Thursday, February 28, 2013

Vegan, Yo . . . Or Something Like It

Well, I've officially been vegan (well, more plant-based but you get the idea) for 2 weeks. And me oh my do I feel great. 

I know. Hell must've frozen over because Julie hasn't eaten cheese in 14 days. Hell must've frozen over twice because I just referred to myself in the 3rd person. I hate when Julie does that.

I've had energy to burn, I'm sleeping better, needing less sleep than usual in fact, and feel like I have more self-control than I've ever experienced. All in all, I'm kinda loving this. 

Here's a little roundup of the things I've attempted at making these last two weeks and ones I just can't wait to try!

1. Cashew Cream "Cheese" - so good with dates on toast or crackers.
2. Pho inspired noodle bowl from My New Roots - Best pho broth i've ever had and my new favorite food blog. She's so inspiring!
3. Green Thai curry - Easy peasy and I've probably eaten it for 5 meals so far.

Here are a few dishes that look too good to pass up. They'll make their way into my kitchen (and tummy) very soon!

1. Apple kale salad
2. Tomato and rosemary soup
3. Blood orange braised cabbage and barley (!!!!)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

American Express and Twitter: Why AmEx Sync Will Be a Hit

Below is an article I recently contributed to Digital Marketer. See the piece here and enjoy!

American Express and Twitter announced their brand new partnership this week that will allow tweeters to make purchases simply by doing what they do best... tweeting. At first glance it seems like a pretty painless process. You start by syncing your American Express card to your Twitter account. Once this is done you can purchase "special offers" by sending a tweet to your followers regarding the product that includes specific hashtags. AmEx then sends you a confirmation tweet. Once you respond your order is processed. Pretty painless (and pretty dangerous for impulse shoppers like yours truly).

While the program's features are incredibly striking, I'm actually more interested in the marketing strategy behind this. And this has digital marketing brilliance written all over it.

American Express seems to consistently be ahead of the social marketing curve as they have actively sought to engage social consumers. Just last March they launched AmEx Sync, originally a promotion that allowed buyers to receive discounts on items by tweeting certain hashtags. And they've continued to innovate ways to reach the social customer. I believe there are important and unique aspects to this program that we could all take a note from...

It taps into the consumer's desire to share their experience with others
AmEx knows we like to talk, share, and maybe even brag a little. Many people turn to Twitter out of habit to share exciting news or new information with their followers. I think most people will be happy to use Twitter to show off their snappy new purchases.

It socially markets itself
It requires the buyer to spread the word. And since these consumers will, for the most part, be excited about their new purchase- the tweets will be very positive ones. Adding validity to the program and positively marketing the products.

It uses the concept of  "special offers" and "trends" to make sales
AmEx knows that for many people it's hard to pass up on a deal (think on the success of Groupon, Living Social, and Facebook Deals). It's also difficult to pass up on a deal you see your close group of friends and influencers taking (let's be honest, we all like to keep up with Jones').
All in all, this is an incredibly innovative program and impressively shows off the companies ability to understand it's customer and adjust their marketing and product accordingly. I, for one, am impressed.

What do you think of AmEx Sync? Will you buy in?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thought For the Day


“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”

Thomas Merton

Happy Valentine's Day, loves!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Girls, Take Yourself Seriously

My Dear Girls-

Take yourselves seriously. Work hard for the respect of others. As far as you are concerned carry yourself in a manner that communicates how much you respect yourself. Other's will believe you. And if they don't, the joke's on them. Embrace your beauty but hesitate before using your sexuality to gain advancement - in the long run it only deteriorates people's opinion of you. It deteriorates their opinion of all of us. Hold yourself with unmistakable dignity. Speak clearly with assertiveness. Ditch any passive aggressiveness as well as any unnecessary aggression. Gossip never. Talk about ideas more. And don't forget to love.


“You may not agree with a woman, but to criticize her appearance — as opposed to her ideas or actions — isn’t doing anyone any favors, least of all you. Insulting a woman’s looks when they have nothing to do with the issue at hand implies a lack of comprehension on your part, an inability to engage in high-level thinking. You may think she’s ugly, but everyone else thinks you’re an idiot.” - Hillary Clinton

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sessùn Spring/Summer 2013 Collection

I haven't had enough of winter yet and do very much want the cold to stick around. But after seeing this Sessùn catalog I started to get a little spring pep in my step. 

