Saying Goodbye to 2013

Good-bye-bye-2013To say that 2013 wasn’t a tough year for me is an understatement. From being let go from a company I worked for over 12 years at the beginning of the new year to losing my mom in the last part of the year. Though it wasn’t a totally bad year, there were some great moments.

I won free tickets to go see Lady Gaga in concert thanks to Samsung and a simple tweet.

I got to celebrate my birthday this year in Puerto Vallarta and my oldest sister came by for the visit. It was one of the most relaxing and wonderful birthdays I’ve had in a long time. I got to visit different places in and around Puerto Vallarta including Sayulita Mexico.

I got to go to the Canadian launch of the new Rolls-Royce Wraith in Vancouver, which resulted in a later trip to Phoenix Arizona for the North American launch and test drive of the amazing car.

I enrolled back into school taking a social media marketing course as well as Photoshop and Illustrator.

I landed a great position with Stockhouse Publishing as an account manager creating digital strategies for publically traded companies. I’m treated amazingly there and it’s great to work for a company that values their employees feedback and is fully transparent in all aspects of their business.

Throw in there amazing friends and family, this year is ending up on a strong note.

What holds for 2014? I will continue focusing on myself this year, both personally and professionally. I want to continue with further courses and of course I want to travel more.

Best wishes to all as we close 2013 and welcome 2014!

New Christmas Ad by Apple

I posted this earlier on my Facebook profile, but I thought I would talk about it here as well.

Yesterday, while watching television, I was captivated by this small ad. At first I didn’t know who it was for, but the story grabbed me. A teenage boy, looking semi lost and deep into his phone, while life around him was playing out during Christmas. There were some similarity with that boy and I was captivated by the rest of the commercial.

While the rest of the family thinks he isn’t paying attention to them, little do they know as he surprises them all on Christmas day.

I’ll be perfectly honest, I’m a sucker for these types of commercials – remember the Tim Horton Christmas ads? But this year with the death of my mother, a part of me wanted to be home for the holidays and relive those fond memories of our family gathering on Christmas Eve and being together. Alas this year our family is spread out across the world.

Though I’ve always realized this, but somehow forgotten, we all grow and move in different directions and this time of year is a celebration of family. Even though I can’t be there with my family to celebrate, they forever will be deep in my heart.

Merry Christmas and thank you Apple for making me feel so loved!

Slowly Coming Back Up

So my blog has had a little hick-up lately.

You see my little blog was hacked and I had the hardest time trying to get those ugly files out of my blog. Every time I deleted the mischievous files, they would come back up in a couple of days. I decided it was time to reinstall WordPress from scratch.

Sadly I’ve lost a few images along the way and I’m slowly adding the plug-ins I loved to use on a regular basis. This will take some time and I’m confident that I’ll have my blog up to the standard I had before this all happened. This will also give me the chance to do some upgrades along the way.

To make matters worse, the server I’m on has been experiencing high volumes of traffic. It makes it harder for me to perform my upgrades as the server takes time to respond and I have had it fail on me several times in the process. Since I don’t own the server outright and share it with others, it’s hard to determine which blog is affecting the server. Dreamhost has assured me that they are looking into it, but I hope it won’t take them too long to figure out what is causing this.

So I thank you for you patience as I get my blog up and running. I’m not a technical genius as some of my friends and Twitter pals are, so it will take me some time.

Thank you for sticking around!

Where Has Time Gone?

It’s hard to believe the summer is almost at an end. Where has time gone?

I’ve been so busy these past few months that I’ve had little time to post on here, let alone use Twitter or Facebook as I used to use them. I might not have been posting, but I have been listening in and reading to what my peeps have been up to. Yeah call me a stalker :).

I’ve spent most of the summer busy taking a couple of courses. Yup I was back at school, learning old and new things.

Since I’ve been away from the social media scene, due to a new career move, I thought I needed to get back into it and so I decided it was best to take a social media marketing course offered at UBC Robson. The course itself was strictly online, and though I’m used to taking courses in a class environment and wasn’t sure how it would work, the course proved to be interesting enough to keep my interest.

During the class we learned step by step how to create a marketing strategy for an organization. I took on the challenge of creating one for a restaurant, though they didn’t know I was doing it. I understood most of what was required, but it was nice to have the step by step process laid out and it made more sense at the end of the day. I’m proud to say that at the end of the course I got a 89%. It wasn’t the 95% I was hoping at the beginning as I didn’t do well on one assignment, but that is how we learn, and we move forward.

Sadly the next available course isn’t being offered until the fall. So I decided to take on another course I’ve always wanted to take – I took an Adobe Photoshop course also at UBC Robson. I felt I was losing some of my creative side. I felt I needed something to challenge me more and since I’ve always loved photography it was the perfect fit.

Now this course was offered in class and we got to work on Macs – Yippie!! I got to learn so much and had so much fun learning along the way. You can see some of projects below to see how I improved during the short 5 weeks.

Welcome to Gustavo

Mystic Elephant

And this was my final project. I’ve yet to get graded on it, but I’m happy with the results.

Asia_Scene_Project_Final

I had so much fun that I decided to take on the next Photoshop level and add Adobe Illustrator to the mix. So starting September 30th until November 30th, I’ll be a busy boy. I’ll be growing my creative side and who knows where this might lead!

I haven’t had the chance to travel as much I would have liked and work has been really busy lately. I’m hoping I’ll be able to change that soon.

So hopefully I won’t take this long to write my next blog 🙂

Hitting the Books

I’ve been wanting to do this for sometime.

I knew I needed to get some new courses under my belt and I knew I wanted to improve on some my current skills both in the social media space and in the creative space. So I’ve gone ahead and done it. I’m now a registered student at UBC Robson Square in the Continuing Education program.

What am I taking? Well at first I signed up for their Adobe Photoshop Level 1 course. I knew that I needed to improve my skills at manipulating photographs that I’ve taken and also use them at creating dynamic content for my blog. Yes it all first started off when I was going through my blog and new that I wanted to improve it and make it more visual. I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to complete their Level 2 program sometime in the fall and add it to my resume and skill set.

I noticed that when I was looking for work, many had Photoshop as a “nice have” skill. And I truly believe it is nice to have.

But I didn’t stop there, no I also decided to sign up for their Social Media Strategy and Marketing course. Yeah some of you might say that I already know my stuff and that I don’t need to take it, but I want to have this on my resume as a course and a course from a reputable institution. Now this course is all online, and I’m a little apprehensive of taking it as I normally don’t do well in these types of courses. I do much better in a classroom setting and with others around as we all learn from each other.

Since the summer is just about to start I thought it would be a perfect time to actually go back to school. I’m scared and excited at the same time. So you might not see much of me online, or you might start seeing more as I reach out to you all during this time.

Wish me luck as I begin my new journey and chapter in life starting next week!!!!