Wednesday, December 30, 2015

No Badge until New Year

It's expected to see our colorful background disappear right after midnight new year eve. No worry. This happens every year. I captured this image to share with you. The apps have been evolving in 2015 and the layouts are little different.

Our Elite badges will be released on the next business day. They normally come in several waves. We'll see what will happen next year. Here is a Talk thread from our CM Farrah in January 2014.

Android & iPhone version of my profile on New Year's Day 1/1/15.
It's always fun to send and receive compliments whenever we get the badge.

Badge in different colors
  • Red Badge - 1st to 4th year
  • Gold Badge - 5th to 9th year
  • Black Badge - 10th year and more
Here is an example of a tenured Elite Yelper. I can't wait to see what color after 15 years of Elite.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

4 Six Pings

We love Six Ping Bakeries in Chinatown. I received a message from Yelper Que N. as she notice a Six Ping sign at Saigon Plaza. It is technically not inside of Chinatown on the east of Beltway. So, I went to investigate.

Six Ping has 4 location in Houston Chinatown area
On their website, there isn't any information about their 4th store at 10623 Bellaire Blvd Ste C120 (Next to Pho Dien & UT Medical). Then, I went to the Dun Huang Plaza bakery and asked about it. The store clerk said, it will open sometime early December. I went back to check daily. It finally opened on Saturday, 12/5/15.

Then, I thought to write a blog to have a collection of the stores in one location:
Bellaire Six Ping - 9384 Bellaire yelp.com/biz/six-ping-houston
Viet Hoa Plaza - 8388 W Sam Houston Parkway, Ste 184 yelp.com/biz/six-ping-houston-2
Dun Huang Plaza - 9889 Bellaire Blvd, Ste D246 yelp.com/biz/six-ping-houston-5
Saigon Plaza - 10623 Bellaire Blvd, Ste C123 http://www.yelp.com/biz/six-ping-houston-6

What happened to other URL's? 2, 3, 4 are redirected to the Bellaire Store. This is why reviews on other stores ended up on the Bellaire store. Someone merged all 3 stores late last year and it was a mess. Here is an example, Six Ping located at Dun Huang Plaza on 1/27/2014.
If you wrote a review, you may want to "edit"  to add the actual location.
If I were you, I'd go back to include a store location in my review. I'm not sure why HQ has not approved the 4th location. I still can't search it on Yelp on the 7th day after I created the biz page. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Black Friday Blues

Not sure when this Black Friday frenzy started with me. I think I can better off stay at home next year.

I had to stop what I was doing to buy something.
It used to be the day we sleep outside of Best Buy store in hoping to get some cheap TV's or DVD players. I think the time has passed. I haven't find anything I really need after reviewing the Black Friday sales sheet.

However, I saw something I really want a week before and a week after Thanksgiving. I finally replaced my USB printer to HP - Officejet Pro 6830 Wireless e-All-In-One Printer at half of original retail price. Then, I bought a high tech cooker during the 4-hour . Catch my review on Midea 6-Quart Electric Pressure Cooker later.

Another Black Friday Blues at Macy's. I saw the ad about Alfani Boots for $24.95. Sure, I want to be in style without breaking the bank. Here is my experience posted on Yelp at Macy's in Sugar Land. I ended up buying the size I needed online with $2 cheaper during the final hours of Black Friday as it rolled into Cyber Monday (Sunday 4 am CST).

Not bad for $30
I went crazy with Black Friday shopping on Thursday. I went to Target to grab a beautiful Christmas tree. That saved me hassles to buy a fresh cut tree from Home Depot. It was same price as a fresh cut tree without the leave dropping and constantly pouring water into the basin. (I'm getting old and I can't kneel on the floor any more.)

I also bought half dozen of selfie sticks ($2.99) at Five Below. I often being asked where I got them from. Now I can say, "here, take one."

Other stores I visited for the Black Friday bargain hunting:
Academy Sports + Outdoors in Sugar Land
Five Below in Stafford
Five Below in Sugar Land
Five Below on Westheimer

Friday, November 27, 2015

UYE's in 2016

My Mr Magoo look
Do you like my UYE's? These Unofficial Yelp Events are uniquely designed. I welcome your feedback.

As usual, I incorporate cultural events and local businesses to interact with the guests. There is always trinkets offering at my UYE.

