Amidst a pandemic, stuck at home, we’ve all had to get by on simple pleasures. Many of you have been indulging in your hobbies…I’ve been playing with my hair.
It all started when the Pony-O made its way into my Instagram feed. The Pony-O is a hair tie/scrunchie substitute made of a copper bar covered in silicon that’s supposed to be just as secure without the tugging. The product piqued my interest, but I didn’t feel compelled to buy anything.
Well, I must’ve ended up on someone’s re-marketing list because everywhere I went, the perky Pony-O girl followed me around with her equally perky ponytail. I reached a point where I couldn’t deal with the fact that I was missing out on the perfect ponytail so I bought a standard black Pony-O and a Bun Bar (another product to make an equally perfect bun).
I waited with great anticipation for my package to arrive. When the products finally arrived, I remember trying them immediately and feeling that they were only OK. I put them in the bathroom drawer where all hair accessories go to die, and I forgot about them.
That would be the end of the story had it not been for the Pony-O company’s persistence. After my purchase, they kept sending me newsletters with helpful tips. Their feed on Instagram continued to offer hair-do ideas and different ways of using their products. They refused to give up on me!
Then reader, something amazing happened. I started trying out the tips, and I got better outcomes. This made me want to try more hairstyles, which made me more proficient with the products.
Not only that, but the simple act of experimenting with my hair brought simple joy to what ended up being such a monotonous year, overall.
The Pony-O is the invention of Nicol Harvie, an inventor patenting hair accessories for over 30 years. As she notes in this video, she realized that most of the hair accessories we wear on a day-to-day basis were invented in the 1800s by men. She wanted something that wasn’t painful and better fit the needs of women.
Pony-O is driven by innovation. When I bought from them at the beginning of the pandemic, they only had one size option. By the end of the year, they had introduced a skinnier 2.0 version and a larger XL version. They had also launched different colors, prints, and “bling.”
Their content followed me along all year until I broke down and ordered AGAIN in December to take advantage of their holiday specials.
Besides the different sizes to accommodate different hair types, I think this company stays winning because they show you how to use their products. The livestreams are cool because followers can ask questions to have the model demonstrate the answers in real-time.
Pony-O even did their part during the height of COVID-19 by giving frontline medical workers a way to wear their masks.
The cool thing about Pony-O products is that you don’t have to be particularly skilled at doing hair. They’re easy to use and they give you a polished look regardless. The key to using the Pony-O is to not think of it as a hair tie, it’s a completely different hair accessory.
I’ll definitely put all these to good use if it’s ever safe to leave the house again.
Founded by longtime residents and movie veterans alike, Film Invasion Los Angeles looks to showcase the best undiscovered movies in the heart of Los Angeles. As a 2020 selection, our short filmGrief Vigilantes will be screening as part of their Comedy Spotlight!
THREE SHORT FILMS: HOW TO SAVE A MARRIAGE, GRIEF VIGILANTES, & FIRST STATES. Please note that you have the OPTION to give a $5 or $10 gift in order to watch as many livestreams as you like. There are still many costs associated with running the festival, but because people will be watching at home during a global pandemic we made paying for tickets optional this year.
How To Save A Marriage 0:08:30 Grief Vigilantes 0:08:34 First States 0:17:09
How To Save A Marriage A “Cosmo Quiz” becomes a painful walk down memory lane. Honesty is the hallmark of a good relationship…just not that kind of honesty. Director(s): Eric Foss Writer(s): Eric Foss Producer(s): Eric Foss Starring: Chris Mollica, Catherine Mersereau
Grief Vigilantes When a girl dealing with a tragedy suddenly contends with a terrible boss she bands together with her grief group and makes the unwise decision to kidnap her manager. Director(s): Aysha Wax Writer(s): Aysha Wax Producer(s): Elba Flamenco, Casey Graf, Aysha Wax Cast: Dione Kuraoka, Denisse Ojeda, Kaitlyn Tanimoto, Sofia Gonzalez, Jana Savage, Richard Riehle
First States A disgraced Congressman fakes his own death to escape trial and start over fresh down his chosen new path outside of society. It’s never a clean break, as the powers that be have different plans for him. Director(s): Bond Richards Writer(s): Bond Richards Producer(s): Eli Swenson Cast: Christian Klein, Quinton Clarke, Eli Swenson
The Los Angeles Times has a limited-time offer for unlimited digital access across web, tablet, and mobile, for just $1 for 4 weeks. After that, you’re billed $4 per week, billed every 4 weeks ($16 a month), and you can cancel anytime. As a millennial, the thought of paying for news was foreign to me. Even though I grew up in the era of print newspapers and magazines, when the internet arrived, it seemed ridiculous to pay for news when it was abundantly available for free everywhere!
