With astounding number of more than 17,000 islands (which 8000 are inhabited), and over 300 ethnic groups with its own languages spoken, Indonesia is definitely a country that offers myriad adventures.  It’s an archipelago country of so many cultures, diverse peoples, animals, customs, plants, sights, artworks and food. The people are very different from each other, with every island a unique blend of the people who live there. Venturing across Indonesia you’ll see dramatic diverse landscape, as diverse as the people who live there.  This ever-intriguing, ever-intoxicating archipelago country offers some of great adventures on earth. As an Indonesian myself, I barely even touched the surface of the beauty that Indonesia offers. Here are my top 3 vacation destinations in Indonesia that I recommended.

  1.  Gorontalo, North Sulawesi   Gorontalo is an Indonesian province on the island of Sulawesi.  The total area of the province is 12,435 square kilometers (4,801 sq mi) with a population of 1, 133, 237 (in 2016). Gorontalo Peninsula has had some type of human civilization since approximately 1300 years ago. Things to do there that I recommended are: 1. Whale Shark Watching and diving experience at Desa Botubarani, Kabupaten Bone Bolango

2.  Hungayono (Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park), Kabupaten Bone. Here you can see Tarsius (the smallest monkey in the world), Black Monkey (Macaca Nigra), Maleo bird conservatory, stalactite cave that has warm spring above it, and many more.

2. Yogyakarta, Central Java The city is named after the Indian city of Ayodhya from the Ramayan epic. Yogya means “suitable, fit, proper”, and karta, “prosperous, flourishing” (i.e., “a city that is fit to prosper”). Its population was 388,627 inhabitants at the 2010 census and its built-up (or metro) area.  Yogyakarta is a cultural hub, a nerve center for traditional and modern puppetry; and it’s known for its arts and handicrafts. Things to do there that I recommended are: 1. Cave tubing at Goa Pindul. Floating in a river inside a cave by rubber tubes definitely offers a different experience. Located at Gunung Kidul, this destination offers a 45-minutes exhilarating journey inside the earth’s belly by tubing. This adventure combines rafting and caving. Just like caving, cave tubing allows participants to float along a river on a rubber tube and the main highlight of the river journey will take you into a cave, which never dries even in the dry season. I did this cave tubing adventure in 2015. I had a great time there and I really recommended. 2. Borobudur Temple at Jalan Badrawati, Magelang. The entire site contains 504 statues, 1460 stone reliefs, and 1212 decorative reliefs. 3. Prambanan Temple at Bokoharjo, Sleman Regency. Prambanan is the biggest & the most complete remain of Java’s period of Hindu culture built in the middle of 9th century, about 50 years later than Borobudur. 3. Kota Gede. Kota Gede is a suburb of the city of  Yogyakarta. The town is a maze of narrow streets, lined with tiny, traditional silversmith shops. There are a number of workshops where visitors can stop by and watch silversmiths at work transforming a piece of silver into a beautiful artworks. 3. Derawan Islands, East Kalimantan The Derawan Islands is a group of islands that geographically located on the northern part of Berau Regency, this archipelago consisted of four main islands namely: Derawan Island, Maratua Island, Sangalaki Island, and Kakaban Island. Here you can find rare green sea turtles and hawksbill turtles, whales, dolphins, giant clambs, dugongs, are just a few. Here you can find around 460 species of corals, ranking second place after Raja Ampat in Papua.    

Whether we like it or not, social media plays a big part in everyone’s lives. Most people on the internet have social media accounts, and they use these accounts to interact not only with their friends, family, and colleagues, but also with businesses. These accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram serve as important touchpoint for businesses to interact with their old customers and gain new ones as well. It shows that these businesses have a strong voice online, so that they can make themselves known to their target market. Having a strong social media presence can drive web traffic and can help build brand loyalty. The Content Factory lists more reasons as to why social media marketing is important. Managing these accounts can be tough, which is why using a social media management tool is essential for a business to make handling all these easier, whether it is done within the company or externally. Social Media Icons Here are a few reasons as to why a company would want to use a social media management tool:
  1. You will be able to control all your channels on one platform, making it easier to see everything and to avoid the unnecessary back-and-forth between the individual sites.
  2. It will be easier to manage the businesses’ brand image. You will have the ability to create and schedule content across the different platforms.
  3. Many of these sites provide analytics, giving you insight as to what’s working and what’s not with your social strategy.
  4. It gives you an easier way to interact with your customers.
    • One popular way this is done is through replying to peoples’ comments. Many businesses have dedicated support channels on social media to talk to customers regarding their concerns.
Hootsuite, a Social Media Management Tool

Here are a number of different social media management sites one can use:

  1. Hootsuite (pictured above). It is used by over 10 million professionals. Often said that it is the best for its price and ease of use.
  2. Sprout Social. Popular with social media agencies because it can handle multiple accounts.
  3. IFTTT. Helps with automation, helps with linking content across channels.
Jeff Bullas, a digital entrepreneur, gives us more popular social media management tools available for people to use here.

