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Mike Valletta

Storyteller. Photographer. Traveler.

Date

May 1, 2012

Tune Tuesday: You Are a Cinema!

Ever hear a good song that just makes you want to get up out of the drivers seat of the car and just start dancing? I know I’m not the only one with such a passion!

Today, I heard this song called Cinema on the David Guetta station on my Pandora. I wish I could have put it on repeat for the entire duration I was in the car! I had this weird image that my car suddenly became a mobile nightclub complete with laser lights and bottles of champagne.

Am I the only one who thinks like that when club songs come on?

Express NEXT: Possibly the Hottest Rewards Program Launched

Every so often, we come across a rewards program that is so innovative and cool that we just have to share it with our friends. One of my favorite stores to shop, Express, has come out with a rewards program that does just that. It’s called Express NEXT. While the NEXT program isn’t new to the company as they have always offered it for their credit card holders, it is new for the everyday customer that doesn’t wish to have a credit card. The NEXT program is entirely free, you even get to carry around a cool flashy card that gets sent to you in the mail. No, it’s not a credit card either, though their credit card line still exists with the program.

With Express NEXT, members are rewarded for purchases that they make in store, but that’s not the only way you get rewarded. With Express NEXT, members can get rewarded by what they do on their social media accounts! Members of the program can take pictures and upload them to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and earn points for it. It’s an entirely new way to look at rewards program, and Express has certainly taken a leadership role in brand loyalty and with how customers are rewarded in the social media age.

Stop by your local Express store to get started!

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One World Trade Center Grows as America Grows Stronger

I make a lot of trips down to New York City. Living within a close proximity to it here in Connecticut, we’re often referred to as one big suburb of the Big Apple. All it takes is a look around at how we drive to see just how true that is! When it comes to the road, we’re maniacs, and we get our behavior directly from the city that never sleeps.

It’s a great city, and we’re fortunate enough to live so close to it. Last week, I took a trip down to see the World Trade Center site down in lower Manhattan. I went along with my mother, and though we didn’t have a reservation, it was still fairly easy to get a free ticket from the visitors center to get into the memorial.

On April 30th, One World Trade Center, otherwise known as the Freedom Tower, became the tallest building in NYC, just a week after our visit. It’s quite remarkable to hear that. Many doubted we would we build that high again, but we proved to those who terrorized us that we are not afraid and refuse to live in fear.

During our visit, we entered the memorial with chills. As we walked towards the pools of flowing water cascading into the earth where the towers once stood, all we could visualize is what happened there back on September 11th, 2001. The horror of those two towers collapsing was in the back of my mind as I looked up to the sky and then back down into the pool surrounded by the names of those who perished.

I remember that day. I remember it well. I was sitting in English class at Holy Cross High School in Waterbury, CT. Our teacher turned on the television and the entire class stared in shock and awe of what we were witnessing on screen. At first, it was like a movie, but we soon realized this was real. This was 9/11. We watched as the second plane hit the tower. We watched as the towers came crumbling to the ground, and those below scrambled to save their lives.

Images of that day all came back to me during the visit. It was hard. Very hard. Knowing that so many innocent lives perished on the very ground we stood on was not easy acknowledging.

As we walked around the memorial, we saw visitors who wept, then we saw visitors who didn’t know what kind of expression to wear. It was a silent place, not many voices to listen to other than the bustling sounds of lower Manhattan. My guess is many were lost in thought just as much as I was.

It’s great to have a place to go to where will never forget the images of that very day. It’s clear that New York will never be the same, but in the end, the height of the Freedom Tower signifies just how much stronger we have become.

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