My Charity

I am currently building a charity with two friends, after one of our friends from volleyball died of cancer. This charity’s goal is to raise money for a number of causes by organizing events, mainly sporting events. This year, we will dedicate ourselves to cancer, but it will not be the case every year.

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For 2014, we have already planned 4 events:

-         April 26th: BMX contest in Walcourt, with a cocktail bar and a barbecue

-         May 24th: “Green Triathlon” in Olloy-sur-Viroin. Participants will be competing for 3 disciplines: kayak, VTT and running.

-          September 19th: Belgian Yellow Tigers – China. The Belgian feminine volleyball team (22th) will be playing against China (5th) in my volleyball club in Couvin!! So exciting! We are expecting at least 1000 people!

-         Augustus 15th: beach-volleyball tournament in Lac de l’Eau d’heure (Cerfontaine).

I really am excited for this association and I am convinced that we can do great things and raise a lot of money!

There will also be a website available soon www.fightforlife.com. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to sponsor us or just have more info about what we do, or even if you want to collaborate with us!

My American Story <3

Everyone who knows me also knows that I am the biggest fan of the United States. This country is actually part of me, and a big part. I probably got the virus from my dad, who has always had a fascination for this wonderful country. The first time my parents took me to the US, I was 6 years old and we went to Florida during Christmas. We went back there the year after, also to spend our family Christmas there, fully enjoying Orlando and Miami. It was about 25-30°, with a very humid atmosphere. I would definitely not recommend going there during summer, December was actually perfect! The only thing that I regret is that I forgot a lot about these vacations since I was so little. I mostly remember enjoying the dolphins at Sea World.

The third time we went to the US was in 2001, when I was 11. My parents took my brother and I to the west coast this time. We enjoyed the great cities of Los Angeles and San Diego during 3 weeks in July. This is when I fell in love with California (but who would not?). This is also when I decided I wanted to go a year abroad in the US after I graduated High School, which I did. I remember this day like yesterday… I was a senior in High School and I came into my parent’s room saying: “guys, I want to live in the US next year as a foreign exchange student”. I remember seeing their surprised face and saying: “well, ok, we’ll start looking for some information”. From the moment I had the idea stuck in my head, I could not stop thinking about it.

So I started to write tons of information about me and fill tons of papers in, for my VISA, for the American government and for my sponsor. Until one day, I got an email from my sponsor about my host family, located in Millbrook, Illinois, about an hour away from Chicago, in the countryside. A family of four kids, who have animals including horses, and the younger girl who plays volleyball. I remember being so excited! This was everything I could have dreamed of! I had so much in common with them. They were all awesome! I still keep in touch with them a lot and try to come see them every year or 2 years. I actually am going back in Chicago on May 25th for 6 weeks. I’ll be going to my host sister’s (who just had a baby 48 hours ago, CONGRATS RACHEL!!!) wedding on June 14th! So exciting! I really enjoy the way this family lives their life, not planning a thing ahead, living with the flow, enjoying every moments, like a day out with the horses and the dogs.

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This experience changed me. I became someone else, in a good way. I have learned a lot and I would recommend anybody to live this experience as a foreign exchange student. I have met wonderful people, who are friends for life, I have discover a new culture, living in an American high school and family and I can say I love this American way of living.

That’s why I also decided in 2012 to discover a new part of this culture: the working part. I sent hundreds of spontaneous applications to find an internship in the US, got a few responses, and decided to intern for Lucid Fusion, a Californian company located in Irvine. This was also an incredible experience! I definitely wish I could stay in the US forever and work there. It’s a shame that it is so complicated with the paperwork… Lucid Fusion gave me an insight on how Americans work, but also how a whole agency works, everybody doing their own things but still managing to achieve success together as a team. I will never thank Kelly (my internship supervisor) enough for giving me this opportunity. It was absolutely great and I also had the chance to meet wonderful people, like my roommate, a German girl from Dresden.

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Anyway, this is pretty much my American story, or at least how I developed such a passion for this country. I can’t wait to see my host family in May and enjoying wonderful times with them, just like old times, going horse riding, playing with the dogs, partying, enjoying Chicago, shopping, sun bathing and going swimming.

If I can give an advice to anybody who hasn’t been to the US, just do it. As I always say, you’ll love it or hate it, because I don’t really think there is a “middle-point”. You’ll fal in love with their culture or hate it and find it way too superficial… As far as I’m concerned, I’m convinced and I’ll definitely go back there, again and again and again ;) ENJOY!

#EHSALDMC, Thank You and Bye Bye

In 2 weeks, the final exams will be there… In a little over a month, it will be the end of the program… Waouw that was fast! But you know what we say, time flies when you having fun! Right? Ok I’m exaggerating, it wasn’t ALWAYS fun :p

What can I say about this year? What have I learned?

First of all, I’d like to thank Hugo Couck for enabling me to come to this school. He called me before the school year started to see how my Dutch speaking abilities were and he eventually judged it was good enough. So thank you. Now my Dutch is waaayyyyy better, I can assure you. I have learned a lot and the #EHSALDMC students were absolutely amazing and always ready to help me.

Second, I’d like to thank the HUB school for this program. I know a lot of my friends from my previous school are still looking for a job after almost a year because they are not specialized enough. I truly believe that this program will help me get a job, and not too long from now. When I look at job offers, I actually notice that companies are looking for digital people. #EHSALDMC understood the market and went ahead of it by offering this program, taught by all kinds of professionals (there are no “real” teachers). This brings a real value to their students.

Third, I’d like to thank the teachers for the projects they assigned us to and the time they spent coaching us to get to final and well tied-up projects. Some of them were pretty intense and long and I have to say, I’m happy that they are over! But they gave us an insight on how it actually works in a company, developing everything, from a briefing to the end.

Finally, I’d like to thank my fellow students for their friendliness, their motivation, their work and their help. I think I made some good friends in this school and I hope our relationship will last for a long time! During this year, I have discovered a whole new Belgian culture and I’m so grateful for that!

 

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This program interests me, I want to know more…

I’d recommend this program to anyone who is interested in marketing and new technologies. On the other hand, if you are not somebody who can’t think out of the box, work with a team, who is not motivated and who doesn’t want to learn, then don’t go to #EHSALDMC.

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What kind of class do they teach?

  • e-mail marketing
  • search engine optimization
  • virale marketing
  • Google Analytics
  • mobile marketing
  • sociale media
  • webvertising
  • virtual community
  • e-commerce
  • word-of-mouth communication

If you want more information over the program, just click on this link

If you want to know more about the teachers (or professional experts), go to this link

 

What are the projects students work on?

  •  Integrated online/offline communication plan
  • Online Research
  • Social Media Audit & Strategy
  • E-mail Campaign
  • Mobile Marketing
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization

More info on this link

Whether you want to become an E-commerce Manager, a Digital Marketing Manager, a Conversation Manager, a Multimedia/interactive Manager, a Web Marketing Specialist, an Online Marketing Manager, a Product- en marketing manager internet, an E-Marketeer, an SEO Expert or an Internet Marketing Consultant, this program is waiting for you!

Ok , I think I’m about done… So, THANK YOU #EHSALDMC AND BYE BYE… Now, time to partyyy for the end of the school year! Can’t believe I’m done with studying and ready (hopefully) for the job market! Cya!

Cupcake lover? Lilicup is waiting for you!

Want to enjoy succulent and outstandingly, stunningly tasty cupcakes? I have the right address for you! Lilicup! This cute little store is located next to the Chatelain square, a very cute area in Brussels, not far at all from the Louise Avenue.

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Okay, I have to admit the price is not really cheap but let me tell you, it is 100% worth it! On average, a cupcake costs 4€ on the go and they ask 0,50€ more if you want to enjoy it there. They have various choices of delicious cupcakes, from fruity to chocolaty to more creative tastes. Some of them are original, like the Columbo peanut butter cake with jam on the inside (this was my favorite, probably because it reminded me of America with their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches).

I decided to go for four different cupcakes:

-       Gypsie: almond milk and wild strawberry cake, almond milk frosting, meringue and grilled almonds

-       Stella: lemon and almond cake, raspberry heart

-       Red Velvet: cacao cake, vanilla frosting

-       Columbo: peanut butter cake stuffed with red fruit jam, peanut butter frosting

Absolutely delicious!

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You can keep them up to 3 or 4 days after the purchase and enjoy eating them at home. If you want to host a party or a reception, it is also possible to order them, as they do sort of a catering business.

These cupcakes are worthy of a real American cupcake store, handmade with love and passion. Enjoy them, without moderation!

Adress: Rue du Page, 65 – 1050 Bruxelles

Tel: +32 (0)2 538 02 68

Website: http://www.lilicup.com/index.html

Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 to 18:30

Discover their cupcakes alse at:

CAFE DE LA PRESSE

Avenue Louise 493 | 1050 Bruxelles | Tél +32 (0)2 644 48 03

COFFEE COMPANY

Rue du Midi 45 | 1000 Bruxelles | Tél +32 (0)2 511 35 45

A fondue with friends, what else?

