Thursday, September 30, 2010

Living for the (FREE) Weekend in metro Detroit - October 1st - 3rd

Here is a highlight of the FREE activities you can do this weekend in the metro Detroit area and beyond:

Lots of movies are opening on Friday including Social Media, which tells the true story of the making of Facebook and the vampire horror flick Let Me In.  Read our movies reviews by guest blogger Liz Parker. If you are going to the movies at an Emagine Theater this weekend, use this coupon to get a free popcorn.

On Saturday, there will be lots of employment opportunities for models in the Detroit area.  Two upcoming fashion shows have open casting for runway models.  Fashion in Detroit will be at the Motor City Casino on Saturday from 11am to 7pm.   And Design.Define.Detroit will be casting for models from Noon to 7pm at 5eGallery in Corktown.  Make sure you read all the requirements for the job.

The whole family is invited to the Palace of Auburn Hills for the FREE Detroit Pistons Fanfest on Saturday.  There will be free parking, free food, free locker room tours and more!  How can you say no to all the FREE!  Doors open at 10:30am.

Also on Saturday is the FREE Henry Ford Health System Healthy Intuitions Expo in West Bloomfield. Henry Ford Health System invites the community to a day devoted to women’s health with educational seminars, health screenings, a farmers’ market, vendors, and more. RSVP required.

Saturday morning from 10am-Noon, come to the FREE Taste of Eastern Market Featured chefs and nutrition experts instruct and perform demonstrations on the preparation, storage, preservation, and health benefits of food products found at the Market. This Saturday, Chef Shawn Simpson will make a Bourbon Steak.

And something else for the kids on Saturday is the FREE Home Depot Kids Workshop from 9am- Noon. This time the kids will be making a fireboat.

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend,

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I will do a GIVEAWAY when I reach 100 followers !!!

I am the CEO of ME! - How to Job Search using Social Media - a recap of Chris Brogan's Webinar

Social Media and the Job Search

Chris Brogan just wrapped up his FREE webinar on how to use social media in searching for a job.  It was one hour packed with information that is useful whether you are looking for employment or not.  The overall take away from the webinar is "YOU are the CEO of YOU".

According to Chris, there are 5 main parts to being "The CEO of YOU":

1) Platform Building

- You are the platform and you should be using
   tools to help broadcast your message

- Your main tools in building your platform should be
   a website and a social presence on sites like
   Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

- Have a blog so people can get to know you by reading
  what is on your mind.  Chris blogs everyday because the
  more he blogs, the more opportunities he has for making money

- Use your website to show your great ideas and positivity

- Use your website to invite people to come and work with you

- Chris Brogan has a page on his website on how to engage him
   as a speaker and videos of his speeches

- On LinkedIn, use a real honest photo of yourself

- Give and Get recommendations on LinkedIn

- List your non-work work on LinkedIn

- You can add applications on LinkedIn to add RSS feeds
   and SlideShare presentations

- Chris Brogan uses the "Summary Section" on LinkedIn
  because he is part of many projects and companies

- The 5 key take aways about your platform are:
     1. Use human language
     2. Have a simple message
     3. Have a "Give" mindset
     4. Present yourself positively 
     5. Don't act desperate 

2) Work Has Changed

- A Job is a unit of measurement

- Work can exist outside of  a job

- We are now usually working at a distance from the core business

- 5 Truths about Work
      1. There is no going back.  Job Security no longer exists
      2. Be the CEO of YOU and stop just looking for a job
      3. You now manage a portfolio of opportunities.
          Jobs only last on average 3 years
      4. Staying PAID is the main thing
      5. You are valuable whether employed or not

- Use and put in phrases like 'Job Listing" or "hiring"

- You can use

- You can also use Google and search on job title and zipcode

3) Networking

- You can use LinkedIn option"Who Viewed My Profile"
   to see who is looking at you for possible work

- Use the "Network Activity" part of LinkedIn

- Don't do homemade business cards

- If you have business cards made, make your FIRST NAME
  the biggest field on the card and leave the back blank for
  people to write notes about you

- Research folks before you go to networking events using
  social media tools (Twitter, LinkedIn)

- Do a quick follow-up after the networking meeting and follow them on Twitter

4) Understand Money

- Know how much money you need every month. Most people don't know

- You need to figure out how much to charge per sale and
   how much to charge per hour

- There is a big difference between ($ vs Hours) and (Hours vs $).
  Pay others to do what can afford not to do.
  Chris hates laundry so he pays to get it done so he
  can spend those hours working more

- Chris recommended the book "The Millionaire Maker"
  by Loral Langemeier as the best book on understanding money

- There are other currencies besides money, like Lists, Connections, etc.