Flash forward to 2020: a pandemic is sweeping the globe, our president is telling us to consume bleach, the economy’s shit, and natural disasters are wreaking havoc all over the world. Everything’s on fire, basically. Unfortunately, these conditions have made fake news ripe for consuming and spreading, especially on platforms like Facebook and YouTube. It became increasingly hard for me to find accurate information, and I got tired of hitting paywalls on the sources I DID trust, so I decided to put my money where my mouth is and subscribe to the L.A. Times, a paper I’ve grown up with my entire life, as someone born and raised in Los Angeles, and it feels like home.
After spending a few weeks playing around with the app, I think I have a good grasp on the functionality and value it delivers. So here’s a breakdown of the features, some commentary on what I loved most, as well as feedback (from the perspective of someone in media who works on apps) on what would add even more value to subscribers. For those who want to know, I’m using a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and I’m running Android 8.0.0 and Samsung Experience version 9.0.
The app is broken up into four major navigational sections:
eNewspaper (a digitized version of the print newspaper)
Media (a collection of videos and podcasts)
My library (saved and recently viewed articles)
The homepage feed includes a collection of top news however, the criteria for what is considered “top news” is unclear to me. I’m assuming it’s their most viewed or most engaged with stories of the day? Either way, most of the reading I do is directly from that homepage feed so those stories do tend to be the most relevant and engaging reporting available at the current moment.
This sounds like exactly what it is, an eNewspaper! But this is more than a scanned version of the print paper, it’s completely clickable and customizable to each reader’s preferences. This format allows you to flip the pages of the paper which gives you a different scrolling experience that’s equivalent to sitting back and flipping through the newspaper. I’m still old enough to remember the joys of getting lost in the paper. Admiring the beautiful photography, discovering the buried stories, jumping from story to unrelated story. Except in this experience, when you click on a story it brings up an easy-to read version of the story that allows you to change the language, adjust the font size, and highlight text to copy, eliminating the need to pinch to zoom as you squint to read the writing.
The value and experience is further enhanced with the addition of games and comics. Games include Sudoku, solitaire, and word games, but the shining jewel in this crown is the daily crossword. Oh, how I miss filling out the daily crossword in the print paper! I never got great at doing crosswords but I loved trying. This version has everything you need for a good time, including customizable clues, the ability to play with friends, error check, and a deep archive to play with! The comics are cool because you can read them in the newspaper format, or click on them for an easy-to-read hi-res version. Hands down, the enewspaper is one of the most unique and best parts of the L.A. Times app.
There’s also a cool archives feature that dates back 130+ years and includes other newspapers. Unfortunately, it seems like you have to have a separate subscription to access this section. It’s too bad because making this a part of the subscription would definitely add value and attract a broader range of potential subscribers such as teachers, historians, researchers, and other individuals interested in news archives. I’ve contacted the L.A. Times directly to ask about this since it’s unclear if the lack of access is due to a bug or really requires another subscription.
This is the section I’ve probably spent the least amount of time in. Not because the L.A. Times doesn’t make good video/audio content, but because I tend to consume that type of content at other times and on other platforms. If I’m opening up the L.A. Times app, it’s because I’m in the mood to read, not watch/listen to content. And when someone DOES share L.A. Times video on social media, they’re YouTube links, so I go consume the content there. Even the videos in the app appear to be YouTube embeds.
Same with the podcasts, I was a huge Dirty John fan, but I didn’t listen to this podcast on the L.A. Times app because it’s on Spotify, which is my go-to subscription for all things music and podcasts. It’s highly unlikely I would listen to a podcast from within the L.A. Times app unless it was EXCLUSIVE to the app. But I know that, in today’s media landscape, you have to spread your content across all monetizable platforms to get as much revenue out of it, so I get it.