2016 is going to be a busy year for me. I'd like to plan my UYE far in advance. It is very time consuming to send invitations on Yelp. So, please pay attention to your friends' feeds on mobile app, Talk posts or Events page for the latest announcement.

Remember, it takes 2 to have an UYE. If no one replied "I'm in", the event is likely to be cancelled. I need your support to promote my events by your "Sounds Cool" votes.

Date
Name
Purpose
Sun, 1/31
Celebrating Lunar New Year at Jinya Ramen on Louisiana (moved due to schedule)
Early March
Cross+Cities UYE – Dallas Edition
Similar to my Austin Edition
March to April
Chinatown Crawl UYE (Series):
  1. Welcome Center
  2. Diho Plaza
  3. H-Mart Plaza
  4. Dun Huang Plaza
  5. Viet Hoa Shopping Plaza
  6. Hong Kong City Mall

Guests get to enjoy different strip malls in Chinatown every 2 weeks. By participants’ voting to determine a lunch spot, a dessert joint and grocery store for cultural sharing. (4 hours) It’s likely to be on Wednesday or Thursday nights.

We could include karaoke at Dun Huang Plaza and foot massage at Diho Plaza.
April
Crosstown Magic UYE (tentative)
My idea came from this year’s Dine OUT Fight AIDS fundraising event. Pending on participation announcement from Yelp HQ and AIDS Foundation.
May
Asian Heritage Month UYE
3rd annual Asian Heritage Month celebration. This year will co-host with Depp to feature food from SE Asia.
June
Time for Taiwan UYE (tentative)
The sponsor in Taiwan liked my idea of helping them broadcast the event, but they are not certain if there will be an event in 2016. The actual restaurant eat-out event starts in July.
Mid-July
Cross+Cities UYE – San Antonio
(tentative)
Sat, 9/3
Luau on the Bayou UYE
Tag along with Aloha TexFest during the Labor Day weekend in Clear Lake Park
Early Nov
Phokloric UYE
(tentative)
TBD
Cross+Cities UYE - Galveston
There is a Talk thread in Dallas about a cruise UYE to invite Yelpers from everywhere in Texas.

Link to my UYE's in the past.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Desktop Updates

I noticed a new features today November 3rd. It's kind of funky.
Event page on Google Chrome Version 46.0.2490.80 m
Compared with the old version. 


I noticed these new features in October.
They removed "To Review" and "To Try". It's Nothing now.

Photo taking tips are kind of cool. But people can't see this on the phone.

I can't disable auto befriending from Facebook. I kept seeing people I don't want on my friend list.
Auto Friending is kind of embarrasing

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

ZZ100 UYE

First of all, I am not affiliated with Yelp and I write reviews on Yelp for fun.
Secondly, I don't ask for special treatment from businesses because I write reviews for fun.
Third, I am a hard-core Elite Yelper. I always encourage Yelpers to write reviews.
Now, let’s go to the featured presentation.
Many ideas created this UYE .
Since my ROTD (Review of the Day) on 2/11/2014, I have been a regular customer to Eatwell Bakery Cafe for my yogurt fix and remain in contact with the owner, Ziad. The more I talk to him, the more I like to feature Eatwell in my UYE choices. Ziad has a passion in promoting healthy gourmet with a Mediterranean twist. It was perfect timing to wrap up the challenge while Eatwell celebrates its anniversary in October. The UYE was named "Zoom Zoom 100 & Beyond" as a result from a Talk thread.

This UYE was dedicated to the Yelpers who participated in the 2015 Yelp Challenge. I started the cyber event as a challenge to encourage my fellow Yelpers to follow suit in creating a list of 100 reviews. While this challenge is not to look for who wrote more reviews, but it's just a fun way to track our progress.

On October 18, we were blessed with perfect picnic weather. The patio was decorated with my favorite orange color. My guests arrived gradually as I had time to greet each one and introduced Eatwell's specialties. I started with a cultural demo - making of Lihing Pineapple. Lihing is a plum-flavored powder made in Taiwan, but not sold in Taiwan. I can only find them in Hawaii. I bought a pack of Lihing powder at Aloha TexFest in September, I am happy to share the video on how to make a simple island's favorite snack.

Appetizer: I share a secret about Ziad's hot sauce - made of fruits and vegetables. It's not just a sauce for breakfast, it works on everything. He also brought us some homemade hummus and pita chips. The freshness was just incredible. See photos from the UYE here.