5) Inbound Marketing and YOU!

- Inbound Marketing consists of
        1. Videos - Show the natural you
        2. Blog Posts - Show your ideas
        3. Slideshows - Show your work
        4. Work Samples - Show your worth
        5. Engagement Suggestions
            - Show the kind of opportunities you are looking for

- Inbound Marketing is the SINGLE most IMPORTANT thing you can do


Enhance Your Job Search with Social Media
View more presentations from Chris Brogan.


Jackie Harper is the creator of
Connect with Jackie

EMPLOYMENT: Design.Define.Detroit. Runway Model Casting Call 10/2 at 5eGallery in Corktown


Saturday, October 2, 2010
12 noon – 7pm
@ 5e Gallery

Strut your stuff at this fall’s DESIGN.DEFINE.DETROIT. (DDD)! A show & soirée dedicated to sustaining Detroit’s fashion industry. Work with Detroit’s top fashion professionals during the year’s greatest networking event. Be seen by the Metro area’s industry virtuosos by being part of the DDD runway.

Female & male models wanted
Experience preferred but not necessary
- Headshot
- Comp card
- Portfolio
- Ladies bring your heels

More info:

@ 5e Gallery
2661 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI 48216


Guest blogger Liz Parker is back from an advance screening of the horror movie "Let Me In".  Is she now loving horror flicks or hiding under the covers in her bed? Let's read what Liz thinks...

I knew going in that "Let Me In" was probably not going to be my cup of tea - says that it's rated "R" for "Strong bloody horror violence." However, the film ended up surprising me, in that its actual content - when one looks further than the bloodshed - told an interesting story, and one that we all might be able to relate to, even as humans.

Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee, "Matching Jack") doesn't have a lot of friends and is being bullied by his fellow classmates, so when Abby (Chloe Moretz, "Kick-Ass") moves in across the hall from him, he is happy to be able to make a new friend. From the very start, however, something is off about her - she tells him that they can't be friends, and she doesn't wear shoes while walking in the snow, even though she says her feet aren't cold. She lives with a man Owen presumes is her father (Richard Jenkins, "Eat Pray Love"), and they pretty much keep to themselves. Soon, against Abby's initial decree, she and Owen become friends, and it is then that he learns the truth about her: she "needs blood to live," as she tells him, and although she's 12 years old, the same age as him, she's "been 12 for a while now."

There were definitely a few cringe-worthy scenes in this movie. Most of the scenes in which Abby turns vampire-esque (she is able to jump to/from trees with abandon, her eyes narrow, and she has blood all over her face) are quite grotesque, and there is a scene in a hospital in which a "new" vampire burns and turns to dust when the window shade is open. Ignoring these, however, I actually found the movie to be quite good, albeit slow in parts. It's based on a Swedish movie, too, called "Let the Right One In," which I haven't seen, but I had heard that this version (the Americanized one) has a lot more bloodshed in it.

Maybe see this movie. Like I mentioned, I don't usually like horror films but I did like this one, although it's probably not one I will rent when it comes out on DVD. However, I believe that both horror and non-horror fans can find some value in it. The themes in the movie are ones that we, as humans, can relate to - a boy is beat up daily by bullies and looks to make a new friend; a girl knows its wrong to steal (although she needs blood instead of food, in this case) but is so hungry that she cannot stop herself from doing so (indeed, a scene in which Abby sits on a play structure clutching her stomach portrays her more as a starving, undernourished child than a vampire that will stop at nothing for blood). The end of the movie, too, although quite gory at first, is kind of touching in a way, as Abby returns and helps Owen to fight his tormentors. I also really liked how the film "showed" more than "told" - the identity of the man Abby is living with, for example, can be figured out through a photograph lying on the table. "Let Me In" is definitely not for the faint of heart, but I found it to be an interesting twist on a subject that is becoming all too omnipresent in today's movies and TV shows, and it is a film I would recommend for those seeking "real" vampires that don't sparkle when they step outside into the sunlight.

