Making Food More Social at Bite of Seattle

Since the first time a foodie snapped a phone pic of their meal, social media and cuisine have gone hand in hand. From sites like Yelp that help you find the best sushi in your ‘hood, to roving food carts that tweet their current location to their followers, to amateur chefs who post updates on their latest kitchen triumphs, it seems like everyone is sharing their meals online.

So, for our second year as sponsors of Bite of Seattle, it seemed natural to make social media a big part of our plans.

The Bite isn’t just a food festival — it’s the Northwest’s biggest free community festival, which attracted some 375,000 food and music lovers in 2012. This year’s event (happening this weekend, July 19-21) features over 60 restaurants offering the best from the Seattle food scene. We’re talking to-die-for dishes like Peking duck tacos, elk salad, fresh grilled salmon, and deep-fried lasagna, along with a plethora of drinks, snacks, specialty foods, and desserts. Deliciousness all around, just begging to be shared.

#TweetWhatYouEat at Bite of Seattle

Our Tweet What You Eat Twitter Sweepstakes encourages guests to tweet what they eat at the Bite for a shot at cool prizes*, like gift cards to Seattle’s top restaurants or a private gourmet food tour for the winner and 11 of their friends. We’ll be giving out multiple prizes per day and everyone gets something for participating. And you can help your favorite restaurants win too — the Bite of Seattle restaurant that’s mentioned in the most tweets at the festival gets a cash prize.

Esurance will be there at our booth near the Fountain Lawn Stage. Drop by to learn about the sweeps, pick up prizes, or just hang out at our comfy seating area (complete with tables and umbrellas) while you listen to your favorite local bands and enjoy the bounty of the festival.

We’re very excited about the sweeps and seeing which restaurants get the most buzz. And trying the duck tacos. But we’re not just there for the food. (Really.) We’re also making the festival experience a little greener by bringing composting and recycling to the Bite.

So if you’re in the Seattle area this weekend, be sure to come by the Bite! And if you do, don’t forget to #TweetWhatYouEat.

Not going to the Bite this year? Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to find out about sponsorships in your area.

*No purchase necessary. Washington residents 18+. Subject to Official Rules.

The Bumper Sticker Phenomenon: How It Began (and Why It Stuck Around)

Like a pin on your lapel or a logo on your T-shirt, bumper stickers are a way of expressing your identity. Read on to discover how the bumper-sticker trend began — and how it’s evolved over the years.

The birth of the bumper sticker

When the Ford Model A was introduced in 1927, it featured prominent front and rear bumpers. Car owners immediately thought, “I must use this surface to express my opinions and preferences!” And lo, the bumper as pontification space was born.

At first, bumper signs were made of metal or cardboard and attached to the bumper with wire. The bumper sticker as we know it was invented in 1946 by a Kansas City screen printer named Forest P. Gill. After World War II, he found himself with a surplus of adhesive-backed paper and fluorescent paint so he decided to combine them. No one knows for sure what the first bumper sticker said (our guess: “I’d Rather Be Squeegeeing”). But the stickers soon became popular as mementos of fairs and other events.

The stories behind the stickers

Many of the early, metal bumper plates supported presidential candidates, so it’s surprising that the first political bumper stickers weren’t printed until the Eisenhower-Stevenson race in 1952. Stickers supporting (or vehemently not supporting) a political candidate or party are still big sellers, along with an infinite variety of other messages, ranging from the classic “My Other Car Is a Porsche/Boat/Horse” to the ever-popular “My Child Is an Honor Student at Local Elementary School.”

Here are the stories behind a few of the most iconic bumper stickers:

HONK if you …

We’ve all seen bumper stickers encouraging us to honk if we share the driver’s enthusiasm for or belief in something, as in “HONK If You Love Geese!” or “HONK If You Love Pointless Displays of Noise.” This trend dates back to the days of Nixon’s impeachment when “HONK If You Think He’s Guilty” was often seen on bumpers in DC.

Baby on Board

Few stickers have prompted such scoffing (or parody) as this ubiquitous yellow diamond. The usual snarky response upon seeing it: “Well, gee, I was going to hit you, but now I won’t!” (Not that I ever said that, of course.) Despite the sarcasm it provoked, the sign’s creator, Michael Lerner, was quite sincere in his intentions. After a hair-raising experience driving his 18-month-old nephew around Boston, the childless Lerner wanted to remind drivers that they share the road with children and need to be extra careful. His design was based on similar car-safety signs used in Europe.

