“Email! Email! Read All About It!” Tutorial


  1. Go to VerticalResponse.com.
  2. Create a free account with your Email address and personal password.
  3. Choose the “Email Campaign” option.
  4. From the “Pick a Template” menu, choose “Purpose” and then “Newsletter/General”.
  5. Click “Select” on the template of your choice.
  6. It’s time to get creative by entering text and images, relevant to your entity, into the blocks of your choice. You may change the background color of the newsletter as well.
  7. Once you have a finished product, hit “Save” (bottom right).
  8. Then hit “Next”.
  9. Enter a subject in the “Subject Line Required” field.
  10. Hit “Save”.
  11. Hit “Save & Exit”.
  12. Under the Contacts tab, create an “Email List” by hitting the “+” button.
  13. Enter a name for your list of DS106 recipients (you do not need to “Allow people to sign up for this list”) and hit “Next”.
  14. From the next screen, I chose to add my contacts manually.
  15. Enter a contact’s Email address and then hit “Save & Add Another”.
  16. Repeat Step #15 until you have entered at least 5 DS106 contacts. Also, add your own Email as a contact, so you will have a copy of the newsletter! *This is important because once you send it, it will be deleted from VerticalResponse and you won’t have a copy to submit on flickr and add to your blog post.
  17. After entering the last contact, hit “Save & Exit”.
  18. Choose the “Messages” tab and click on your Email. Scroll down and hit “Next”.
  19. “Select Your Audience” by checking the box next to your “List” and then click “Send Now”.
  20. Upon receiving the newsletter to your own Email address, either take a screenshot of it or print a hard copy and take a photo of it (this is necessary if your newsletter is too large to screenshot, as mine was!), in order to submit it to flickr and add to your blog post.

Newsletter! Newsletter! Read All About It!

This prompt is the first original assignment that I created, and this week was the perfect opportunity to do so. Since we had to complete five stars of web assignments, and there are few that lend themselves to sharing the formation of  Black Widow Agency and how it operates,  I developed one that requires the creation of an email newsletter. I figured this would be a perfect way to go.  However, I wasn’t sure how to submit it to the ds106 Assignment Bank, so I asked another girl in my class, Kendall (I can’t remember her last name), to submit it for me under her name. She was kind enough to oblige and even added a sentence at the end to give me credit. I named the assignment, “Email! Email! Read All About It!” ,and the prompt I developed states:

For this assignment, use the website Vertical Response to create an email newsletter for a fictional agency, company, organization, etc. After you sign up for a free account, Vertical Response allows you to choose from newsletter templates, into which you can insert text and images. You may tell the story of how your entity formed, give background information on the members/employees, and/or provide viewers with current happenings. Once completed, send it to at least 5 people in the DS106 community, so they may share your exciting news! Since there is no shared embedding link for this website, please screenshot or take a photo of the printed newsletter (hard copy), in order to share it on flickr and in your blog post. The idea for this assignment was developed by Julia James.

I valued this assignment at 3 points.

As per my own instructions, I chose a template from the Vertical Response website, for a newsletter, to announce the formation of Black Widow Agency. I decided to use it to give background information about the members of BWA, including myself. I emailed the finished product to the three other members of our agency (Edie, Sylvia, and Margaret), Professor Jim Groom, and Kendall. I even added a link to our Twitter account, on the email, so the recipients may follow us. Since my newsletter was too long to screenshot, I merely printed it out and took a photo of it with my iPhone, in order to post on flickr.

BWA Newsletter

I really hope that many people complete this assignment, because I worked hard to create it. Plus, is there a better way to announce the formation of an entity?!  I think not!

Jewel out. <3

Put Away Your Books…Pop Quiz!

What is the best way to really learn something? A quiz, of course! That is why I chose to complete the “Pop Quiz!” assignment. It states:

Using a free online quiz service (I used PollSnack), create a quiz that shows off your knowledge of a particular story. Try to make it interesting enough through the questions you choose and the way you phrase your answers that someone taking the quiz is able to see that there’s a larger narrative informing the questions. Your quiz should have at least three outcomes and at least five questions.

This assignment is worth 2 points.

It will add to the success of Black Widow Agency if prospective clients can differentiate between the four agency members, so I created an online pop quiz to see if participants are able to detect which answers I gave to the five questions included. I think it is the best way for people to really get to know me and how I think. And, even if the answer is incorrect, the quiz reveals biographical information about the chosen agent. There are four possible outcomes to this quiz: Julia James (that’s me!), Edie Waz, Sylvia Stone, and Margaret Pinault.

I created this quiz through Poll Snack. It contains five questions and four possible answers for each question. The dark color red used for the background of the quiz was chosen based on our agency’s theme colors, dark red and black. Check out the quiz here: Which Black Widow Agency members’ answers are Jewel’s?

If you know me well enough, then you will  get the correct outcome. If not, no worries, you will learn more about one of the other Black Widow Agency members. Either way, you are learning about a great agency that will help a lot of desperate women! Best of luck! ;)

Jewel out.

You Follow the Map…It Knows the Way!

When searching for assignments together, Brianne Comden and I came across the “Google History Maps Story”, which we thought would be perfect for our characters, as they were connected in our radio show as grandmother and granddaughter. We also thought it would be great to collaboratively work on this assignment because it would allow our ideas to mesh like they did so well during brainstorming for the “MaNOIRpulators”, and also, we would get bonus points. Who doesn’t love bonus points?! The prompt states:

Use Google Maps to tell a story of historical or literary figure! The only rules are that you have to use Google Maps proper in order to tell the story- the map by itself should tell a story. You will need to create a map under “My Places” and edit the map o add your locations. The story portions should be added to the descriptions in each location, use text, links, even pictures. In your blog post, use the link tool to embed and or link to your map.

This assignment is worth 3 points.

We began by studying our own character dossiers so that we could find a way to link both of them in one story. Since Margaret Pinault, Brianne’s character, is deceased, we decided to make Julia James take a trip to visit her grandmother’s grave in France, while also doing some “business”. Julia ultimately uses the trip to visit the grave as a cover for her real reason to be there: she is working a job for a woman who wants her degrading husband out of her life…forever. Therefore, this Google Maps story follows Julia as she leaves Chicago for Denain, France, the birthplace of her grandmother and the place where she is buried. She leaves the grave for Margaret’s home in Paris, where she picks up “something” and then continues to her grandmother’s art gallery, Gaston Art Gallery. After meeting with a client there, she makes her way to the Sully Hotel, where she meets the woman’s husband and takes him to dinner. Following that, Julia makes an urgent trip to La Seine river to “drop him off”. She then returns to Gaston Art Gallery to gather money from her client and pick up a piece of art that her grandmother left her years ago. By bringing this piece back home to America, it creates an even better cover story for her trip. Julia makes her way to the Denain Airport to fly back home to Chicago, about $3,000 richer and with a piece of art. The details of this story are outlined in the interactive map below, so I do not want to give away too much before you take the trip with Julia yourself.

We utilized Google Maps to create this story, as per the directions, and added text and some images to each location and the lines connecting them. Each connector line is labeled with the place she leaves and the place to which she travels. For example, when she leaves Chicago for Denain, the line is labeled, “Chicago–Denain”. If you follow the map step-by-step, you will be treated to a very mysterious and compelling short story, or at least Brianne and I think so! This assignment allowed us to connect our characters and give them a richer backstory than they already had. By the way, I was very pleased with how I could embed an interactive map into this blog post. It is so cool that I can’t stop playing with it! I encourage you to do the same!

Can I Pinterest You in Our New Board?