"Let Me In" will be in theaters on Friday, October 1st.

Click here if video is not shown

Liz Parker is a 2009 graduate of the University of Michigan. She currently works as an Assistant Medical Editor for a pathology website. Visit her at her movie blog Yes/No Films

FREE Taste of Eastern Market 10/2 10/9 10/16 10/23 10/30 10am-Noon

FREE Eastern Market Cooking Demonstration Series
Saturdays in October
Shed 2
10 AM - Noon

Grab your fork because life is a feast at Eastern Market. From May to October our 26 week Taste of Eastern Market Series takes place every Saturday. This series guides spectators through the preparation of seasonal recipes and introduces shoppers to the rich bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables Michigan has to offer.

Featured chefs and nutrition experts instruct and perform demonstrations on the preparation, storage, preservation, and health benefits of food products found at the Market. Curious cooks watch chefs as they turn the Market's seasonal produce into simple and delectable dishes. The focus during the season is on healthy and nutritious food. Recipes are distributed during the demonstrations and the week's featured dish is cooked and sampled on the spot.

Come down and do some shopping and make it part of your weekend plans. We look forward to seeing you there!

October  2 - Bourbon Steak (Chef Shawn Simpson)
October  9 - Whole Foods Market (Chef Aubrey Wise)
October 16 - The Wine Counselor (Michael Schafer esq., sommelier)
October 23 - Bourbon Steak (Chef Shawn Simpson)
October 30 - Centaur (Chef Jared Reihmer)


FREE Home Depot Kids Workshop 10/2 9am- Noon

FREE Home Depot Kids Workshop on Saturday October 2nd.

The next FREE Home Depot Kids Workshop will be Saturday, Octobber 2, 2010 from 9am to Noon at all Home Depot stores. Kids ages 5-12 will make a Fireboat.

Click here for more info.


FREE Sales Edge Summit Online Conference Oct. 5-7 featuring b2b Sales and SCRM thought leaders

Engaging Customer 2.0

October 5-7, 2010

This FREE virtual Summit features thought leaders from the Founders Council of CustomerThink's SalesEdgeOne community. You will learn how to close more sales with buyers empowered by the Social Web.

Summit Format: Speaking of "engaging," this will not be "death by PowerPoint." Highly interactive panel discussions will explore the top issues for sales leaders, allowing plenty of time to get your specific questions answered. Bob Thompson, Founder of CustomerThink and SalesEdgeOne, will chair the Summit and serve as moderator for all sessions.

The seminar content will be relevant for B2B selling in a variety of industries including high tech, financial services, manufacturing, professional services, and wholesale distribution.

The 3 day conference will contain the following sessions:

How Sales Strategy Must Adapt to Customer 2.0

Customers have changed. Has your sales strategy kept up? Our Summit opens with discussion of key trends in selling to today's empowered customers.

Social CRM: Hype, Hope and the Social Customer

Everyone is talking about Social CRM. In this session, we'll separate fact from hype, discuss lessons learned, and explore how sales organizations can best use social CRM to engage with social customers.

Reach for the Summit: Becoming a Trusted Advisor

Without trust your sales organization is left to focus on function and price, just like other "vendors." Get sage advice for attaining this most influential customer relationship.

Creating Order from Chaos: Processes Still Matter

Sales engagements today involve ever larger networks and communities. That’s not an excuse for anarchy! Sales processes have never been more important!

Improving Sales Productivity: Strategies and Tactics

Doing more with less is a never-ending challenge to get maximum results from every person in the sales organization. Learn the best strategies, tactics, questions, and selling techniques to achieve your goals.

Solutions Showcase: Technology Innovation to Enable Sales Success
See how solutions from the Summit's Gold Sponsors can help you improve sales effectiveness

Closing the Gap Between Sales and Marketing

Marketing and Sales need each other, but all too often friction gets in the way of results. Join this session to learn how to put the romance back into this marriage and drive top-line growth.

Best Practices for Selling with Partners

Multi-channel selling is a key go-to-market strategy for many industries. Is your sales force prepared for the challenges? Are your partners?

Sales as a Team Sport: Golden Rules for Success

Top sales producers know that success depends on a collaborative effort. This session will focus on how sales professionals can effectively lead and orchestrate the activities of others.




