount, you can have more wiggle room to offer a bigger discount.  Consider cost of material, cost of packaging, and time spent to make the product when you are determing your total cost to make a product.  Discounts can come in the form of a percentage off, free shipping, buy one get one, etc.  Discounts can be the best way to kick off a new season, celebrate a holiday, or close out a specific product.  When I offer a discount, I usually promote it via facebook and twitter, and sometimes I even blog the discount code.  If you have a newsletter, you can include exclusive discount codes in there as well.  I know some businesses who include a coupon in the orders they ship out for a percentage discount off the customers next order–this is a great way to encourage re-orders.  If you use etsy, they offer a way for you to create coupon codes for your readers that can be inputted at checkout.

Daily Deals: Participating in a daily deal can be a great way to get a rather large quantity of your product to a lot of people FAST. I have participated in a few Groop Dealz that have all proven rather successful.  There are also other daily deal sites out there like Very Jane, and Pick Your Plum.  These daily deal sites will generally require that you sell your product at a 30-50% discount, and then they will take a percentage of your sales. 

YOU STILL PROFIT before you decide to run a deal.  Research the bulk discount that you can get your supplies at and estimate how much time it would take you to manufacture the product in bulk.  Will it be worth your time? For some products in your shop this will make sense, but not so much for others.  

There are some specific benefits to running a daily deal:
1) information about your product will be emailed to literally thousands of potential customers 
2) Your sales will be MUCH larger than if you tried to run the deal yourself.   I have recently started running a daily deal on my site once a month.  What this means is that I pick a product in my shop and sell it at a BIG discount.  Because my site generates enough traffic, I still get decent sales for my daily deal, but a fraction compared to what I would get running one with a Daily Deal site.  However, the perk is that I don’t have to stress out to make a massive quantity, and I am not sharing the profits.

So that’s all for now.  I have a few other “business tips” ideas up my sleeve that I hope to share with you soon. Please leave any other questions you want to see answered in a future post in the comments section.

2011 Frankfurt Auto Show: Maserati Joins Hands With Fendi For The 2011 Maserati GranCabrio Fendi Edition

 One of the most renowned Italian luxury car manufacturer, Maserati, has now collaborated with the globally cherished Italian fashion house, Fendi, to bring the jaw dropping 2011 Maserati GranCabrio Fendi to the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show (IAA 2011)

This splendid vehicle is befitting testament to the creative genius of Silvia Venturini Fendi, who has designed this vehicle and given the eye popping looks that have mesmerized attendees at the event. The Maserati GranCabrio Fendi represents the perfect combination of two of the masters of their fields and the vehicle provides an aura of symmetrical ballet between technology and craftsmanship. 

This magnificent vehicles has been designed and developed at Maserati headquarters in Modena and the car itself has been given a stunning cover that carries a ton-sur-ton double F logo.

 One of the most striking elements of the 2011 Maserati GranCabrio Fendi is the vehicle’s gorgeous paint job, which is known as Grigio Fiamma Fendi and is a three layered special dark grey color that carries a lustrous golden finish. On the inside, this fabulous car has been given Pergamena Fendi wooden trims that have been abundantly used across the width of the dashboard as well as on the door and on the face of the gear lever. 

Furthermore, the many parts of the sensational GranCabrio Fendi including the brake calipers have been given a striking Fendi yellow finish, while the headrests feature Maserati’s trident insignia in dashing yellow color. To make the 2011 Maserati GranCabrio Fendi as bespoke as possible, it has been given a royal treatment of the highly precious Fendi leather, Selleria that is adorning the car’s instrument cluster cover, gear lever as well as the floor mats.

The splendidly luxurious 2011 Maserati GranCabrio Fendi is powered by a 4.7-liter V8 engine delivering 433 horsepower and comes with an automatic transmission, while providing the vehicle with a top speed of 180 mph.

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