When searching for assignments that would ideally combine my character with another, I found the prompt, “You’re a Pinteresting Character”, which states:

Build a Pinterest page of at least 20 pins for a character of your choice. Search for pins that relate to your character and things that he or she would want to pin for themselves. Use X-Ray Goggles from Hackasaurus to modify the board further to personalize it for your character. Bonus points if you build a page and have visitors to your blog guess which character you picked!

This assignment is worth 4 points.

Rather than building the page for only Julia James, I made it a joint page for Julia and her cousin, Edie Waz, as their relationship was established in our radio show, “The MaNOIRpulators”. The 20 pins were divided, with 10 relating to Julia and 10 relating to Edie. I studied my own character dossier and that of Aubrey Howland‘s, the creator of Edie, to find pins that apply to all aspects of the characters’ lives.

Pinterest board

I will begin with an explanation of Julia’s 10 pins, which highlight her favorite things, her classic look, and her interests.

1) Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka is the main ingredient in her favorite martini that she enjoys after a long, hard day at both of her jobs.



2) Upon graduation from high school, she got accepted into Harvard but was unable to go, due to her parents’ divorce. Therefore, it is, and always will be, a dream of hers to attend law school there.


3) Julia is a natural beauty, so she does not feel the need to lather on make-up. She always goes for the natural look, especially with her eye makeup.

Natural Eye Makeup

4) She often does not have time in her day to apply a lot of make-up, which is one of the reasons why a natural look works so well. A minimalist routine gets the job done!

Minimalist Makeup

5) Jewel’s all-time favorite book is, “The Black Dahlia,” so she had to pin this one up on her board, of course!

Black Dahlia


6)  Julia must work out consistently to maintain the tight body that helps attract her “targets”, but it is also something that she loves to do.

Ab Workout


7) In the midst of all of her sexy blouses and high heels, the one piece of clothing that Jewel is sure to wear daily is her signature black pencil skirt. Therefore, she wears it in a variety of ways to spice up her look.

Skirt wearing


8) Julia lives her life based upon the idea that women are strong and independent, and therefore, this quotes speaks to her soul and background.



9) As a big fan of enjoying a delicious alcoholic beverage at the end of the day, Julia is always looking for cocktails that satisfy that desire without hurting her healthy diet.



10) The final pin of Julia’s is her subtle weapon of choice, sharp scissors. She carries them on her person constantly for times that she may “need” them.

Hair scissors

Julia’s cousin, Edie, has some similar interests when it comes to drinking and her look. However, she also has some things that are all her own.

1) As the owner of her husband’s bar, in his mysterious absence, Edie must learn the lingo that is used by its customers.

Bar vocab


2) Edie is a Polish woman who grew up in the Polish section of Philadelphia and always longs to get back to her roots.



3) A major part of her classic look is a big hat and mesh veil that she wears with mystery.

Veil and hat

4) Edie smokes all of the time, typical of a woman in distress and a woman who grew up the way she did.


5) Another aspect of her fashion statement is tight, black clothing. She wears a different combination of tight garments, always in black, everywhere she goes.

Tight black clothes


6) As a girl standing just above average height, she often wears high heels to seem more imposing.

Black heels

7) Short girls often have a tough time finding fashion trends that fit their body type, so Edie is sure to pin them to her board.

Short girl fashion


8) Edie grew up in Port Richmond, Philadelphia, also known as Fishtown. It is the polish section of the city where she left after her mother died.


9) When Edie smokes, which she started after her mother’s death, she often chooses to smoke cigars.


10) Edie’s final pin is a Polish proverb. She often speaks in these proverbs, as she has a rich knowledge of them.

Polish proverb



These pins represent almost everything that is Julia and Edie. These cousins have dark pasts and even darker futures. I found the pins by either searching Google and using the “Pinterest” button to add it to the board or by searching Pinterest directly. Completing this board was an ideal way to visually portray Aubrey’s and my character dossier, as well as strengthen the connection between Julia and Edie. This assignment was fun and allowed me to branch out into the social media world even more by creating a Pinterest account for Julia, in addition to her Twitter and Gmail.