Wednesday, September 29, 2010

FREE Meet & Greet with Megamind 10/6 4-7pm Oakland Mall

Meet Megamind at Oakland Mall in Troy
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
4:00pm - 7:00pm
Oakland Mall

MEGAMIND from the upcoming DreamWorks Animation 3D movie, “MEGAMIND”, is coming to Michigan! So come on out to Oakland Mall on October 6th for Mega fun activities, movie pass giveaways, photo opportunties with MEGAMIND, face painting, caricature artists and much more!

This event is free and open to the public.

Oakland Mall
412 West 14 Mile Road
Troy, Michigan 48083

Click here if video is not shown

From the studio that brought you “Shrek”, “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda”. “Megamind” is the most brilliant supervillain that world has ever known. And the least successful. Over the years, he has tried to conquer Metro City in every imaginable way. Each attempt, a colossal failure thanks to the caped superhero known as “Metro Man”, an invincible hero until the day Megamind actually kills him in the throes of one of his botched evil plans. Suddenly, Megamind has no purpose. A supervillain without a superhero. He realizes that achieving his life’s ambition is the worst thing that ever happened to him. Megamind decides that the only way out of his rut is to create a new hero opponent called “Titan”, who promised to be bigger, better and stronger than Metro Man ever was. Pretty quickly Titan starts to think it’s much more fun to a villain than a good guy. Except Titan doesn’t just want to rule the world, he wants to destroy it. Now, Megamind must decide: can he defeat his own diabolical creation? Can the world’s smartest man make the smart decision for once? Can the evil genius become the unlikely hero of his own story?

Starring Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill.
Directed by Tom McGrath.

This film is rated PG.

EMPLOYMENT: Open Casting Call for Runway Models 10/2 Motor City Casino for Fashion in Detroit Show


Fashion In Detroit (FID) - Michigan's premier annual fashion event - will host an open casting call to find undiscovered models for its runway shows, taking place Oct. 22-23, 2010 at MotorCity Casino Hotel.

The casting call will take place 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010 in the Executive Ballroom at Motor City Casino Hotel, located at 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit, MI 48201. The casting call is open to the public for both men and women ages 14 to 30 for selection. No previous runway experience is required.

Women must be a minimum of 5'7", maximum size 6, while men must be at least 5'10" with a maximum jacket size of 44 inches. Models must attend the open call with a headshot and a full-body photo, although they need not be professional prints. Women should wear form-fitting clothing and high heels, while men should come dressed in fitted jeans and a fitted shirt.

All candidates in attendance will have their headshots and sizes reviewed. Some candidates will be invited to stay and walk for members of the FID Executive Committee. Selected models must be available to walk the runway at Fashion In Detroit on Oct. 22-23, 2010.

Fashion In Detroit is an annual, two-day fashion event co-created by Project Runway's Joe Faris, along with Karen Buscemi, K'Kio Hardin, Lians Jadan and Leslie Ann Pilling to put a fashion spotlight on Michigan and create a venue that fills the needs of many locally based designers and the Michigan fashion community. This year's Fashion In Detroit will take place at the luxurious and modern MotorCity Casino Hotel, in Detroit, Michigan.

The two-day event will include 12 runway shows by a collection of local and national designers, designer trunk shows, "Cheers Michigan" product displays, a VIP private reception, and an Afterglow bash. Each day's admission ticket includes six fashion shows, gift bags, a souvenir guidebook/lookbook and eligibility for high-end giveaways.

Fashion In Detroit will feature top models showcasing the best designs of Spring/Summer 2011. The spacious seating arrangements allow room for 700 buyers, fashion industry insiders, VIP guests and fashion lovers each day.

For more information, visit, call 248.677.1769 or

FREE 1st Drink at Metro Times Drink Detroit Event 9/30 5-7pm Shotz Bar & Grill

Metro Times gives 1st drink FREE at Drink Detroit Happy Hour

Drink Detroit is a monthly event rotating around the city to celebrate the hard workers making it happen in Detroit.

Metro Times will be providing complementary drinks along with door prizes at each Drink Detroit event.

This month it's Thursday, September 30rd at Shotz Bar & Grill located at 555 E. Lafayette in Detroit in the Greektown Casino.

