My OXO Demos Are In!

There was a box that arrived for me the other day, and in it I found an OXO Anniversary Edition Upflit Tea Kettle (which is gorgeous, it’s displayed on my bookshelf instead of being used on my stove)…and in the same box was a DVD of all of the final demo videos that were filmed

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by the OXO video contest winners as part of the grand prize. The videos will be showcased on their new site (not live yet), but they were nice enough to send the videos over

for a sneak peek! First of all, I have to say that Jon and Yvette did an amazing job in their videos! I did okaaay – being in front of the camera isn’t my forte – but I had fun doing it, which is what really matters. It was a great experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. Behind the scenes » see the rest of the OXO story » Continue Reading →

Chinatown, New York

Happy Chinese New Year! Since I was stranded in New York for a few extra days due to the snowstorm, I was hoping that I would be able to get a glimpse of the Chinese New Year celebration in Chinatown. Unfortunately, it turned out that I missed the event, but New York’s Chinatown was so much fun anyway because it actually felt like I was in China! Unlike most Chinatowns, it wasn’t cute and kitschy, instead, this one actually felt a place people worked and played in.

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Nine Years After 9/11

Nine years passed, but I remember September 11, 2001 as if it was yesterday. I was a sophomore in high school, and that particular morning, the radio alarm on my stereo woke me up to a reporter announcing that a hijacked plane flew into the World Trade Center. Huh? Hijacked plane? Twin towers? Fire? I thought surely

this was a joke, and almost brushed it aside until I realized – that’s strange – I never set my radio

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alarm to go off that morning, nor do I even use it at all. The world was trying to tell me something. So instead of finding some way to shut off the obnoxious alarm to get five more precious minutes of sleep, I sat straight up in bed, and listened.

I remember how surreal the rest of the day felt. Even though the attack happened thousands of miles away, it felt as if I lost someone I personally knew. Looking back, I realized that I went through a mild form of the grieving process during the next few months – the denial, the anger, the sadness, but I never got through the acceptance part. I remember scouring the news for stories, photos, anything – to help me understand what happened, and to fill a void that for some reason, I just couldn’t shake off.

Years later, I heard from others who visited Ground Zero that it wasn’t much to see, so I took their word for it and never got around to seeing it in person. But towards the end of our stay in New York, I finally gave into that tugging feeling inside of me that told me to just do it. I wanted to at least try to understand what happened, and to know that it wasn’t just a nightmare. (Image: New York Times)

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World Trade Center Tour »

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Central Park in Winter

Sights, sounds, smells – there’s so much I wanted to capture about New York, but it’s nothing like experiencing it first hand. What can I say, the city just feels so alive. It’s surprisingly quieter than I thought it would be; I was expecting more honking (like in the movies), more people talking on cell phones…but it’s almost quieter than it is back home. It’s too bad I couldn’t capture the way the city smelled – the air was cold and crisp, but once in a while you would get a whiff of something delicious cooking up in a food cart. It made a cold day in a big city feel so cozy and warm.

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Toys & Antiques

Everyone seems to go to New York for shopping, but honestly, I’m not that big on it (well, except online shopping). We did make an exception though, to check out an antiques show and ginormous toy store.

But forget shopping, what we ended up doing most of the time here was eat. We ate until we couldn’t eat anymore. Then we would impatiently wait for our food to digest so we could continue our quest for food. To me, New York is not a place for shopping – it’s place for eating.

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Snowed In

Growing up in California, I never saw much snow , and even though I have the opportunity to drive 4 hours to Tahoe to see it every winter, I avoid it at all costs. To be honest, I’m chicken when it comes to cold weather. (Hot, humid and tropical? Count me in.)

But it’s different in a big city. This isn’t Tahoe, where I’ve ended up after being badgered by friends to go, only to find myself shivering in the cold while I watch others ski. It’s eerie to see New York so empty when it snows, but it’s peaceful at the same time. A blizzard is strangely beautiful in NYC, and it makes being inside all the cozier.