I seem to always battle the inner struggle between whimsy feminine dressing and clean menswear for women.  Tough life, I know. This seems like a good mix to me. The tailored, high-waisted shorts mixed with flowey blouses boasting peter pan collars. Feminine sandals, oxfords. Gah - Swoon.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Vodka Infusing Experiment

Have you ever infused alcohol before? I hadn't and was actually pretty intimidated by it. I mean, the word "infusing" sounds complicated with room for some serious error. And if there's room for error - I'll make them all.

I did some reading here and here and decided it was actually simpler than making a sandwich so the boy and I dove right in last weekend, got chopping and canning and gave it a try.

Boy picked bourbon and I tried vodka because it seemed a little less intimidating to me. And I have to say I am so pleased with the results! My favorites were the blood orange vodka, cucumber basil vodka, and basil bourbon. Surprisingly, the basil bourbon was incredibly delicious. I wish I had infused with more blood oranges as it tasted a little subtle, and FYI - cinnamon is strong so it doesn't need to sit for the whole 72 hours. We had a great time and know the next round will be even better. I want to try a mint bourbon for juleps and cilantro jalapeno tequila for margaritas!

I've included a little drink how-to for the cucumber basil vodka. YUM. 

What would you infuse?!

Friday, February 1, 2013

How Sensation Pieces Kill Your Career

Well, maybe not your career in it's entirety, but it will at least shoot a hole in your credibility. And if done repetitively you may just kiss your online reputation goodbye. And once you lose that, know what happens next.

Unless of course you're writing/tweeting/posting for a radical audiences. But I'm assuming you're not.

As mentioned in a previous post, I recently read this article on why no social media manager should be over the age of 25. I'm sure you can imagine the ruffled feathers this caused. Just look:

I detest this article. It a poorly constructed argument written from a barely-there-adult who has very little, if any, professional marketing experience. I understand and agree with most everyone's complaints after reading this. But I'll hand it to Cathryn, she sure knew how to make a post go viral. Which is what I think she was shooting for. 

To date her post has 635 comments, about 7.5 thousand Facebook shares, hundreds of tweets (if not more), and I can't imagine how many times it's been referred to on other blogs over the past few months. For some, this is all the social media success they are looking for. But for others, those social media managers who are making a living by helping companies market themselves well, we're actually looking for deeper results. We need people to agree with us. We need to start meaningful and friendly relationships with the online masses. Otherwise, we're wasting our time and resources. 

I would like to dive a little deeper into the the perils of sensationalism:

Controversy for the sake of controversy
The online reach harvested by sensational pieces may be amazing, but without proof to back up your argument or point you will shoot herself in the foot. You can bet most of job interviews for a social media management position will be conducted by someone older than 25. I'm only 28, but if someone walked into my office with this in their portfolio I sure as heck wouldn't hire them on the basis that their inexperience is so flagrant. 

Sure a little controversy is fine, but there's a difference between walking into a room full of people and telling them why most of 'em suck at their job and gracefully starting a discussion. Keep controversial posts friendly, showing you are willing to learn from your audience. 

Losing an audience's trust
Don't neglect creating content that will KEEP an trusting audience. Sure, it's tempting to get a ton of engagement from a juicy post. In fact, it'll probably drive a sh*t-ton of traffic to your website. The only problem is most of the people who read and engaged with this post will never trust anything you write again. Don't gamble your credibility away for the sake of some Facebook shares.

It's flat out lazy
Sorry, but it is. Creating a sensation piece so you can bask in your fleeting social media fame is shortcutting. It won't drive traffic in the long run, it won't make you an industry leader, and it's kinda embarrassing (I mean, really). Instead, take the time to write meaningful content that your audience will want to engage with over and over again. Even if they disagree with you some of the time, they at least won't feel undervalued. Take the time to research your point (and the counter points) and cultivate deep ideas that will be insightful to your readers. 

Sadly, some people haven't learned yet how to market on these channels (which, I'll discuss later, is what social media management actually is). I won't go so far to say they are all too young or that you shouldn't hire anyone under the age of 25- that would just be way too sensational a statement. I will say that you need to hire someone, or be someone, who understands the difference between conspicuous puff pieces and meaningful, marketable content. 

Cathryn's presence on Next Generation dropped off rather quickly after this post. I won't make any assumptions as to why exactly but I do think we should heed a warning when we see one.