Click here for more details.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FREE Custom Luggage Tags from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (CLOSED)

FREE Custom Luggage Tags

Thanks to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines everyone can design a set of FREE custom luggage tags to use on your next trip.  I have featured these FREE luggage tags in a number of my gift guides and everyone loves them.  My set turned out so great that I just keep one attached to my purse at all times.  My son has a set that are attached to his school bags.

So fun.  So FREE.  What are you waiting for?

Update: This promotion has unfortunately ended.  Too bad.  Those tags were fabulous!

Fun, FREE, Fabulous Ladies Night Out in Downtown Milford 10/7

Fun, free and fabulous: Ladies Night Out set for Oct. 7 in Downtown Milford
Hundreds of women expected for evening of discounts and dining

Hundreds of women are expected to visit downtown Milford for deals and discounts during the village’s annual tradition, Ladies Night Out, set for 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 7.

“Ladies Night Out is a fun night of shopping and dining out with the girls,” said Wendi Skolnik, Milford Business Association president and owner of Nana’s Niche & Corner, one of the participating Milford businesses. “During the evening, patrons can expect specials at many of Milford’s restaurants, and exclusive deals and previews of the latest merchandise at dozens of clothing boutiques, jewelry stores, furniture outfitters and more.”

Besides plenty of time to shop, dine and mingle, ladies will also have the chance to win one of 32 gift certificates worth at least $20 each, redeemable at a variety of Milford spots. To enter, attendees can pick up stamps at participating businesses to place in a booklet. Once they’ve picked up 10, they can enter to win by dropping their completed form in any box at participating locations.

The event is sponsored by the Milford Business Association.

GIVEAWAY: See Jazz Great Michel Camilo in Concert at the DSO on 10/1 at 8pm


Virtuoso pianist, composer and Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) Michel Camilo returns to Orchestra Hall for a performance spiced with his trademark Caribbean rhythms, jazz melodies, and Latin flare in Michel Camilo's Big Band - Caribe.

The performance kicks off the 2010-11 Jazz Series on Friday, October 1, 2010 at 8 p.m.

Known for delivering high-impact exuberant performances, The Boston Globe says "Camilo is a force to be reckoned with." A Grammy, Latin Grammy and Emmy Award-winner, Camilo brings to the stage his signature music, a fusion of mainstream jazz first and foremost, propelled by an infectious Latin tinge and a contemporary sense of swing that reflects his joyously effervescent personality.

The Michel Camilo Trio, composed of pianist Michel Camilo, bassist Charles Flores, and drummer Cliff Almond returned to Orchestra Hall on Friday May 7th, joined by bassist Esperanza Spalding, saxophonist David Sánchez, and pianists Alfredo Rodríguez and Luke Celenza. The concert is part of the DSO's Bank of America Paradise Jazz Series. I received my tickets courtesy of the DSO.

Tickets for Michel Camilo’s Big Band – Caribe on October 1st range in price from $19 to $63 with a limited number of box seats available for $99. Tickets may be purchased and/or reserved at the DSO Box Office (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit), by calling the DSO at (313) 576-5111 or by visiting

I attended Michel's last concert at the DSO and it was wonderful.  Don't miss this evening of beautiful jazz as only Michel can deliver.


Click here if video is not shown


One FREEISMYLIFE reader will win two tickets to this Friday's Michel Camilo concert at the DSO.  The contest ends on Wednesday, September 29th at 11:59pm. This is a very short contest so only ONE entry per person PLEASE. Tickets will be held for the winner at the DSO box office at Will Call.


Contest Closed.
Form Has Been Removed.

The winner in the Michel Camilo Facebook Only Contest declined the tickets. So I am picking TWO winners in this contest.

Congratulations to Gwen W. of Troy, MI and Lori K. of Clinton Township.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Save $11 on Cedar Point Tickets by being a Michigan Resident (PROMOTION IS OVER)

Cedar Point Gives Michigan Residents Special Ticket Discount for HalloWeekends

Are you going to Cedar Point for HalloWeekends?  Well if you live in Michigan, you can get a saving of $11 off each Cedar Point Ticket which comes to only $34.99 per ticket.

Here's How...
If you go to the regular Cedar Point Ticket website page, the cost is still $45.99 per ticket. But if you go to the special Cedar Point website page for Michigan residents, the price is discounted by $11. These tickets are good through October 31, 2010 including HalloWeekends.