The election is over. Now what?

Maybe your candidate won. Maybe not. In either case, your 2012 sticker is so, well, 2012. Here are 2 methods for getting no-longer-wanted stickers off your bumper:

Heat method

Hold a hair dryer about 6 inches from one corner of the sticker to soften the adhesive. Use your fingernail or a razor blade to gently lift the corner off the surface. Then, apply heat to the whole sticker and slowly peel the corner back until the sticker comes free.

Lubricant method

Gently peel up a corner of the sticker using your fingernail or a razor. Apply a spray lubricant such as WD-40 to the corner and begin to pull up slowly. Continue applying lubricant as you gradually peel off the sticker.

Share your thoughts

How do you feel about bumper stickers? Do you have any on your car? What’s your favorite bumper sticker? Let us know!

Win Opening Night Tickets to Attend the US Open with the Bryan Brothers

At Esurance, we believe in the power of technology to make car insurance better. From our mobile app to the What If® Calculator, we leverage innovative tools to change your car insurance experience.

This year, we’re teaming up with Bob and Mike Bryan to change how you experience the US Open with our sweepstakes.

Opening Night with the Bryans Sweepstakes

Enter the Opening Night with the Bryans Sweepstakes for your chance to win:

  • 2 tickets to opening night with the Bryan Brothers
  • 2-night hotel stay in New York City
  • $2,000 (for travel expenses)
  • A high-tech tennis gift pack

Just “Like” us on Facebook  to start entering.

Sweepstakes ends August 12, 2013 — so come back every day to take your shot at attending opening night with the Bryans.

We’ll notify the winner around August 13. Good luck!

Fascinating tennis facts for fans

You can do a lot more than simply enter the sweeps on our Facebook tab.

While you’re there, discover how technology has changed tennis (and insurance) with our infographics, watch the Bryans time travel through the unforgettable eras of tennis, and take a peek at exclusive behind-the-scenes content.

The stuff our legal team makes us say
*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Enter at facebook.com/esurance by following the on-screen links and instructions. You may need to “Like” the page to complete and submit the sweepstakes entry form. Subject to Official Rules found here. Begins at 3 p.m. PT on 7/12/13. Ends at 12 p.m. PT on 8/12/13. Open to 21+ in all U.S. states and DC, limit 1 entry. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Sponsor: Esurance Insurance Services, Inc. 650 Davis Street, San Francisco, CA 94111.

 

The First Step to Figuring Out Renters Insurance: Take Inventory

Moving is a full-time job, one that you probably don’t have a lot of extra time to manage. Whether you’re headed down the street or across the country, there are a million things to do, and taking inventory for your homeowners or renters insurance probably isn’t at the top of your list.

I can sympathize. Last month, I packed up my life in Detroit to move west and join the Esurance team in San Francisco. Although I may not look it (I fear the bags under my eyes will be a permanent accessory), I’m actually getting settled in my new life by the Bay. Boxes are unpacked, IKEA furniture assembled, and I haven’t lost my balance on the train in a week.

What have I still not tackled? Renters insurance.

It’s not that I don’t realize the importance of insuring my stuff (I do work at Esurance). But whenever I begin to research policies, I’m stopped the second I have to enter the amount of coverage I actually need. How much stuff do I have? How much is it worth? I have absolutely no idea.

Inventorying a life’s worth of things is a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re starting with a blank slate. Add the fact that you have to put a cash value on that integrated tube amp your boyfriend bought on eBay and it becomes downright terrifying.

But fear not, my friends! Taking inventory doesn’t have to be so bad. There’s an app for that!

In fact, there are a handful, and I’ve spent the past few days getting familiar with the best ones to keep your stress levels low and your treasures accounted for.

myInventory

Available for iOS devices
Cost: free (sort of)

myInventory’s clean and simple design makes it super easy to use. Not only is it intuitive, but myInventory features both a photo option and a barcode scanner that can (sometimes) import the current cash value of your item. Pretty cool and a huge time-saver. You can save standard data including price, warranty, and date of purchase, and myInventory will create a comprehensive list, totaling up your assets.

Best part: myInventory has eBay integrated right into the app, which would be handy if you ever decide to sell those 20-year-old comic books in the basement. The app can also send you a notification if an item’s warranty is about to expire.

Bummer: There are additional charges for all “premium” services. Unfortunately, this includes scanning more than 50 items, having over 100 items listed, and synching your account with other devices.

myHome Scr.APP.book

Available for Android™ and iOS devices
Cost: free

Created by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), myHome Scr.APP.book is a no-frills, nuts-and-bolts inventory app. It offers the basics (snap a photo, enter price and purchase date, and you’re good to go) and you can add as many items as you want. It’s not flashy, but it’s straightforward and allows you to turn your list into a PDF or email so you always have a backup.

Best part: The NAIC includes some insurance “preparedness” tips, which can help you determine the right policy for you.

Bummer: It doesn’t have a barcode scanner, but you can save the serial number of your 60-inch plasma TV — you just need to enter it manually.

Belongings

Available for iOS devices
Cost: free

I’ve always been a sucker for packaging, and Belongings is, in my opinion, the most visually pleasing of the bunch. Belongings is easy to navigate and offers unlimited items, a barcode scanner, a desktop version, and an iPad® companion app.

Best part: Belongings has a “statistical inventory” feature that will give you a ballpark figure of what your assets roughly amount to. Just answer a few simple questions and boom: you’ve got a cash value. Obviously, it’s still best to keep a detailed list of your things, but it’s nice to have a starting point in case you’re not up to the big task just yet.

Bummer: It appears to have a few bugs and can run a bit slow.

No matter which app you choose, keeping an inventory will help you answer the question of “How much?” when choosing either renters or homeowners insurance. And the best part? Tackle it once and it’s easy to add to and update your inventory with new purchases later.

So step up to the challenge, and start cataloging your stuff. When you’re finished, stop by and get a free renters quote from Esurance.

Related links:

Renters insurance FAQ
Time to take inventory

 

Wearable Technology: The Must-Have Accessory for Outside Lands (Video)

What do car insurance and music festivals have in common? Surprisingly, Esurance, since we’ve got innovative tools to make both easier to navigate!

This year, we’re working with ClearHart to bring that innovation to Outside Lands — a 3-day festival of music, food, and art in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park — in the form of near-field communication (NFC).

What is near-field communication?

NFC is the future of seamless connectivity, letting you do the things you want to do with a simple tap. Similar to the technology behind Google Wallet, it’s a small chip that allows 2 devices to talk to each other when they’re in close proximity.

In fact, you might already be using the technology without realizing it. Here in San Francisco, for example, I tap my Clipper card on the scanner to pay for my train commute every day. And the last time I visited a museum, I was able to access info about the art with my phone. That’s NFC technology at work!

NFC at Outside Lands

If you’ve ever been to Outside Lands, you know it’s awesome — great music, mouthwatering cuisine, lands (LANDS!!) devoted to beer and wine. But while Golden Gate Park is renowned for its rugged beauty, it’s not exactly known for its great cell phone reception.

And it’s easy to miss out on cool stuff when you’ve got your head down, trying to find a signal. (And really, how can you clap with a phone in your hands?)

Well, we’ve got the solution. Simply register for an insider band for instant connections, instant memories, and instant chances to win cool prizes.

Insider band benefits

Straight from the future and directly to your wrist, the insider band uses NFC technology to let you stay connected without taking you out of the festival experience. Save memories, take and share pics, find your friends if you lose them, and be entered to win all kinds of awesome prizes and schwag. It’s like having a reliable connection to everything you love at Outside Lands, with just the tap of the wrist.

All you have to do is register here. You can invite your posse too. Then, when you get to the festival, your insider band will be ready for you at Insider HQ at the Polo Field, so you can rock out like a Jetson.

Since it’s uniquely programmed to you, your insider band lets you tap specially marked towers scattered thorough the festival to seamlessly:

  • Find out if you’ve instantly won cool prizes
  • Take photos and upload them to Facebook
  • Download set lists
  • Remember food and drinks you liked
  • Check in and find your friends
  • Leave them messages so they can find you

When it’s all over, you can relive your favorite moments by accessing your online memory bank … full of photos, music, and cool stuff you did during your epic weekend at Outside Lands.

So, when other people lose their friends or are missing the best moments because of poor reception and dead batteries, you can kick back and enjoy the show knowing you’re one of the insiders.

Head to the Outside Lands website to register for your insider band while supplies last! Otherwise, you may end up like our poor friend Lloyd:

Related links

Find out who’s playing Outside Lands this year