Sundays are boring! Soooo boring… And as it wasn’t enough, it usually rains… But when you decide to go eat a good meal with friends, it changes everything and sparkles the day!

I live in Couvin, in the Namur province, and to be honest, there are not that many things to do (but we still always manage to find something!), nor that many restaurants but there for sure is a really good one: L’Absolu! Half lounge bar, half restaurant, they offer a great atmosphere with music that just makes you feel good. This is how a simple drink with friends in the bar turned into a super good fondue dinner.

Located in a pedestrian area in the old part of the town, next to the church, this restaurant/lounge bar can be defined by a really chic interior. Bricks, naked wood, wooden floor, soft lights, leather chairs, uncluttered décor, high tables, lounge room, restaurant on the first floor,… All ingredients to spend a nice evening (or night?).

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One Sunday every month, it is also possible to enjoy activities and concerts.

Let’s take a peak at how L’Absolu looks from the inside:

Anyway, back to my “Fondue Bourguignonne”. Being taken up in this great atmosphere, we decided to spend a nice evening and to eat a fondue, and moreover unlimited (strongly not recommended if you are on a diet!). It was absolutely delicious, with fresh meat and vegetables.

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As of course, when you eat unlimited, there is always leftovers, which in my case, made my cats super happy!! So a night not to forget, enjoying the company of my friends and the deliciousness of the food… See you soon @L’Absolu!

I wanna go? Where is it?

Address: Rue du Pilori, 2 – 5660 Couvin

Tel: 060/39.00.49 or 060/37.85.28

Website: http://www.absolucouvin.be/

Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, from 11AM to…

Super Bowl XL VIII: My Top 10 Commercials

Last Sunday, it was the Super Bowl XL VIII in the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, outside of New York. But you already know that. You probably also know that the Seattle Seahawks crushed Denver Broncos 43 to 8. 82,586 football fans watched the game from within the Stadium but in a parallel universe, more than 100 million football fans watched Super Bowl 2014 for 3,5 hours on Fox broadcast television network. These same people watched and shared their favorite 2014 Super Bowl commercials, because yes, advertising and the mid-game show are the biggest attractions in addition to the game. They could and still can vote on the Youtube Ad Blitz channel from January 16th till February 14th for their best ads. This 30-day-long event takes place over three period: the pre-game, Big game and post-game voting. “Based on YouTube’s data for 2013, football fans watched Super Bowl ads more than 265 million times for over 3.2 million hours, which is the equivalent of watching 914,285 Big Game broadcasts! And based on YouTube’s pre-game data for 2014, it looks like the online views of this year’s Super Bowl commercials are running about 2.2 times above last year” (JARBOE, February 3rd 2014).

Is advertising during the Super Bowl worth it? There is no right answer to this question. Of course, it is super expensive (Fox charges around $4 million for 30 seconds of air time) but the coverage is the best that a brand can dream of and it is proven that Internet traffic starts picking up for advertisers prior to Super Bowl Sunday. Traffic is typically up 15 percent during the day of the game. It peaks 20 percent above normal during the actual event from more mobile traffic. Traffic also stays higher than average for a few weeks after as the lingering impact of the advertising continues. For brand image, it for sure makes an impression!

This year, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Kingsley, Stephen Colbert, David Beckham and many more made an appearance in the Super Bowl XL VIII ads. Of course, we could see various car brands, as usual during the Super Bowl, such as Chrysler, Audi, Toyota, Volkswagen, Hundai, Jeep, and even Maserati.

Let’s talk about these commercials, the most exciting part of the Super Bowl as far as I’m concerned! Here is my top 10:

#1: Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” commercial with the hashtag #bestbuds

Views : 44.079.703

I personally think that Budweiser did an amazing job for these Super Bowl commercials. The puppy commercial was super adorable and touching. I absolutely love it, huge fan, probably because I am also a huge animal lover! It is not super original I know, but I can I do, my heart was completely conquered by this commercial!

Budweiser was the pre-Super Bowl champion in ratings, really crushing on all fronts: views, shares, tweets, likes, plus-ones and collective aaawwwws.”.

I also really liked their “A Hero’s Welcome” commercial with their hashtag #SaluteaHero. Very emotional ad!

Views: 8.531.412

This last example is not a commercial but I found the idea super original. Budweiser managed to produce this super entertaining spot “whatever happens”.

Views: 13.698.505

#2 : Maserati ad for the new Ghibli – “We have prepared. Now we strike”. Really beautiful footage and I really enjoyed the narration.

Views: 58.426

#3: Axe “Make Love Not War” – #KissForPeace. This is one of my favorite ads for its message is so powerful! Beautiful life lesson.