Now aren't you glad you live in Michigan?


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I will do a GIVEAWAY when I reach 100 followers !!!

Net10 Cell Phones on Clearance at Target - HURRY!

NET10 LG 300G Phone

Last Friday, I was in Target wading through one of the clearance shelves (my fav thing to do in Target) when I came across a Net10 cell phone that had been marked down 50% to $14.98.  My son has been begging for a cell phone for almost a year now so I started reading the Net10 packaging and the display pamphlet.  I found out that each Net10 phone comes included with 5 hours of talk time (300 minutes) that's good for 60 days.

So I started thinking that this would be a great way to get my son a cell phone with no commitment and very little money out of my pocket.  For only $14.98 plus tax, my son could have a cell phone for two months and I would have those two months to gage if he is responsible enough to take care of a cell phone (not lose it, keep it charged, not leave it in his pants pocket to be washed with the dirty clothes). 

I decided to give it a try.  The phone can only be turned on if it is scanned at checkout (stolen phones cannot be activated). The minutes can be activated online or by calling a 1-800 number.  I called the 1-800 number and the rep asked for my name, address, and home phone number to setup the account. She then walked me through how I could tell if the phone was activated and where to look on the phone to find the phone number. The whole activation process took 10 minutes total and my son was up and making his first phone call in no time flat.

The phone on clearance is a LG 300G.  The size is 1 1/2 inches wide and 4 inches long.  It has a 1x1 inch color display  screen. The start screen displays the total minutes available and the date that the minutes expire so you know when to add more.  You can keep the same phone number as long as you add more minutes before the expiration date. 

The LG 300G has texting capability.  If I had paid the full $30 price, the cost would have been 10 cents a minute for calling and 5 cents per text.  Since I only paid 1/2 price, the cost is 5 cents per minute calling 2.5 cents per text.  Phone numbers can be programmed into the phone for fast access by name.  The phone has an alarm clock, calendar, notpad and calculator.  It also has two games: Sudoku and Battle Reversi.  These are all pretty good features for a basically free phone where you are only paying for the service.  Also NET10 service covers most of the United States (see map below).

Net10 Service Coverage Map
This basic NET10 phone is good for my son since this is his first cell phone and he is only 10 years old.  This phone would also be good for someone that is "tech challenged" or does not want or need all the advanced features on most cell phones.  My mom still does not know how to work her cell phone and she almost never uses it, so a basic cell phone like this one would be perfect for her.

The reason that Target had this phone on clearance is because Net10 has come out with a new model with more advanced features (larger color display, camera, keyboard, etc) but the new model will still come included with 300 free minutes that are good for 60 days.  I went to another Target by my home and found another LG 300G phone at the same clearance price. So if anyone is interested in getting this clearance LG phone deal, hurry to your local Target before they are all gone.

Even if you don't get this LG 300G phone, the regular $30 for 300 minutes/60 days included with all Net10 phones is still a good deal.  But of course, half price is a steal :)



Disclosure: Because I love the Net10 service plan and the phone that my son has (and I bought a second one on clearance at Target), I have added Net10 to my sponsored links. This means, for a limited time, I will get a few cents commission when you click on any Net10 link on this blog.

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I will do a GIVEAWAY when I reach 100 followers !!!

MOVIE REVIEW: Social Network

Guest Blogger Liz Parker is back from an advance screening of "Social Network".  Is the story about the making of Facebook compelling drama or a snooze fest?  Let's read what Liz thinks... 

When I joined Facebook in March 2005, before the end of my senior year of high school, I didn't really know what it was. I had received an email invite from a friend, and when I logged on it turned out there were about five people (out of 500 or so) from my graduating class who had also registered for it. The profiles looked a little something like this and the concept was simple - upload a profile picture and some information about yourself, including your school, relationship status, and interests. Over the last five years, Facebook has evolved in many ways, and now it's not just about sharing information - there is a Marketplace where you can list your apartment to sublet, a Games section, and tons of ads and other things to keep one occupied. The profiles have evolved from something slightly more complicated than the original to something that now has multiple tabs for your Wall (where friends can leave you messages), photo albums, and other information. I knew the site had been started by then-Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, shortly before I joined "The Facebook," as it was then known, but I had no idea of the amount of controversy surrounding both the idea of Facebook and how it was started. The movie "The Social Network" illuminates this, and does it within a movie that is not only slick, but interesting too.

Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg, "Solitary Man") finds himself bored in his Harvard dorm room one night, and he decides to make a website called, which compares two girls from Harvard and asks viewers to rank whom is hotter. To do this, he hacks into the mainframes of all the Harvard houses and their respective "facebooks". His site gets 22,000 hits within four hours or so, and he soon finds himself in front of a Harvard disciplinary board for hacking. Meanwhile, Divya (Max Minghella, "Agora") and the Winklevoss twins, Tyler and Cameron (newcomer Josh Pence and Armie Hammer, TV's "Reaper", respectively) hear about Zuckerberg's exploits and decide to approach him with an idea: they want to make a website called The Harvard Connection and have it be a "facebook" of sorts. It's a little like a dating site but only Harvard students can join. Zuckerberg agrees to work on the site for them, and then proceeds to give them the brush-off for the next two months or so; within these two months, he gets the idea of The Facebook from their Harvard Connection idea, and proceeds in enlisting his friends to work on it. The Facebook soon goes live and the twins and Divya are furious, as they believe Zuckerberg stole their idea, even though the code used for the website was written by him. As The Facebook becomes more and more popular, expanding to schools beyond Harvard and even at a few European schools, they finally decide to sue him.

The movie was fascinating to me because I had no idea there was so much controversy surrounding Facebook's beginnings. Jesse Eisenberg does a fabulous job as Mark Zuckerberg - I could seriously see him getting an Oscar nom for this role - and his supporting players do a great job as well. Andrew Garfield ("Never Let Me Go") plays Eduardo, Zuckerberg's only (and best) friend, who starts off as the CFO of Facebook, and when the company starts to go in a new direction, including moving to California, he basically gets axed. Justin Timberlake ("The Open Road") is Sean Parker, the young founder of Napster who agrees to work with Zuckerberg on Facebook, who likes to party a lot with girls that may or may not be underage. Brenda Song (TV's "The Suite Life on Deck") has a small but memorable role as Eduardo's crazy girlfriend, and Joseph Mazzello (TV's "The Pacific") plays Dustin, who has a small part in getting Facebook off the ground. Like I said, however, Eisenberg definitely steals the show, and it makes me wonder if Mark Zuckerberg really is like that in real life (very sarcastic and also a bit of a genius); he definitely bears a resemblance to Eisenberg from the photos I have seen of him.

Yes, definitely see this movie. It is extremely slick and also very compelling. Even if you are not a member of Facebook, you will still be able to appreciate this film; it slides back and forth between the present, in which Zuckerberg is involved in two lawsuits against him, and the past, where it shows how Facebook got off the ground and how it matured as a company. According to Wikipedia, Facebook now has over 500 million active users, and the movie shows the time period in which they were anxiously counting down the days until 1 million members had joined. I am sure that the movie definitely "Hollywood"-ized things a bit, including the personalities of Zuckerberg and his coworkers, but I found it to be a great film and one that anyone can enjoy.

"The Social Network" will be in theaters this Friday, October 1st.

Click here if video is not shown

Liz Parker is a 2009 graduate of the University of Michigan. She currently works as an Assistant Medical Editor for a pathology website. Visit her at her movie blog Yes/No Films

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Taking Time for Me" Series: R&R at Your Desk

photo by naturalhomecures34
Relax & Rejuvenate at Your Office Desk
You might be thinking "R&R at my desk? Please! The work at my desk is what is stressing me out!" But, blogger and certified massage therapist Carrie Burgan knows how you can find some peace in the middle of the office storm.

This is the 2nd of 3 sponsored guest posts in the series "Taking Time for Me" where Carrie shares tips on loving our bodies.  So put down that mouse and discover how to get some R&R at your office desk...

You’re at work. It’s only 10:30. You still have six hours until you can think about going home, your project is due, your kids are sick, you’re planning your dad’s retirement party, and your neck and shoulders are killing you.