Desserts: I was really fond of Eatwell's dessert variety. I loved the cannoli so much and I made them to be featured as part of the check-in offer. Ziad brought us some apricot cross tarts as well. Please read Depp's review. He gave a lot of detail about where everything started.

At the end of this UYE, everyone was happy. Mike M was recognized as the top reviewer. Sorry, no prizes. But this was just a personal achievement. I want to see how this cyber event gave us at the end of 2015. I look forward to host another one next year. Would you like to join us?

Feel free to read the reviews by the guests at UYE: Zoom Zoom 100 & Beyond.
In case you missed the cultural demo, please go to How to make Lihing Pineapple on YouTube.

Monday, October 19, 2015

UYE TOS

I drafted this blog since February. Most of UYE hosts disagreed with me on writing reviews on UYE, they rather write on the biz page. I recently noticed this new category "Unofficial Yelp Events" on biz page categories. I was so excited.  I'm happy that HQ is seeing the value of such event. This also distinguish from being Yelp Events, but wasn't hosted by CM.

There are sources on the Event Terms of Service explaining about UYE and the article explaining to biz owners. 
Rules for UYE... Ooooh...

In short, I used Q&A format to summarize the idea:
Why do you need a UYE page?
It's a good idea to leave your UYE experience outside of the official biz page. A separate UYE page allows your guests to post photos and feedback on a review. If you choose not to, just be mindful how you describe the occasion.

What exactly is UYE?
According to the Event Terms and Conditions, "members of the Elite Squad and the Yelp Community organize their own meet-ups and events."

What does Yelp say about UYE?
As an UYE organizer, I encourage you to follow the guideline from Event TOS, "you agree to (a) promote it as such, and (b) not create the impression that it is sponsored or endorsed by Yelp. All terms and conditions relating to Non-Yelp Events apply equally to UYEs".

Who can sponsor UYE?
UYE's are mostly sponsored by Elite Yelpers, but any Yelpers can organize one. Just remember, as indicated on the TOS, "UYEs are Non-Yelp Events and are not sponsored or endorsed by Yelp, even when they are promoted on the Yelp website."

Thursday, October 1, 2015

UYEs in review

A new category for UYE, only available from a computer post.
I love to plan events, especially UYE's (Unofficial Yelp events). Once I learned how to use the event feature on Yelp site, everything comes naturally.

Many Yelpers who attended UYE's often ask me, "how many UYE have you submitted?" Well... I never bother to count. But, I decided to publish it here.


Name
Date
Purpose
Biz Page
Attended
Review
2/23/14
Chinese New Year
7
Yes
5/15/14
1st Annual Asian Heritage Month
7
Yes
11/9/14
Meeting Elite Yelpers couldn’t attend Elite Events
11
Yes
1/27/15
Before / after of a lite-bite YEE (new concept)
20
Yes
2/8/15
Chinese New Year
9
5/15/15
2nd Annual Asian Heritage Month
18
8/8/15
Taiwanese Overseas Restaurant Month
5
9/29/15
Celebrating Moon Festival with Vietnamese Food Junkies Group’s meetup
Unable to measure
Yes
10/18/15
To celebrate achievement of Yelp 100 Challenge
10
Blog
11/8/15
To cheer on Yelper Eddie S at Ironman.
5




Saturday, September 26, 2015

Moon Festival

What's is special about Sunday, September 27? This is the traditional Chinese moon festival, as well as the Total Lunar Eclipse only happens once every 2.5 years. I created an Event on Yelp http://www.yelp.com/events/houston-celestial-event-total-lunar-eclipse-2015 just to entice and remind people of such great celestial event.

I also want to promote local grocery stores and bakeries in Chinatown. They're selling some yummy moon cakes, whether it's imported or freshly baked. You should give them a try.
Low sugar low fat variety moon cake purchased at Yin Wall City

Grocery Stores:
Welcome Food Center - http://www.yelp.com/biz/welcome-food-center-houston-2
H Mart - http://www.yelp.com/biz/h-mart-houston
Viet Hoa International Foods - http://www.yelp.com/biz/viet-hoa-international-foods-houston
Jusgo Supermarket - http://www.yelp.com/biz/jusgo-supermarket-houston
Dynasty Supermarket - http://www.yelp.com/biz/dynasty-supermarket-houston