As content creators, we all know the signs of writer’s block. The blank page. The blinking cursor. The long sighs and embarrassing levels of procrastination. (Who needs their closet cleaned?) Writer's Block Cartoon of Hare and Tortoise. Writer’s block is real and can be extremely frustrating. And unfortunately, the longer it goes on, the more anxiety it can cause. But there’s hope for even the most blocked writers out there: the good news is that this experience is extremely common—even for professional (and famous!) writers. And there are easy ways to empower yourself to overcome even the writer’s block. You don’t have to be in a content pit of despair forever—there are ways around this frustrating experience. Just write… anything. Sometimes content creators get writer’s block because their expectations of their writing prevent them from getting started. Instead of putting something down on paper, they get in their head and judge each word that appears. This puts your brain in editing mode instead of the creative space it needs to be in for creating something new. And it can be hard to allow yourself to express yourself when your brain is constantly reviewing your work before it even makes it to the page. To overcome this obstacle, you need to ignore your inner critic for awhile. Instead, focus on the quantity of your writing, not the quality. For example, write whatever comes into your head—even if it makes you cringe. Don’t go back and rewrite, delete or polish. Another version of this is to simply write the way you would if you were talking to someone. You can even record yourself saying what you’d like to write. This helps you get into the content creation zone instead of the refinement zone. And once you have let yourself create, you can regroup and start the editing process to perfect your content. Stop and go outside. On the surface, this may look like the exact opposite advice from tactic number one. But if you’ve spent a lot of time battling writer’s block, sometimes the anxiety and pressure is too much. At that time, it’s best to just get up and stop focusing on it. Research shows that our brains can subconsciously continue working on things, even while our focus is elsewhere. And by going outside or working on something else, we can get inspired, create new connections, and get into a healthier, happier space that will allow you to write better and overcome any internal resistance to content creation. Take baby steps. In any project, writing included, sometimes that actual task can just be too overwhelming to get started. This is because for most skills, consistency beats quantity. For example, let’s say you’re looking to get more in shape. Which is better… doing five squats every day or doing 50 squats one time? For continued improved fitness, it’s better to practice every day, even if it’s a minuscule amount. To apply this to writer’s block, try committing yourself to writing one sentence every day. In other words you write one sentence, then you can consider yourself successful for that day… even if you do nothing else. Maybe it’s a horrible sentence, maybe it’s pure poetry, but the accomplishment is in the doing. Some days your content will be amazing and you’ll want to keep going… and then you’ll write 20 pages. Other days you’ll stop at one crappy sentence. But it’ll become a habit and you’ll stop procrastinating… and then just creating. Writer’s block is a frustrating experience for all those who experience it. But it doesn’t have to prevent you from creating great content in the long term. For more help with writing, editing, or content creation, go to  

Follow these 6 Simple Steps to Creating your First Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing campaign Have you ever been asked to perform a task that is out of your expertise? How did you feel? Well, I got an assignment from my boss on my first month of work to start an email campaign on my own, from scratch! I still remember I shouted out that “yes” so confidently when my boss reconfirmed with me if this is a project I can take on. Fake it until you make it right? But to be honest, I freaked out. I’ve never done any digital marketing projects in my life and I was hired solely to plan for marketing events for my company. I kept asking myself what did I just get myself into. But then I was also thinking, none of us were born knowing things and this could be a great opportunity for me to prove my capability of learning new things quickly, both to myself and to my team. So I pulled myself together and start learning as much as I can about what email marketing really is and how to create an email campaign. After 2 weeks, I launched my first email campaign from scratch for my company through Constant Contact. In the result of this email campaign, my company was able to obtain 3 new leads and close out one pending contract. They might not be the greatest results, but it’s a good start. email marketing campaigns So, I want to take this chance to quickly share with you the 6 steps that I followed to create my very first email campaign. Step 1: Establish your Goal – What are you trying to accomplish through this campaign? What problem are you trying to solve? Step 2: Identify and Understand your Audience – Who are we targeting? What are they interested in? Why will they be interested? Step 3: Create relevant and Easy-to-Read Content – According to this post, the average adult’s attention span is 8 seconds and is shrinking. Therefore, creating the most relevant content for your audience is fundamentally important. Make sure to use visual aspects like fun icons, images or graphs to tell your story. Skip the long, nasty paragraphs and use bullets points instead. Step 4: SPELL CHECK and Link Check – I don’t remember how many times I’ve gone back to the email and still spotted typos, maybe this is just me. However, it’s always a good idea to triple check your context and check that all the links are linking to the appropriate destinations. Step 5: Ask for Feedback – Teamwork makes the dream work, right? Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get feedback from your team. Step 6: Launch and Track – launching is easy, but make sure to track the results after. Ask for feedback and discuss what can be improved with your team. So here you have it, my 6 steps to creating my very first email campaign. just a side note, I am a “noob” to digital marketing and creating email campaigns. There might be other important aspects that I missed or need to be corrected upon. Any discussion is welcome. Last but not the least, I wish everyone a joyful holiday season!