What I didn’t expect was the city to completely shut down. I’ve always thought of snow as an extreme version of rain, but it’s much more than that. Apparently, when it snows, no one goes out. Offices and stores close early, and kids cheer when they find school is canceled for the day. We went out for lunch during a blizzard (“Oh, so that’s what a blizzard is like.”) and that was not…the greatest experience.

And surprise, surprise, when it snows, the airports shut down too! For the whole day! We expected our flight to be delayed – but it turned out our flight was canceled. Luckily, we had OXO helping us out again, and they not only booked a flight for us on Sunday, but they booked 4 more days of stay at the Ace Hotel. I don’t even know how to begin to thank them. They’ve been incredible this entire trip, and they went out of their way to make sure we get back home safe. A big thanks to Bena and Emilia at OXO for making sure everything is ok on our trip. OXO truly has compassionate, caring people working there.

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Filming for OXO

OXO does things a little differently than other companies. Their products aren’t made to sit on a shelf and look pretty – their products get everyday tasks done in the easiest and best way possible. And above all, they’re meant for any kind of user, regardless of how much experience they have in the kitchen. So, it made sense for them to have everyday people be the face of OXO, rather than paid actors.

And here I am, your average Joe, given

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the opportunity to film OXO demo videos. I don’t know a thing about acting, and I’ve never actually been in front of the camera (except for my own silly videos), but if anything, I love being in the kitchen, and I own more OXO tools than anyone else.

I’m guessing that paid actors would have to fake enthusiasm about the product, but the enthusiasm you

see in my videos are 100% real! I was happy to be there, excited to have such a great opportunity to do something I normally wouldn’t do, and the products I talked about are brilliant to begin with. (They sent me the Smooth Edge Can Opener before

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flying out and it’s friggin’ fantastic. Get one.)

OXO Filming

The scripts all start with “Hi, my name is Paula, and I will be showing you how to use the [insert product name].” I demonstrated the Smooth Edge Can Opener, Top Containers, and V-Blade Mandoline Slicer. Thanks to Mike for taking videos of me while I was being filmed.

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OXO Headquarters & Dinner at Morimoto

If I could do today all over again, I would. Today was a whirlwind of activity, and it was all so much fun. OXO went over the top with everything again, treating us to breakfast, lunch, and the most amazing dinner at Morimoto. On top of that, they gave us a tour of their building and a tutorial on one of the products I’ll be doing a demo on. We didn’t have a chance to go on a tour of Food Network Studios, since they weren’t filming that day (All the sets are temporary! Can you believe that?), so a few of us went out on our own adventure in NY.

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Arriving in NYC

Guess what?! I’m in New York right now. It was a hectic morning getting out the door, and a long 5 hour flight, but we made it! We arrived in NYC at 5pm, so we had just enough time to check out our hotel and get some dinner. We also received MORE STUFF from OXO. I know. Crazy. They’re spoiling us rotten.

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Gearing Up for the Big Apple

Can you believe I’m going to New York 7 HOURS?! It seems like just yesterday when we were both sitting on the couch, contemplating whether or not we should enter the OXO Video Contest.

Well, we did, and we won – big time. Not only did they send us a bunch of free OXO stuff, they’re flying us out to New York there on Virgin America (which I have yet to try), putting us up at the beautiful Ace Hotel in Manhattan, possibly taking us on a Food Network Studios tour, and taking us all out to eat at Morimoto Restaurant. Yes, that Morimoto! Only one of the greatest Iron Chefs of all time (!)

Believe it or not, after my prize of $1000 in OXO products, they sent me even more stuff. This time they sent the products I’ll be doing video demos for, so I can have a chance to get acquainted with them. They also sent me the scripts ahead of time, which was really, really great.

I probably should have practiced more, but with the and all the other oddball things I do outside of work, I didn’t have that much time to go over it. Well, it’s a five hour plane ride from here to NY, so that’s all I’ll probably do on the plane!

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