Specialty Stores:
Yin Wall City (not real grocery store) - http://www.yelp.com/biz/yin-wall-city-houston
Hong Kong Seafood City - http://www.yelp.com/biz/hong-kong-seafood-city-houston

Bakeries:
Kamalan Bakery - http://www.yelp.com/biz/kamalan-bakery-houston
Six Ping - http://www.yelp.com/biz/six-ping-houston
Olympic Chinese Bakery - http://www.yelp.com/biz/olympic-chinese-bakery-houston
I-Ping Bakery - http://www.yelp.com/biz/i-ping-bakery-houston
Six Ping - http://www.yelp.com/biz/six-ping-houston-5
IBUN Bakery - http://www.yelp.com/biz/ibun-bakery-houston
Mee Ho Bakery - http://www.yelp.com/biz/mee-ho-bakery-houston
Six Ping - http://www.yelp.com/biz/six-ping-houston-2

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Aloha TexFest 2015

To tell you the truth, I lived in Houston for almost 10 years and I thought I would never see any folks from the Islands and listen to the familiar melodies.

Last week, just so happened that I was poking around on Yelp Events and found Aloha TexFest during Labor Day Weekend. Oh yeah! I'm in! Mahalo to Nina P. for the posting.

I, for one, waited 8 years for this one-and-only Aloha Festival since I heard about it. Suddenly, it disappeared from the cyberspace. According a long-time vendor, there were a few missed years due to hurricane and other emergencies.
Various vendors showcase their crafts, talents and cuisine.
The event was an eye-opener for many people who never seen live hula dancers and fire performers. For me, it was my opportunity to network with people of common interests and to get out of Houston to see Clear Lake for the first time. My impression was like, "wow, ocean!" (Not really, it was a lake close to the bay.)

I didn’t stay for the entire show due to heavy rain and long commute. From the photos and videos posted on Facebook, I could see what I missed. For the amount of energy and aloha spirit, this was the best entertainment on Earth that money can't buy.

Landolt Pavilion at Clear Lake Park is made for this festival. The location resembled the looks and feels of Hawaii. There isn't any place near Houston that has a soothing ocean breeze. I was truly amazed with this awesome experience. 

So, next year, I am going to bring more people to attend Aloha TexFest. Hana hou, y’all!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Yelp Profile Redesign

Why does my profile on Google Chrome look different started last weekend? Oh, wait. Every profile looked the same as mine, including non-elites. It was just awkward to see elements in different places. I got so used to using the app. It took me awhile to get used to the new iPhone version 10.

So, I posted a thread on Yelp Talk: Yelp Profile Redesign. So far, there isn't a single person has the same view as me. I thought it may disappear after a reboot my Windows 7 laptop. But I still see it.

There was no change on Internet Explore. Am I on a beta testing that I'm not aware of? I didn't see any mention of this on Yelp Engineering Blog, Yelp Official Blog, and Developer Blog. Mmm...


Google Chrome 44 - profile image slideshow like on an app

Internet Explore 11

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Time for Taiwan UYE

My recent Time for Taiwan UYE was filled with lots of fun, energy and conversations. I love it. That's how an UYE should be.

This UYE was created with helps from many Yelpers. The UYE idea came from Jamie A. as I posted an event on 2015 Time For Taiwan-Restaurant Month in Houston (I also posted one in Dallas). Then, I solicited on the Talk thread. Chris C recommended Cafe 101 because alcohol beverages are available.

I was a little discouraged to proceed after many obstacles: can't modify the time, low RSVP turnout and scorching Houston's 101°F+ heat. But I was craving for some Taiwanese food. It actually went very well.
Que N & Sarah Y; Lou & Depp; Sarah Y & Matt S

I have so many ties with Taiwan.

  • Yelp added Taiwan as 5th market in Asia this April. I made contact with CM Roxanne L.
  • I have plans to visit my birthplace in October 2016.
  • My recent review on the 2nd Annual Taiwan Yes Taiwan Way Festival.
  • I saw an ad on local newspaper about this interesting event across the country - "Time for Taiwan Restaurant Month". I contacted the organizer and found some interesting facts and decided to post them on Yelp events page. There were 128 Yelpers in Dallas and 148 Yelpers in Houston that were interested. I'm sure if they do this again next year, I could help them to drum up more support.
  • Just by asking around, there are few people interested to have an UYE.

This is how I started the Time for Taiwan UYE.