Blogging, Uncategorized

Dog Stuff

The holiday season is upon us once again! There are parties to plan, halls to deck, and gifts to wrap for friends and family. But what about your furry friend? You know, the one who likes to supervise the hustle and bustle from underfoot, following you around the house as you prep? He just wants to be included in the excitement, and yet his eagerness isn’t always fully appreciated. Well, we may have a solution that brings joy and cheer to both dog and man this year! Bring your dog into Ruff N Tumble any day this month and receive 1 free hour of daycare service, letting you squeeze in that final run to the store! And if you stop by this Saturday, December 16th from 12 to 4, Santa will be here with special treats (for good dogs) and to pose for Christmas photos (free for dogs staying 3+ hours, $5 for all others). Our Ruff N Tumble supply store carries a wide array of balls, chew toys, treats, ropes… basically anything your good dog could wish! If you need help picking out a gift, Santa’s little helpers will be happy to help you select one that your dog will be sure to love. If you come in this Saturday during Santa’s visit, we offer free wrapping on all gifts!

Santa’s Naughty List

If your dog ended up on Santa’s naughty list this year, fret not! Ruff N Tumble offers obedience training year-round for dogs of all ages, breeds, and dispositions. All we ask is that you fill-out our online assessment questionnaire to ensure your dog is placed within the group that is the best, and that all vaccinations are current (need paperwork from your vet). We will work with you and your pet to learn and respond to commands, as well as socialize with other dogs. We also offer one-on-one lessons, if that is something you desire. We also offer gift certificates, if you know a family or dog in the area who could use our services. Ruff N Tumble is offering referral bonuses of $20 per dog when they sign-up for regular daycare sessions or obedience training. From our family to yours, Ruff N Tumble wishes you the happiest of holiday seasons! For more information on our offerings, visit our Facebook page:


Fruitvale Volunteers The Lead in Oakland

It is all too easy to give and not receive. At least, this is the case for Veronica Jones, Meghan Freemoor, Alexei Cisneros, and Roger Rutgers: four graduates from Fruitvale Elementary School. It was not too long ago that they were students in those seats, walking those halls. “I still remember the smell,” Alexei said. “It brings back nostalgia.” Now these students walk the hall for another reason—to give back to the community in which they belonged. All four former Panthers are now part of a program called Reading Partners, one-on-one volunteer based tutoring for elementary school students struggling with reading. What appeals about the program to these four volunteers is not just its effect on improving students’ literacy levels. “I just love that I’m able to give back to my old school!” said Veronica. Her eyes glittered at the student testimonials lining the Fruitvale walls. “It’s really terrific, because I know I was in their shoes once.” Reading Partners Site Coordinator Eli Schwartz is now in his second year leading the program at Fruitvale. “To have tutors come back who used to be students—that really shows the roots of this school are strong. We have an incredible team of educators.” Eli’s passion is to make illiteracy defunct for every Fruitvale Elementary School student. “Our tutors are the backbone of our literacy program,” he said, “and the message is even more meaningful when they can say: ‘Yeah, I was a Panther, too.’ It makes it feel like it’s coming from a peer, not just any other adult. The kids know this person already has their best interests in mind because they are all Panthers, all connected by the same story.” Roger Rutgers, the eldest of the four Fruitvale veterans, says his purpose for volunteering with the early literacy program is because it combines two of his greatest passions—helping kids and reading books. The fact that he can help students from his alma mater, and do so by reading together…this, he said, is a win-win. “There’s just no volunteer program as strong as Reading Partners. You just show up, read through the curriculum with your student, and the kid gets back up to speed with grade level. It’s incredible.” Veronica and Meghan first began volunteering because it was required for their high school Community Activism classes. What started off as a “checklist requirement,” Veronica said, “turned into one of the greatest joys of my week. I had no idea I’d grow so close with my kid.” Meghan, feeling similarly, also added: “Yeah, and I got a friend out of it. Veronica and I didn’t even know each other until joining Reading Partners. Now we found out we also both went to Fruitvale. Such a small world.” Whether connecting vowel sounds or connecting tutors, Eli says he’s been happy with his experience as a Reading Partners AmeriCorps member. “You’re doing something for your community—sure,” he paused to adjust a student’s progress sticker on the wall, “but ultimately, it’s about doing something for the world. If you can read, you can do anything. I couldn’t ask for a better mission, and having people like Veronica, Meghan…all the Fruitvale grads…to come alongside me, just makes the journey all the more meaningful.” To learn about your local Reading Partners chapter, visit, or stop by your old elementary school to see if they have joined the literacy movement nationwide.   Jenna Philpott is a literacy enthusiast and supporter of Education International’s research team on early literacy best practices across the globe. She can be reached at: