Weekend Challenge #2: Accomplished in expensive fashion

“Do something that makes you think about your future.” Did you?

Just in case you missed Friday’s post on the Scout blog, we challenged our readers be adventurous and a little forward thinking and do something related to your future. It could have been anything, but like always, we just want you to be daring and discover. In the past, I have caught myself stopping at open houses at multi-million dollar homes, just to see what they look like. Can’t hurt to dream, right?

So before I go into what I did for my weekend challenge, I want to clear the air from the get go. I did not try on any wedding dresses this weekend. A cousin of mine is getting married later this year, and his fiancé has been knee deep in planning as of late. One struggle she’s had, was which wedding dress to pick. And she wanted an opinion different from her friends so she asked my cousin, who in turn asked if I was interested in going – my light bulb moment: experience something new and interesting.

I know I’ll get married at some point – so why not check out how the whole wedding dress process works, right?

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Weekend Challenge #2

A couple weeks ago, Kenji went on a weekend challenge to try a new food. If you missed it, you can read it here and urged all of us to be weekend-adventurers. But in case you needed a reminder, he wasn’t just talking about that particular weekend. He was referring to all the time. So this weekend, we remind you to be part of the Scout revolution and do what adventure-seeking people to best, discover.

And for the record, I truly believe that regardless of where you are, journeys and trips of exploration should always happen.

But the real question is, why is this even important?  Continue reading

Scouting Mardi Gras: 7 Facts to Impress Your Friends With

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone! Fat Tuesday is today – Will you be celebrating?

If you are, then you already know that down in New Orleans, the Mardi Gras festivities is in full swing with attendees walking the streets of the Big Easy, celebrating in style. From the Garden District to the French Quarter, Mardi Gras 2012 is fully underway with a full week of parades, costumes, beads, and much, much more.  Sounds like a great time, huh?

Wish you were part of the Mardi Gras festivities? Worry not, friends, because even if you’re not in New Orleans, there’s still time to discover some Mardi Gras celebrations near you! Why not participate in one of the biggest free party in the world?

But before you go out and celebrate Fat Tuesday, here are 7 Mardi Gras Facts to Impress Your Friends With:

  1. Beads, Beads, Beads! Plastic beads only date back to 1970 and were originally made of glass – more specifically Czechoslovakian glass. Now they’re made of cheap plastic. 
  2. Time to Color Coordinate: The official colors of Mardi Gras are purple green, and gold which represent justice (purple), faith (green), and power (gold). Read: Good luck trying to wear your outfit with anything else throughout the year. ;)
  3. A Nom-tastic Mardi Gras Pastry: A popular Mardi Gras tradition is the serving of “King Cake,” which is a coffee cake served with a plastic baby inside. Whoever finds the baby in their cake is said to have good fortune throughout the year and must provide the King Cake at the next year’s festivities.
  4. One Last Day to Let Loose Before: Mardi Gras marks the final day before Lent, the 40-day period that leads up to Easter.
  5. The Mardi Gras Impact: The direct impact of the Mardi Gras celebration on New Orleans is estimated at roughly $144 million. Some other studies however, estimated the economic impact over over $500 million.
  6. A Pricey Parade: It’s estimated that more than 100,000 people ride in Mardi Gras parades each year and each rider can spend as much as $3000 in fees, costumes, and throws.
  7. Wait… Who threw the first beads? The tradition of throwing beaded necklaces into the crowd was started in the early 1900’s and the first to toss them was… Santa Claus. Yup, you read that right. Jolly Old St. Nick started the tradition.

So that’s it! Now, go out and celebrate Mardi Gras with your friends and impress them with these 7 facts!

With that, if you will be celebrating Fat Tuesday, please be sure to do it safely and plan ahead by making sure you have a ride home. And if you find yourself stuck without a ride, you can search for taxis in your Scout app on your phone.

Happy Mardi Gras, Scouts!

Wednesday Twitter Trivia: Today’s Topic & Prizes

Hey everyone!

Last week, we launched the Wednesday Twitter Quiz, where we asked our Twitter followers trivia questions for a chance to win prizes. If you missed it, don't worry – today, we're doing it again!

Today's Trivia Topic
If you were with us last week, you know that every week, we'll have a theme for the trivia questions asked on Wednesday Twitter Trivia and today is no different. Most of the time it will have to do with things we know well including discovery, exploration, every day adventuring and just having fun. Other times, the topics will be related to upcoming events, activities, or holidays… which brings us to today's trivia question topic.

So what will we be asking about today? Well, in honor of the upcoming celebration in New Orleans next week, we're going to be asking you questions about… Mardi Gras!

Today's Prizes
In the spirit of keeping life in the go (and well caffeinated), we're going to be giving away FIVE $20 Starbucks gift cards. What better way to keep things moving forward than with a warm latte in your hand?

One small change
Before we get started, I wanted to let you know of a one change made from last week:

Starting today (and moving forward), we'll now be asking 5 questions from 10am PST to 12pm PST instead of the 10 questions throughout the entire day. We found that asking 10 questions throughout the day was a bit too overwhelming for some people's Twitter stream.

Other than that, we're running Wednesday Twitter Trivia exactly how we did last week with lots of fun trivia questions and prizes!

Also, don't forget that in order to win you must:

That's it! Have any questions, just let us know. Good luck!

Full rules can be found here.

Scouting for Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas

Hey everyone.  My name is Saba, and I’m part of the Scout team.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

So, today is Valentine’s Day and for me, it’s one of those “holidays” that always creeps up on me. I know forever that it’s coming because right after all of the New Year’s celebrations are over, we start seeing red and pink hearts everywhere letting us know it’s around the corner.

I’m usually in two minds about Valentine's Day. Do I want to celebrate? Do I want to skip it this year? I’m one of those believers in “every day should be Valentine’s Day” and that you should show how much you care to your loved ones without depending on a special occasion. So when my husband tried to plan something for Valentine’s Day this year well in advance, I told him we didn’t need to celebrate and not to worry about it.

Today, however, I woke up with a different feeling. Cupid must have hit me with one of those arrows because I could feel the excitement of love in the air and velvety hearts floating in the sky. After we did the customary “happy-valentine’s-day-kissy-huggy” thing, the first thing I asked was, “So what did you plan tonight for Valentine’s Day, honey?” Rather than Cupid’s arrow melting his heart, it looked like my husband just got hit with a swarm of steel darts.  Without blinking he shot back, “Why don’t you plan it!”

So, here I am. It’s all up to me. It’s Valentine’s Day. I have no gift to give. I have no plans. I thought to myself that I couldn’t be the only last minute Valentine’s Day planner. And I was right! It didn’t take me long to start scouting online to see that there still is hope to find that perfect Valentine’s Day gift for my husband (and to drop him a hint of what I’d like too), and I can still run to the mall after work and pick out something that looks like I put tons of time and thought into. Here are just a few eleventh-hour gift ideas I’ve scouted out that might inspire some of you fellow last-minuters like me.

As for Valentine’s Day date night plans, you may want to search for “Valentine’s Day” in Things to Do at www.scout.me in your city or area. I found some fun things across the country like a dinner cruise in San Francisco, Valentine’s Day speed dating and free drinks for all of you singles out there in the LA area, a Valentine’s Day concert featuring Keith Sweat and Eric Benet or an anti-Valentine’s Day cabaret bash both in the Chicago area, a tango lesson for two with wine and chocolate tasting in New York, and Love in the Park in Fort Lauderdale — just to name a few things to do.

What plans do you have for this special night? If you’re scouting last minute like me, let me know what you come up with!

Happy Scouting!

– Saba

Weekend Challenge #1: Accomplished & it tastes like Baby Octopus on a Stick

“Try a new food.” Did you?

If you're not certain what I'm talking about, let me fill you in.

At the end of last week, I issued a “weekend challenge” here on our blog, the idea of which was to challenge our readers to get out of their comfort zone by trying something new. And of course, eating being one of my favorite things to do (really – it is), I thought what better way to do it than over food.

But in addition to really liking food, another reason I thought it would be a good challenge was because how many times have you been out with a friend only to find that they're not willing to try a new dish? Presenting new food to people can make some feel beyond uncomfortable so I thought, it's the perfect challenge.

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Weekend Challenge #1: Try a New Food

Not long ago, here on the Scout blog, I wrote a post about everyday adventures and why I think everyone should seek them out. To recap the post (read it here), I believe people should adventure every day because there seems to be a myth that in order to have an adventure, you first have to travel to a far away land, when in reality that isn’t true at all. I think you can have an adventure wherever you are and most of all, you don’t have to go very far – they can be had in places in your very own hometown. I also believe it can be done every day, even in the smallest of situations like trying a new restaurant, a new activity, or just changing something about your day.

The Comfort Zone
What I like the most about the idea of the everyday adventure is that it challenges me to 1) try something new and 2) gets me out of my comfort zone.

