Entries Tagged as 'oprah'

Nintendo 3DS Summit

April 4th, 2011 · 12 Comments

I have been a Nintendo Brand Ambassador for about 3 years now and have gotten to do some really cool things. Remember when they had a Nintendo DS Lite party for my friends and I and everyone got a free Nintendo DS Lite? Or when they threw a Wii Fit party for my friends and I and then I gave a Wii away on my site? How about when they took us up to the Hancock Center for free dinner and drinks then gave everyone a Nintendo DSi? Or when Nintendo and Netflix partnered and I threw a game and movie night? Not to mention all the fun things they’ve sent me in the mail over the years! Well, that was all awesome, but this past weekend? This past weekend takes the cake!

To celebrate the launch of the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo flew about 120 Brand Ambassadors out to the Nintendo of America headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It was so fun to spend the day at the headquarters and to meet everyone. I have been really involved in the program over the years, but have had limited exposure to other ambassadors. It was interesting to hear other people’s stories. I assumed that everyone would be women around my age, some mothers and some not, but there were all kinds of people: Older, younger, families, singles. There were a lot of women, but if you look close you’ll spot a few men. There were also couples, who had kids at home, who were Nintendo Family Ambassadors going back like 4 years. A lot of the Family Ambassadors don’t even have blogs and are not into social media. And everyone was from all over the country.

To be honest, before going on the trip I was getting really nervous. I didn’t know any of the other Nintendo Brand Ambassadors and I’d be spending all this time with strangers! Well, I shouldn’t have worried. Everyone was very nice and welcoming. I met so many great people from all walks of life.

So, anyway…. we all gathered at the Nintendo of America headquarters for a day of learning about the Nintendo 3DS. If you haven’t heard the news about this handheld gaming device, the big deal is that it’s in 3D and you do not need to wear those dorky glasses to see it! We started out in this large, very white room. If you’re wondering why all my photos are in this room, it’s because we were not allowed to take photographs anywhere else. I mean, they were serious about security. We had to be escorted everywhere, even to the bathroom!


The always cute Justine is my main contact with in the Nintendo program

The day started off with with people from Nintendo of America and Brand About Town, the company that coordinates the program, welcoming us and telling us what to expect.

Next the President and COO of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aime welcomed us and thanked us for our support. He told us more about Nintendo and about the Nintendo 3DS. He frankly addressed concerned that have been posed about 3D technology and childrens and took questions from the ambassadors. I’m sure Mr. Fils-Aime is a busy, busy man and it was nice that he took the time out of his schedule to meet with us.

Next we were broken up into groups. I was on Team Luigi. Each group was on a circuit for the day. My group’s first thing was to take a tour of the Nintendo of America headquarters, which are brand new, gorgeous and very green. They’re LEED certified, the floors are made of bamboo, the duct work and wiring is all in the floors, and they have the biggest living roof in the state of Washington. The walls are painted bright, primary, Nintendo-y colors and conference rooms are named after Nintendo characters and locations in games (Toad, Moo Moo Meadows). Throughout the lobby and other seating areas they had cushioned benches shaped like the plus-sign D-pads. Along one wall they had a bunch of-old school arcade games. Another wall had a time-line history of characters like Donkey Kong. We weren’t allowed inside this area and were told it’s where they train new employees. We also visited an area that displayed their licensed products. As we walked around we passed zen-like gardens and large bonsai trees. In their awards case, the highlight was an Emmy they won, just because all of the video gaming awards are expected.. but an Emmy? I thought there might be a mention of how they own the Seattle Mariners but there wasn’t. On this little field trip we also got to visit the Nintendo store, where each person got a $20 gift certificate to use and employee discounts on select items.

Back in the white room we started playing different games on the Nintendo 3DS system and did not stop til the end of the day! We broke up once for lunch in Cafe Mario and that’s it. Our first game was PilotWings Resort. This was one of my favorite games and really utilized the 3D effects. It puts you in the pilot seat (of an airplane, a hang glider, a rocketbelt) and has you accomplish tasks. The 3D makes it feel like you’re really flying!

Our next game was Kid Icarus: Uprising. This game wasn’t my favorite, but there was much excitement about it. First of all, every Nintendo 3DS gaming console with this game on it was tethered so it couldn’t be stolen. The reason? Kid Icarus isn’t available yet and is a highly anticipated release.

Nintendogs and Cats was pretty much the same as I remember Nintendogs being on the previous DS releases.. except you get a bonus cat with the game now. I always find this game to be so adorable, but question how much I’d really play it. I had fun walking my French Bulldog, Sophie, and feeding and washing her.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Super Street Fighter. Breaking all stereotypes, the ladies on Team Luigi really got into this game! Dallas has this game at home for the PS3 and I’ve never felt the need to play it, but here on the 3DS I really got into it! Of course, most the time I was just pressing a mish-mash of buttons and hoping I won! haha

Also, I didn’t really think I was “in to” car racing games, but I really liked Asphalt 3D. I was talking to a couple Nintendo employees and they told me that they liked Ridge Racer 3D even more. I ended up buying Ridge Racer when I got back to Chicago.

One other game I really enjoyed was Steel Diver. I have no photos of this game because it was in another room and I wasn’t sure if we were allowed. This game makes you feel like you are in a submarine and you have to physically spin around and shoot ships down before they shoot you. I almost bought this game. It was so fun… but not one you can really sit on the couch and play. You need space!

Aside from all the awesome game play, we also learned about Miis on the Nintendo 3DS. It’s much the same as making Miis on the Wii, except if you want, you can have the 3DS take a photo of you and then do it’s own magic making your likeness. One other difference is that you can now save your Mii to a QR code and display it anywhere. Others can then photograph the QR code and import your Mii. You can also save your Mii to an SD card.

Another new feature is called Street Pass, which allows you to exchange Mii characters and play games with them. The Nintendo 3DS now has a Mii Plaza, kind of how the Wii does. What’s cool now is that when the wireless is activated on the device, all you have to do is walk past anyone else with it activated and their Mii will show up in your plaza. Pretty cool! I already have 30+ Miis just from walking around our hotel and the Seattle airport!

We also learned about the augmented reality games on the Nintendo 3DS. I loved these. They’re kind of rudimentary now, but I think they have huge potential. You put a special card down on any surface and point your Nintendo 3DS at it. It creates a game in the real world. One of the games makes Nintendo characters spring up from the table. When you look a the table through the 3DS they’re there and when you look at the table, they’re not. So cool. You can even interact with them up to a point. See my face and hand above with Link!

There’s also a game called Face Raiders. The first thing you do when this game loads up is take a photo of someone’s (or your) face. Then these faces bounce around your real world, where ever you’re pointing the camera, and you have to shoot the faces. I’ve only played this game by myself, but I hear that if you are somewhere crowded and people walk by in the background, the game takes photos of them and adds them to the faces that you have to shoot! Can’t wait to play this at the train station!

At the end of the day we all had our Oprah moment! A Nintendo 3DS for you! And you! And you! We each got a shiny new Nintendo 3DS to take home! Such a fun and exciting day all round. I’m so thankful to have been a part of it! Can’t wait to take my 3DS to work and show it off!

Finally, we had to leave and head back to our hotel. Is that rain? Or tears that this day had to come to an end?

Update #1: Here are the official photos from the trip.

Update #2: I’ve been trying to keep track of stories and photos that other ambassadors have shared:

Disclosure: It might be needless to say, but Nintendo provided the airfare, accommodations, meals, Nintendo World gift certificate, and Nintendo 3DS on this trip. I was not paid, or even asked, to write this post.

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Rachael Ray’s Five-Minute Fudge Wreaths

January 2nd, 2007 · 8 Comments

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It pains me to admit this because Rachael Ray is one of my least favorite “celebrity” chefs EVER , but I made her five-minute fudge wreaths for Christmas. They are good, but very rich. Small slices. The wreath on the right has currants and nuts in it, the one on the left doesn’t.. only because I forgot to stir them in before it started setting up.

I also made pasta crab salad and banana bread on the same day as the wreaths.

Five-Minute Fudge Wreaths

This super-simple recipe will be a hit at your holiday party! Try all three varieties: the Chunky Chocolate Fudge Wreath with Walnuts and Currants, the White Chocolate Wreath with Pistachio and Cranberry or the Goober and Raisinette Wreath! (Makes 2 pounds.)

Ingredients
12 ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk (save the can)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounce can walnuts, plus more for topping
1/2 cup raisins or dried currants (a couple of handfuls)
candied red and green cherries to decorate top (like holly)
softened butter to grease an 8 inch round cake pan

Directions

1. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan with softened butter. Pour the chocolate and butterscotch chips, condensed milk and vanilla into a medium saucepan. Put the pan on the stove and turn the heat to low.

2. Cover the empty condensed milk can with plastic wrap and put it in the center of the round cake pan.

3. Stir the chips and milk until they melt together, about 3 minutes. Stir in nuts and raisins. Scoop the fudge into the cake pan all around the plastic-covered can in the center to form a wreath or ring shape. Let it be all bumpy on top. Keep pushing the can back to the center if the fudge moves it away from there. Cut the red cherries in half with scissors and the green cherries into quarters. Use the green pieces to make leaves and the red to make holly berries. Decorate the fudge with several groups of holly berry sprigs made from the cherries and garnish with walnuts between the sprigs.

4. Put the fudge in the fridge and chill until firm. Remove the can from the center, then loosen the sides and bottom of the fudge with a spatula. Cut the fudge into thin slices to serve.

To give the wreath as a gift-wrap in cellophane and secure with a bow or ornament.

Variations

White Chocolate Wreath with Pistachio and Cranberry

1. Substitute the chocolate chips with white chocolate chips, 1 1/2 ounce bag plus 1 cup.
2. Substitute 1 to 1 1/2 cups of shelled natural pistachio nuts for walnuts.
3. Substitute 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries for currants.

Goober and Raisinette Wreath

1. Swap butterscotch for peanut butter chips
2. Swap large whole peanuts for walnuts used in original recipe (such as peeled Virginia Peanuts)
3. Swap 1/2 cup large raisins for currants in original recipe

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Dude, My Next Gig’s at Potbelly

December 31st, 2005 · 8 Comments

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Potbelly Sandwich Works, Wicker Park, Chicago

I’ve been to the Potbelly on Michigan Ave. and on State St. about 1,000 times each, but I’d never been to the one in my neighborhood that opened on Damen Ave. Why would I ever want to go there, since there are so many other sandwich shops to choose from and I always went to the Potbelly downtown on my lunch break? But now, since I’ve been spending so much time at home, I decided to check out the store on Damen for a cheap lunch.

The interior is pretty much the same kind of feel as the one on State. The one on Michigan is in the Nordstrom mall’s food court so they can’t really control the feel as much. The biggest difference with the store on Damen is that they had a guy sitting up in a little balcony playing music live. He was pretty good, it could have been worse. I kept thinking he should play some Jack Johnson, that he’d be good at it, but he didn’t. I thought it was kind of odd that he didn’t have a sign or anything saying his name, and since he was 8 feet up in the air there was no way for you to tip him or talk to him. I wondered if this individual restaurant made a deal with the him or if Potbelly, as a franchise, supports local musicians this way.

On a side note, this is how you know you’re spending too much time at home: Oprah becomes a part of your daily routine. And not only that, but when Kanye West, whose latest album you love, is on the show and sings “Hey Mama,” a song that you were obsessed with and played 1,000 times in a row on repeat, to his mother.. right to her face.. and makes her dance with him. .. it makes you cry! Step away from the Oprah, Rachelle.

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