Views: 6.307.149

#4: Hundai Genesis: Dad’s Sixth Sense. How can you not smile when you watch this commercial? Dads really have a sixth sense!

Views: 4.888.051

#5: Microsoft technology “Empowering”. It is true that we don’t always notice everything that technology does for us. I really enjoyed watching this commercial!

Views: 2.817.186

#6: Oikos “The Spill”. This was my favorite commercial with a funny tone.

Views: 6.341.126

#7: Volkswagen “Wings”. This is also a very funny commercial.

Views: 16.688.281

#8: Chevy fighting cancer with “Life” commercial – #PurpleYourProfile. Words are not always necessary, like in this commercial.

Views: 1.643.664

#9: Heinz “If Your Are Happy” – #ifyourehappy

Views: 13.343

#10: Finally, this is not really a commercial itself but I liked Pepsi’s “Half Time Sounds Check”. Pepsi was sponsoring this year’s halftime show. Here is the half time intro spot:

Views: 2.009.728

Chaumont-Cannes Ligue A French Championship: what a game!

Hello! I am back with an article over volleyball (again, I know!)!

Last Saturday, I drove 320 kilometers to France with my friend to see an awesome game and two great teams: Chaumont and Cannes.

Chaumont Volleyball:

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© LNV

AS Cannes Volleyball:

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© LNV

This game was a part of the 17th day of the French championship. Chaumont, who was playing at home, won the game 3-0 (25-22; 25-23; 25-18). I was a little disappointed since I was supporting AS Cannes, one of the greatest team of the French Championship. Pierre Pujol, setter of Cannes and team captain, definitely is one of the best and most impressive players that I have ever seen. The way the ball touches his hands is absolutely amazing and his game vision is also stunning. Here is an interview of him sharing his thoughts about his team and the competition (in French):

The game was really impressive, even though there were very few rallies. It was more about who hit the hardest. The power the players put in their hits was really impressive. Number 9 middle blocker from Cannes, Dmytro Pashytskyy, 2m05, really impressed me, as well as Chaumont’s number 14 Nathan Wounembaina, 1m98 who was according to me their best asset.

Even though Cannes has more individual talents than Chaumont, the team showed a little bit of instability, whether talking about the service (there were a lot of missed serves, especially during the first set) but also their defenses and the blocks (sometimes, the block was not positioned for the most optimal efficiency in between the setter and middle blocker). These mistakes are according to me why they couldn’t make the difference in this game. But let’s not forget that the team has hired a new coach, Igor Kolakovic, who has been training Cannes since mid-November, but they also integrated Milan Rasic (number 4) on January 6th, and the Brazilian player Wanderson Campos (number 19) who joined the team on January 21th. After only two weeks with this team, he had to replace Ludovic Castard (number 8) due to an ankle injury in the second set. This didn’t play in favor of the team mental spirit and Campos could not bring the team up and made lots of blocking mistakes and out hits. Furthermore, André Lopes (number 2), one of Cannes’ best outside hitter, played against his former team who could then read his game more easily. Pujol disagreed with the referee in the second set, which cost him a yellow card.

The game was close but the cohesion of Chaumont and the various mistakes made by Cannes led to the 3-0 game score. The Chaumontois’ club also transcended with a very impressive atmosphere. They screamed, yelled, sang, etc during the whole game and with a great passion and with respect for the other team.

Cannes is now occupying the 9th position on the national rankings with 22 points and Chaumont the 6th place with 26 points.

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These two teams have really great potential and I recommend everyone to go see them!

The Dauphines de Charleroi’s win against Blaasveld takes them to the playoffs

On Wednesday 29th, people from my volleyball club and I went to see one of the Dauphines de Charleroi’s game in Monceau-sur-Sambre, Ballens sport hall, against Blaasveld M Siks. The Dauphines assured their place on the playoffs by winning 3-0: 25-18; 25-15; 25-14

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It was not a very intense game and we were expecting this result as The Dauphines de Charleroi occupy the 2nd place on the League A ranking, and Blaasveld the last position.

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© scoresway

As a matter of fact, the girls of coach and trainer Steven Krokaert went up this year and joined the League A competition but they don’t seem to be able to make a difference and to hold their position on this championship. To my opinion, on the contrary to the Dauphines de Charleroi, they don’t possess one very outstanding player who is an important pillar and who you can count on to make the points.

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I usually rather like to go see the men’s team as it is so much more impressive due to the power they put in their hits, but I also really enjoyed the girls as it is much more strategically thought than just hitting very hard. I appreciated the number of basket hits and the various tactical placements. The Dauphine’s setter really impressed me, she was everywhere and her ball touch is very amazing. I personally became a big fan of number 14 on the Dauphines’ team, Martina Nosekova, who is according to me the best player of this team, with number 9 Kelly Oublié. The Dauphine’s team also possess great middle blockers, number 16 Hanne De Haes and number 18 Edina Dobi, who are very effective on the blocks.