Stop. Recharge.
During the week I visit several office buildings and provide massage to the employees there. These employees are very lucky to get massage during the work day, but they frequently ask me how they can make the massage benefits last longer through the day and into the week. I have shared these secrets with them and I’d love to pass them along to you. You’ll find that it’s pretty easy and certainly free for you to take advantage of the five following strategies for workplace wellness. By taking just a few minutes each day to practice some easy self-care, you can recharge and refresh enough to tackle even the heftiest to-do list. You don’t even have to leave your desk.

If clients have you stressed out or something in your personal life is amiss, take time to breathe. You don’t have to have a half-hour meditation session to reap the benefits of a few, good breaths. At your desk a good goal is to aim for ten deep breaths.

To do this exercise, place your hands in your lap and your feet flat on the floor. The breath should come from your diaphragm, meaning you should feel your tummy expand as you breathe in and out, not just your chest. Breathe in through your mouth for a count of 3-7 seconds (careful not to go too long too quickly, or else you can get lightheaded) and out through your nose for 5-8 seconds. If stressors or to-dos creep into your mind, acknowledge them and say mentally, “I’ll address you later.” Return your focus to your breathing until you have reached ten deep breaths. You should feel calmer and ready to begin your work again!

photo by dibytes
Hand Maintenance
Typewriters. Keyboards. Computer mice. Fax machines. Copier jams. Telephones. Text messages. Instant messages. Meeting notes. Coffee cups. You use your hands in almost everything you do and use at the office. Taking care of your hands is essential to your body’s sound structure and to your source of income! Getting a friend or loved one to massage your hands is great, but you can help stretch and strengthen your hands with the following exercise.

Grab a medium rubber band. Place it around all five of your fingers midway down the finger and near the top 1/3 of your thumb. Open your fingers as wide as they can go, using the rubber band for resistance. Close your fingers slowly and then repeat. It’s a good idea to start with a lighter rubber band and work up to the thick bands as your hands get stronger. (People with arthritis may need to check with a doctor first.)

Stretch Those Pecs!
Our pectoral muscles are often tight from poor, hunched posture, uncomfortable seating, large chests, etc. Our pectorals (or “pecs”) are often tight, which can lead to rounded, front-tilting shoulders. Rounded, front- (or “anterior”-) tilted shoulders can lead to back, neck and shoulder pain and limited range of motion in the arms. It’s important for anyone who does work at computers, drives a lot, or does other front-facing jobs to stretch their pecs. One way to do this is to stand or sit on the edge of a chair with arms behind your back and fingers interlaced, palms up. Open your chest by squeezing your shoulder blades together for 10 seconds. Slowly release and repeat. You can also do an internet search on “pec stretches at desk”for more options.

photo by lauratitian
Play Footsie
Your feet are responsible for moving you from point A to B, hundreds of times a day. Ill-fitting shoes, high heels, hard pavement, among other things, all impact our delicate feet! One way you can counteract painful feet while you’re at your desk is to invest in a tennis ball or a large (approximately 2”) “high bounce” ball to keep at your desk. While you’re on the phone or typing, you can slip off your shoe and place the ball between your foot and the floor. Roll the ball back and forth to stretch the tendons and connective tissue in your feet, which can affect pain in the feet, legs and back.

photo by TroyWitte
Aroma to the Rescue
We’ve all awoken to the smell of fresh coffee brewing. The aroma says, “It’s morning!” You can find other aromas to use to smell during the day as an easy and affordable pick-me-up. You can try coffee, or if you’d like to skip the caffeine, keep some pure, essential oils on hand. You can purchase essential oils and blends at health food stores, online, through many spas and massage therapists. Peppermint and spearmint oil and rosemary oil are said to be stimulating. If you’re trying to focus, both sage and basil essential oils promote focus and clarity. If you’re feeling down, citrus oil like orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit can help to energize you and give you a happy lift. Unlike perfumes and fragrance oils, essential oils have therapeutic properties that can help sustain you through the day.

Click here to see all the posts in this series
Carrie Burgan, owner of Revolve Massage Therapy, is a nationally certified massage therapist, natural health enthusiast, and self-proclaimed "lover of life" in the Metro Detroit area. She feels that although worn down by time, stress and the environment, we can take care to maintain the temples we have been given - our bodies! She is also available for private parties, events, and to speak to your groups about massage. Find out more at

Find out more about Carrie on Twitter at @CarrieB_Massage and on Facebook at RevolveMassage where she announces special deals and freebies on her massage services.