Family Photography in Berwick, VIC

It has been YEARS since I last did a photo shoot… and today I did a maternity/family photo shoot for my dear friend Diana, and I was reminded of how much fun it truly was to capture those precious family moments. There were even tears and everything!!

I took a break from photography because the amount of time required to edit photos were too much for me to handle back when the kids were still really young. Plus, the photo shoots were mostly on weekends and that was taking time away from my family life. Now that they are older and in school, and I am back at work part-time (digital marketing), I am actually seriously considering taking baby steps back into photography.

I guess we will just wait and see. I have reactivated my profile at photographers.com.au and I started posting photos on Facebook again. I will leave it at that, and if any enquiries come through.. I might even respond, lol.

Here are some photos taken earlier today 🙂

 

Super Quick and Easy Pork Belly with Greens Stirfry

This little recipe I very quickly whipped up today turned out so delicious (if I dare say so myself, haha) that I HAD to share! If you’re a busy mum like me, juggling work and family life, these super quick and easy recipes are truly a lifesaver! Plus, the kids loved it – so that’s a plus! My kids are very fussy when it comes to their veggies, but they somehow don’t mind beans and brocolli (or brocollini) so I use these greens pretty often in my cooking. This sticky stirfry would go really well with just plain steamed rice, although today I served it with couscous – because they are super easy to make, just add hot water, cover and ready in 2 minutes!

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Ingredients:

One bunch of brocollini, chopped in half

Approx. 150g green beans

4 strips of pork belly, sliced into small bite sized pieces

4-5 garlic cloves, crushed

2-3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Method:

Heat vegetable oil in wok, stirfry garlic and pork belly until the meat is slightly browning. Add greens and splash in sweet chilli sauce and oyster sauce. Stirfry for another 5-8 minutes until greens are reasonably softened yet still slightly crunchy (careful not to let it get too soft and soggy) and sauce caramelizes and making the meat look all glossy and sticky.

Serve with steamed rice or cous cous.

It’s All About Branding

Branding is far more than having a company website or a logo, branding is essentially how you would like the public (or more specifically, your target audience) to perceive you.

Whether you want to be recognised as that company that sells value for money goods, or high end quality products, or stylish contemporary designs, or a one-stop shop that is always reliable, or super efficient and quick service but at a premium price, etc… you need to identify your goal identity and work all your marketing efforts towards achieving that public perception.

Your internal marketing team (or an external marketing agency) will work with your management team to help identify your company mission and goals; and implement all the steps necessary towards achieving them. It is marketing’s job to manage the perception of your brand and to change the way people think and feel about your company and in turn, change their buying behaviour.

This can be achieved by:

  • Creating an emotional connection with the consumer. What motivates them?
  • Providing justification for paying a premium price for your service/product. What drives them towards their purchase decision?
  • Creating loyalty to your product or brand name or company. What keeps them coming back?
  • Demonstrating the quality and benefits of your service/product and the company behind it. Testimonials, reviews, encouraging customers to review your business online and to spread the word simply by being awesome.

Acquiring loyal customers is what many successful businesses strive for, and that’s what branding is all about.

Customers always comes first. Give them the experience they would WANT to talk about and let everything else fall into place 😊

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: 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