I was a little surprised by the height of the girls who are not super tall like I expected, except maybe for number 18, one of the Dauphine’s middle blocker, who is 1m91 and comes from Hungary. The Dauphines’ team counts 5 belgians and Blaasveld’s entire team is Belgian, except for number 3 Vanessa Portela who is from Italy.

Anyway, it was a very enjoyable time with my volleyball club, a nice game to see. The only very big disappointment is the fact that nobody comes to see this great team. They really manage to play together and with each other super well, they really “find” each other on the court and are a really good team to come see play but the sport hall was not even ¼ full. It is a shame considering they play in the highest division in Belgium. I know volleyball is not a well-known sport but I find it very frustrating.

The Dauphines de Charleroi’s club was created in 1970 and reached the highest level at the end of season 88-89. Since then, the girls have known lots of success.

dauphines victoire coupe de belgique 2012

© Volleynews

Arnold Schwartzenegger goes undercover at the Gym

Arnold, the former governor of California, a.k.a the Terminator or Governator, recently pranked gym goers in Venice, California, in an effort to promote the After-School All Stars program, which provides kids with health and leadership education. Arnold went back to his training ground, as he was himself one of the Gold’s Gym‘s client back in the days when he came to America at the age of 21 and used to body build. The concept was simple: you could enter for a chance to meet him by donating 10$ or more.

In this video, you can see Arnold disguised as Howard, a comically awkward man wearing a very funky looking black mustache, and a baseball cap. He is playing the role of the manager of the place, giving insightful tips such as “Quit being a baby. This is Gold’s Gym, not a baby gym”. He also taps a man’s forehead with a towel.

The video has gotten a million views in the first day on Youtube and was a real success.

I was just a little disappointed at the end of the video because I guess I was expecting something more, an ending, a message, a new element or piece of the puzzle. This campaign promotion originally had the goal of promoting a program but this does not pass along the right message, according to me. It is a funny and enjoyable video but I am not sure that it really had the impact it should have had. Here, the video ends and that’s it. That’s why I  remain a little unsatisfied at the end of this video.

However, I believe it is a very good idea from the brand image and for Gold’s Gym brand recognition, as it is for a good cause furthermore.

Mother-daughter time at Lady Marmelade

Since I got back from my year abroad in Chicago, I have gotten closer to my sweet mom. She is so wonderful and I love her like nobody else. You can’t find everywhere such a dedicated mom like she is. My mom is my treasure and I will always love her…

Today, she had the wonderful idea to go eat lunch together. So we did! At Lady Marmelade in Couvin, a really cute and refined English-inspired style of restaurant and tea room. When you push the door, it’s like entering a cocoon of softness, warmth and intimacy. The interior and the tableware make you go back in time, in your grandparents’ days. In this little restaurant, you are allowed to dive into your dreams, whether you are a child or not.

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The cooking is 100% home-made, from the delicious cookies served with the tea to the bread. Lucille, the hostess, offers simple, original and seasonal dishes that are really more than affordable (7€ for a lunch meal). Lucille has originally followed a dietician education but decided to take her chance and realize her dream of owning a restaurant. She then carefully concocts recipes with vegetables from her garden and surprises you every day with new ideas: soups, quiches, pies, crêpes, crumbles, clafoutis, salads, pizzas, etc.

Another characteristic of Lucille’s restaurant is the Tea Room. She offers a huge choice of teas, in agreement with her English décor and ambiance.

For this lunch, I decided to begin with a fresh cabbage soup served with croutons, and then tried her succulent turnip and smoked salmon quiche, served with an aromatised salad and quinoa. It was absolutely delightful, and for such a great price!

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My mom ordered the endive tarte and found it absolutely amazing as well!

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As a conclusion, we can say that our taste buds went on a rollercoaster today, as everything was so tasty! I know I will definitely go back there!

Thank you, Lucille!

How do I get there?

Address: Rue de la gare 25 - 5660 Couvin

Tel: 0488/285154

E-mail: lady.marmelade.couvin@hotmail.com

Website: http://ladymarmeladecouvin.wix.com/lady-marmelade

Opening hours (restaurant): Fridays to Tuesdays, from 12 to 13:30.

Opening hours (tea room): Fridays to Sundays, from 14 to 18:00

Advice: as Lucille works by herself, don’t hesitate to book your table in advance to avoid inconveniences.