Let’s be honest. For everyone – myself included – it’s waaaaay too easy to get stuck in scenarios we’re comfortable in. Whether we’re going to the same restaurant, always ordering the same food, or constantly hanging out in the same group of friends, it’s easy to fall into repetitive situations that are comfortable.

Of course, it’s easy to understand why we fall into the “comfort zone.”

Simply put, we fall into it because they’re situations which are familiar, safe, and there’s no fear of the unknown.

But it’s for these EXACT same reasons that we should instead, all be challenging ourselves to do the opposite and get out of the comfort zone. The reason being is because if we never leave these scenarios we’re way too comfortable in, it means we’re not challenging ourselves, and as a result, we’re not growing and discovering.

I believe challenging ourselves by getting out of our comfort zones is a good thing. What do you think? Agree/disagree? I would love to hear yours below.

Weekend Challenge #1
With that, the weekend is upon us and in the spirit of challenging ourselves, I want to issue one to everyone who reads this post.

This weekend, I want us all to get out of the comfort zone at least once so in the spirit of that I challenge you to… try ONE new food.

That’s it!

The new food you try could be anything (please – within reason), but remember the point of the challenge is to get out of your comfort zone – even if only for a few seconds.

Maybe you order a new dish from your favorite restaurant or cook a new recipe. Whatever it is, just make sure it’s something completely new. And remember, it doesn’t have to be something big or a food which is totally foreign to you. As they say, even a small journey is still a journey, right?

Will you accept the challenge? I will and I’ll even take a few pictures as proof as that I went out of my comfort zone to discover something new. I can’t wait to see what flavors I discover. Good luck!

#imascout – Are you?

What are Location-Based Services?

As of today, there are over 500,000 apps in the App Store for iPhones.

From the crazy and fun games to streaming music apps to social networking apps, I find myself having trouble deciding what I want to download. The problem is, there are just too many apps to choose from!

Which ones are good, which ones are bad, and how in the world am I supposed to know what to look for?

Now many of these apps are using “location-based services” (also known as LBS) to make your app experience better. But while LBS becomes more and more common, to many people, it is still a relatively unknown feature.

In order to help answer find out more about location-based services, I looked to Feng Guo, a product manager here at Telenav, to help me figure out what LBS really means and why it’s something to be excited about.

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Announcing Wednesday Twitter Trivia = Prizes for YOU!

Imagine this: You’re on Twitter and a question pops up on your feed. You answer it and the next thing you know, you receive a reply back saying that you just won a prize!

Sound fun?

We hope so because starting today, that’s exactly what we’re going to be doing!

Today, I’m excited to announce “Wednesday Twitter Trivia,” where you’ll have 10 chances to win prizes just for answering trivia questions on – you guessed it – Twitter!

How does Wednesday Twitter Trivia work?
It’s simple. Throughout the day on Wednesdays, we’ll be asking our Twitter followers 10 questions between 9am to 4pm PST.

How do I win prizes?
In order to win a prize, you must:

  1.     Be the first person to answer the question correctly
  2.     Be following the @Scout Twitter account
  3.     Use the the hashtag #imascout in your answer

What kinds of questions will I have to answer?
Every week will feature questions around a different theme and we’ll let you know before the questions start on Wednesdays. Some days it might have to do with foods, other sports, but in general, we’ll ask questions about what we know best – helping you discover and explore the world around you!

For our first Wednesday Twitter Trivia, all of the questions will have to do with a big holiday coming up at the beginning of next week: Valentine’s Day!

What time does the trivia start/end?
Wednesday Twitter Trivia will start at 9am PST & end at 4pm PST.

What are the prizes?
Here’s the fun part: Every week the prizes will be different and we’ll announce them before the questions start!

For our first Wednesday Twitter Trivia (2/8/12), we’ll be giving away 10 Arkon Universal Phone mounts – perfect for scouting your town in style!

Where are the official rules?
Official rules can be found right here.

Have any other questions?
Let us know on Twitter or our Facebook page.

We really hope you enjoy this and we just thought that this would be a fun thing to do on Wednesdays! We hope you join us. Good luck!

Super Sunday: The 3 Best Places to Watch the Super Bowl

Super Sunday is here – Are you ready for the big game?

Whether you’re a Patriots or Giants fan (or even if you have no idea who either of them are), chances are, like most Americans, you’ll be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday. It seems almost everyone, sports fans or not, gets up for this, the biggest of unofficial American holidays.

But with just two days before Super Sunday, do you know where you’ll be watching the big game?

If you’re still scrambling for a place to watch the Super Bowl, don’t worry – we have you covered. Here are 3 places you might want to scout out to catch the Patriots vs. the Giants.

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