Consumerism in this Modern Age

Our human brains are wired in such a way that when it comes to things we want vs things we need… there is a part of our brain that sometimes don’t make much sense, and we unfortunately find hard to control.

The thing is however, marketers are aware of that part of our brains… and have used that to their advantage. We are subconsciously drawn to things that require continuity… so buying something that is part of a collection is a YES. Shopping at a particular store that is offering loyalty rewards or promotional freebies (such as the current Coles Mini Collectable craze, which I will write about next) is also a YES. Playing a game that may seem silly and pointless, but with the ability to level up or unlock achievements or gather more resources, or even as simply as “looking pretty” is also a YES. Take Candy Crush Saga for example, some may argue the game can be some sort of “brain exercise” as you practice your problem solving skills. But really, it is all about levelling up and getting the highest score.. and watching the candies explode gives you a weird sense of satisfaction. People get addicted to playing games on their phones and consoles because they like winning, and they like feeling like they achieved something. People like crafting because they like making things and admiring their finished product.. again “pretty things”. People get addicted to smoking or drinking alcohol or sex because those things make them feel good.

People are constantly on their phones because they are unable to detach from the one device that connects them to the world without physically putting in the effort to be everywhere. Why wouldn’t you be addicted to that one device that holds all your friends, your family, your music, your calendar, your photos, your videos, and all the information you would ever need about anything?? Think about it, once upon a time to read something you would need to pick up a book or a newspaper or a magazine. To look at your photos, you will have to look at your photo albums or framed pictures. To talk to your family, you will have to actually go see them or call them. To watch a movie, you have to physically go to a video store and rent a movie.. or go to the cinema. To buy second hand goods, you have to actually go to a garage sale or op shop, or check the Classified section of the paper. Those were multiple channels for multiple purposes that have now been reduced to one single device, where you can do ALL THAT AND MORE, on your phone. Mindblowing. Why wouldn’t we be spending that much time on our phones when EVERYTHING is on our phones. Personal relationships, work, play, shop, learn, entertainment… every aspect of our lives conveniently streamlined into one device.

I do however agree that too much technology could make us lose touch with the world. So I do believe that sometimes, we need to go back to how things were… it may sound unnecessary and somewhat even inefficient, but our lives are not on the screen. Plus, it is good to mix things up. Go out and get some fresh air. Look up and see the world through your own eyes, not through someone else’s camera lens. Our technology devices help enhance our productivity, but they can also help waste a lot of time if we are not being careful. We just need to really be mindful of what we’re doing whenever we get screen time, is this really going to enhance my life or take away the time that could be used better.

Which leads us back to things we want vs things we need.

Why do we constantly seek to upgrade our phones (even when our existing phones are perfectly functional and in good condition), buy a new car, buy new clothes, buy new toys, buy a new house, etc? Consumerism is so powerful especially in this day and age of technology, where buying things have never been easier. Online shopping has indeed revolutionised the way we spend our money, we don’t even have to leave our homes to spend our money. In fact, just going to the other end of the spectrum now, we don’t even have to leave our homes to EARN our money. Pfft. Mind blown again.

The answer is simple. Despite having everything we want and need, we always want MORE. We want better, newer and bigger, not necessarily more in the sense of having multiple of each things… more of an upgrade. Discard the old, bring in the new. People may have learnt to hoard less, so instead of accumulating more things, people have gotten better at culling old and pre-loved things in exchange for newer, shinier things. So where do all the old stuff go?

Most end up in the wasteland (which is a whole other topic and problem entirely for another day) and some may end up in op shops, where people like me like to go to try and find a second hand bargain. Most recently, they end up for sale on Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Gumtree! I don’t like buying expensive things, but I do tend to spend money unnecessarily on things I don’t really need, simply because I think it is a bargain. Not a good habit either, and I am sure I am not alone!

Basically, with all the information so readily available via the digital media these days, and with a captive audience who are constantly on their digital devices, it is no wonder that businesses and marketers today have pretty much shifted all their efforts to reach their target markets online. If you are still doing things the “old skool” way, you are possibly missing out on revenue that could be generated by doing business online. Digital marketing firms can assist you in implementing the right online marketing strategy, increase your awareness through Social Media and online campaigns, and improve your branding by establishing your core messaging to your target markets. Why wouldn’t you get onboard when you see proof of your captive audience presented in statistics reports such as this:

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Now if you would please excuse me, I need to make myself a cup of coffee and have lunch outside and enjoy the beautiful sunshine before getting back to the limited screen time I DO get while my kids are at school! #TryingVeryHardToMaintainAGoodBalance

Step 1: Content Marketing

If you’re reading this, you are probably curious as to who I am, what I am doing here, and why is there so much content on different areas of interest on this page?! What is going on here??

Believe me, if I could, I would choose a niche and roll with it. However, my marketing background simply does not allow me to just roll with one element, topic of interest, or component. To me, all the categories listed in my site menu bar above is MY MARKETING MIX. Basically, all of those areas form the core that is me. The brand that is Kimba’s Living consists of that mix of elements.

So here I am, recently launched this website just yesterday with the purpose of merging all the elements that form who I am into one single platform. I am excited!

Why is Step 1 for me Content Marketing?

First of all, let’s take a look at the definition of content marketing:

content marketing
noun
noun:Β content marketing
  1. a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.

Stimulate interest. If you are still reading this, does that mean I have stimulated your interest? The answer is in fact, yes. Haha, thank you, keep reading please!

Instead of pitching products or services, I am hoping to provide relevant and useful content to my future readers – whether you are just someone passing by, and reading content that you can relate to, or whether you are a potential collaborator whom I can maybe work with someday on a project or an article, or whether you are a future client whom I can maybe offer marketing consultancy services to in the future.

If you are like me, and looking to generate more leads or build better relationships with your audience through content marketing, here are a few key guidelines to how to do this well and achieve your goals:

  • Establish a Content Marketing Strategy – this includes having a schedule for posting your content on various social media platforms, planning ahead, researching topics that would best relate to your audience, categorising and building a content database.
  • Engage with your audience – find ways to encourage your audience to react to your posts. Competitions, giveaways, polls, forums, videos, little rants that people can relate to and would want to engage with you to discuss!
  • The word “personality” also means get personal. Show your audience your personality, but also get personal with them so they can relate to you more. You are human, not a boring robot. It is okay to post content that is far from perfect, to post content on failed attempts at something, or bloopers. Sometimes if things are always amazing, they kinda lose their significance.
  • Consistent communication and content driven marketing is always rewarded by search engines. The more you post, the more likely more people will find you.
  • Build a community around your brand – the ultimate goal here is to have a sizeable community of content contributors, readers, clients, friends, strangers, regulars, newbies, one-timers, loyal nuts, preachers, evangelizers who will make your work life interesting and different every single day. Yay!

If this article has helped you in any way, please feel free to leave me a comment or send me your feedback to kimbasliving[a]gmail.com. I would LOVE to hear from you!!

 

MariCAR (Mario Kart) in Tokyo, Japan

IMG_20180521_204736_693Our little family went on a holiday recently to Japan, so expect a series of posts here with stories from some of the highlights from our trip!

I will start this series with quite possibly the most exciting highlight… because… ONLY IN JAPAN. Lol.

Where else can you drive a custom built go-kart ON THE STREETS of a busy city?!

To those who haven’t had the opportunity to give this a go, I would really recommend you just do it! It is not as scary as it looks, and it is the best way to explore a city. Tokyo is so beautiful and I absolutely loved the experience of driving around the streets of Tokyo in these… go-karts lol. I felt a bit exposed and slightly unsafe at first, but we were going at such a slow and steady pace and the drivers around us were so aware and courteous of us the crazy tourists that it didn’t feel that dangerous at all! Plus you get to dress up in cute Mario costumes and be all touristy hehe.

Quite a few companies offer this experience in Tokyo, but we went with Samurai Kart Asakusa. We were travelling with the kids, so they offered the “coach service” where the kids could ride in a van that follows closely behind the go-kart drivers. So I rode in the bus with the kids for the first hour and a bit, and then swapped with my friend Cheryl whom we were travelling with at the pitstop/toilet break and got to drive for the last 20 minutes or so.

 

Price wise, naturally something like this would not be cheap but it is not a complete rip off either. It was worth every dollar, a truly unique experience and so much fun! Samurai Kart Asakusa have their pricelist on their Facebook page here
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So if you are planning a trip to Japan, you simply MUST give street go-karting a good hot go. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. It is the most fun we have had in a while and I am completely in love with Japan and look forward to the day I get to go back!

SkyBar & Kitchen, Glen Waverley

After being married for over 10 years, it is hard to keep the romance going especially when life is always so busy and work/kids consume so much of our time. This is why hubby and I make sure we make time to go on regular date nights. On average, I would say we make it at least once a month to go out and enjoy time together just as a couple without the kids. Please note that watching movies at home together while snuggling on the couch and eating ice cream do NOT count as date nights, as romantic as they sound, it should just be a regular thing hehe.

Going out, however, can be expensive.

Thankfully, the Asian in me has been onto something for a while now. If you are not onto it already, you should. What have I been on to you ask??

GROUPON. CUDO. SCOOPON. ENTERTAINMENT BOOK. DISCOUNT VOUCHERS. DEALS DEALS DEALS.

Deals and coupon websites are the perfect solutions to a budget yet special date night. You get to try a new restaurant (and there are some fancy restaurant choices out there on those deals websites) at a discounted price. If it is no good, then you try a different one next month. If it was actually pretty good, then score! You got to have a nice night out without hurting your wallet.

Just recently, hubby and I went out on our date night and I purchased a deal from Groupon for SkyBar & Kitchen in Glen Waverley. The deal was $69 for two people including a 3-course meal and bubbly. It really wasn’t too bad for a 3-course meal!

The venue itself was not bad. It was on the 6th floor of a newer building on the main street in Glen Waverley and if you chose to sit out in the semi outdoors balcony area you will get a pretty nice view from the rooftop. We were seated inside though amongst many other diners and it was a pretty busy night (it was a Friday night) but the environment was lovely enough.

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We were served a pretty decent glass of bubbly each to start, and the platter of starters was quite delicious and fulfilling. It was literally a plate of all my favorites so I couldn’t complain. Salt and pepper calamari, popcorn chicken. slow cooked pork belly (so yum!) and fresh oysters. It was such a good start to our meal.

We also decided to take advantage of the 2 cocktails for $30 deal and ordered some pretty (and delicious) cocktails.

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The deal was from a set menu so we had three options to choose from when it comes to our Mains. Hubby opted for the steak and I went with the salmon. It wasn’t extraordinary, but it was a pretty decent meal especially for what we paid for. My salmon was well cooked, just slightly pink the way it should be and tender, and hubby’s medium rare steak was also cooked well. Overall, we were satisfied with the quality of the food so far and the level of service.

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It finally came to dessert and we did not have options for this either. We were each served Green Tea Panna Cotta so beautifully presented in a glass. It had beautiful green tea flavours, although I felt the panna cotta was a tad too runny for my liking. Nevertheless it was still quite a delicious dessert and exceptional value for money thanks to Groupon.

So basically, we had a pretty decent meal at SkyBar Kitchen. I heard they were famous for their lobsters so I kinda feel like I should come back just to try that. I will definitely come back for their cocktails though, and they serve their appetizers as tapas at the bar. Next time I come back, I will be drinking cocktails and ordering that pork belly from their tapas menu!

P/S: Locationwise, it was really handy that the billiard room was just downstairs so hubby and I continued our date night with a few games of pool. Plus, bowling, the cinemas and karaoke were within walking distance. Gotta love Glen Waverley!

 

SkyBar & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fine Food Australia Expo, Melbourne 12 – 15 September 2016


If you work in the food service, retail & distribution and hospitality industry – whether as a cafe / restaurant owner, or a chef, or a grocery shop owner or working for a large national food distribution company, or a barista, or a caterer, or anything remotely food related – then you will NOT want to miss this show.

Unfortunately, the Fine Food Expo hosted by Fine Food Australia is only held once every two years as they alternate between Melbourne and Sydney each year.. but hey, I now have an excuse to plan a trip to Sydney next year for the next expo! Oh wait.. I am jumping ahead of myself here πŸ™‚

The expo is STRICTLY TRADE ONLY and because I registered as a food blogger / writer I managed to somehow score a “Media Pass” to explore the event and be amongst people who work in an industry I am so passionate about. I felt completely spoilt that day… there was so much to see and so much to learn and so much food and drinks to taste! The expo was ultimately a Foodie Haven… hands down the best tradeshow I have ever attended and I gained so much from it. It definitely gave me a lot of insight as to what’s involved in the supply chain management side of things when running a food establishment.. and the realization that the competition is tough! Food is literally being offered everywhere.. and you definitely need to stand out in terms of service and quality in order to score some potential clients.

As far as beverages were concerned, there were plenty of sample drinks as well as free coffees going around. It was an eye opening experience, as I realize that if I was a restaurant owner – I actually have so many suppliers of food and beverages to choose from with hundreds and thousands of options and then to somewhat be effective in comparing their prices, etc. This industry is absolutely booming and at the end of the day, I suppose networking is the only way to secure and retain long term customers. I had some great opportunities to chat to a few people during the expo and I have to say I am even furthermore intrigued by this industry and would LOVE to be more involved in the near future… *off dreaming about owning my own cafe or restaurant… excuse me while I daydream*

Back to the expo, other than the fact that EVERYONE at every stall were super friendly and approachable (there is this thing about people who love food are the most awesome people..) the expo had plenty to offer in terms of cooking demonstrations and entertainment as well. Everything on display here were food products, commercial food products available to purchase in bulk by people in the food business, from curry pastes to pastries to premade salads to sauces / dressings to gelato flavours… you name it, they got it! Not to mention kitchen equipment, cafe / restaurant furniture and packaging solutions! Everything you will ever need to establish a food business, you will find your connections all under one roof.
If you are into more international flavours, the expo also featured International Stalls with food products from all over the world. The variety was simply amazing! I only had one day here, but I would highly recommend that you take the opportunity to explore slowly at a good slow and steady pace spread across at least two days… because there is simply too much to see and too much to taste! If you are also seriously looking to network, you should allow a lot more time. The people here are ready to talk business, and there is a lot of information to process.
If you don’t believe me when I say there is LOTS of food to taste… here is the proof:

This was truly a delicious event, but it was mostly a truly valuable business event and I would imagine having all major food suppliers under one roof just makes it all so much easier for people in the business to network and collect all the information required either to start a food business or to grow and evaluate options for their existing business.
See you guys in Sydney next year!

Salt and Pepper Crispy Chicken Spare Ribs Recipe

I must warn you, this post might end up being so badly written due to the fact that I just ate way too many crispy chicken ribs and now suffering from a bad case of food comma! If my kids were asleep, I would be asleep too right now. I am so full, and content, and sleepy. Writing this blog post almost immediately is necessary to try and stay awake. Writing keeps me away from the comforts of the couch and the danger of falling asleep while little children roam free around the house unsupervised. Better not let that happen, lol.

I LOVE CHICKEN RIBS. I can almost say that every time I go to Yum Cha or any Chinese restaurant, I would most likely end up ordering the Salt and Pepper Chicken Ribs. Why not? Deliciously juicy and crispy chicken that’s tender and only one bone to deal with. Amazing flavours in the onion and chilli topping. Serve with the perfect dipping sauce – and I am in food heaven.

These are so easy to make at home though. They don’t require a lot of ingredients and this version is pretty basic but hits the spot. I had to specially order in the chicken ribs from my butcher though, as they don’t normally stock them (too expensive to keep on regular stock and unpredictable demand). This morning, I got a call from my butcher letting me know my chicken ribs have come in, so I gladly picked them up and cooked them for lunch! Now you can too… enjoy!

Ingredients:
500g chicken spare ribs
1 egg white, gently beaten to separate
Salt and Pepper
Kentucky Flour
1 stalk spring onion, sliced
Chilli flakes
Oil for deep frying
Method:
In a deep fryer, heat oil ready for deep frying. Season chicken ribs really well with salt and pepper. Be generous with the pepper for extra spicy kick. Coat chicken in egg white and then coat with Kentucky flour. Deep fry for about 6-10 minutes or until the chicken is crispy and brown. Serve onto a plate and then top with sliced spring onion and chilli flakes. Serve with your favorite soy / chilli dipping sauce.

Funtastic Bunchems – you literally bunch em little bunchems!

Disclaimer: This is a Sponsored Post review brought to you by Nuffnang and Funtastic.

My kids went crazy as they created some pretty crazy bunchem characters!
As a stay at home parent, I am always looking out for fun things to do with my kids and hopefully keep them entertained long enough to stay away from the screens! My kids love crafting, but whenever there is paint or crayons or playdoh involved, things just always get so messy! Also, chances are the little one will go running off, away from the craft table, and start scribbling or tracking mess everywhere else around the house. It gets pretty frustrating dealing with the mess!
Then came along these Bunchems. They are literally what they are called – furry “burr” like plastic spheres that you can bunch together and they would just amazingly stick to each other. No glue, no mess. That already gets my tick of approval.. so let’s test them on the kids and see what they think.
Silver quietly observes the instructions and sample creations like she is so grown up, lol.
The Bunchems Mega Pack comes with over 400+ pieces of furry spheres with accessories – and a little booklet with examples of what you can create. The beauty of it though is the freedom to create anything you like. I love that this encourages my kids to be creative and use their imaginations to make anything they can think of, even if it appears to be a normal bunch of bunchems with random colours (to them it looks like a dinosaur and they play with it) – after all my kids are only 4 and 2 hehe. Either way, the pack has everything we need to get started and keep busy for hours.
Micah’s T-rex fighting my little monster… I think his T-rex obviously won.

Bunchems is recommended for kids ages 4+ but I find with supervision, even my little one can have fun with it. The texture of the product itself is great for sensory play – and surprisingly quite solid and not easily “destroyed”. They do tend to stick to hair, so keep them away from their heads!
Simple creations made crazy using the accessories included in the pack.
Some cool creations with the help of mummy.

Β The accessories are securely fastened onto the furballs so they won’t fall off easily.

Accessories have a 4-point nail which attaches securely to the holes in the plastic furballs.
Once securely connected to a bunchem, use them on your creations to sparkle and dazzle em!

Overall, I love it. These things are great! They tick all the boxes when it comes to having fun, engaging with my kids and encouraging creativity. Like most things that are little, it is best to supervise their play when little kids are involved to avoid any swallowing incidents. Thankfully, my Silver Grace has grown out of that phase of putting things in her mouth, but still.. you can never be too careful! Besides, the kids love it when I sit down and partipate in activities such as this with them. I love watching them create things and then having pretend play. I must say I enjoy creating cute little Bunchem monsters myself! (If I can get my kids to spare me a few of em bunchem balls… lol)