Our New Year’s Resolutions


It’s that time of year again! Time to make resolutions for the new year that we’ll forget in two months. But this time it’s different for us, this time we’re putting our resolutions out on the internet (with a million other people) in the hopes that we’ll actually keep them, or inspire someone else. Oh, yes, this is breaking one of our “Social Media Pet Peeves” (see the blog here), but screw it, we’re allowed to break our own rules!

Ok, so here goes:

  1. Eat Healthy, Work Out, Feel Better About Ourselves Obviously we’re jumping on the New Year’s bandwagon for this one, but it’s a good goal. We’re aiming to tie on those running shoes more often, start thinking about what we eat, and get bikini-ready. I mean we live in San Diego, we pretty much need to be bikini-ready all year long. A few apps that will spur our momentum for this goal are: MapMyRun, Nike Training, MyFitnessPal, Pandora, and Songza.
  2. Join Relevant Clubs – There MAY have been some monetary gifts given this Christmas (the “curse” of being our age – too young to not get gifts but too old to think of something original). What better way to spend our new found cash stash than join a few clubs in our area. This is an opportunity to stay engaged with people in our professions as well as receive some discounts on networking events!
  3. Attend Networking Events Once a Month – So, now that we’re joining these clubs and receiving discounts on events, we better be going! Whether they’re free or fee-based we’ve historically had great times at these events and want to make sure we keep attending (even if we’d rather be chillin’ in our PJs)!
  4. Read Books That Will Help Us Grow as Young Professionals – After finishing grad school it’s really difficult to want to read another book about market research or engagement tactics, but we need to stay fresh! School gave us the insight to see the “ideal” way to act in our professions. It may not always be that way but it’s good to remember the basics, and be given some new insights on a regular basis. Our goal is to read one professionally focused book between pleasure reading. A girl can only get so much insight from Cosmo or the latest trendy read.
  5. Become More Engaged With Co-Workers – We both have some great professional  changes coming in the new year. Our goal is to be more engaged in our new work environments than we may have been previously. We’ve seen the power of “knowing someone” and our goal is to get to know the people around us and learn anything they have to teach us.
  6. Plan Upcoming Blogs Further in Advance – We have become very bad at this. In our first months we had blogs lined up for multiple posts. Being able to write with no pressure and having ideas and written blogs on hand made posting easy. Our resolution is to have at leas 2 pre-written blogs on hand in case there was no inspiration in any given week.

Well, those are our goals. In the coming months, we’ll see how successful we are at them. What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Have you been successful at keeping them in the past?

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Giving Back to Your Profession


The holidays are supposed to be a season of giving and that is something we really saw at Minglebells San Diego. Minglebells is a huge networking event/holiday party where all types of communication professionals in San Diego get together and have a good time, and yes, we had a great time. We caught up with old friends and met some new ones, but one new friend really stood out. Her name is Carmella and she is the president of the San Diego Ad Club.

Nicole's big raffle win.

Nicole’s big raffle win.

Carmella likely knew 75 percent of the people in the room (or so we’re guessing), but she took the time to connect with us in a very genuine and helpful manner. She recognized us as young professionals and asked us something that any new professional would want to hear, but may be afraid to ask. “Is there anyone you want to meet?” Sure the chance to be introduced to any of the well-connected professionals that were mingling out there in the abyss was nice, but the fact that she asked was nicer.

We talked about that simple gesture on the way home and how we hope that later in our careers we remember how much something small like that means to a new professional, or someone changing careers, or new to town.

We both have amazing mentors that have helped us throughout our careers, but mentorship doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment. It can be a simple word of advice, a strategy sesh over coffee, or an introduction. Is there anyone that has made an impact on your career that you would like to recognize this holiday season? Leave us a comment or connect with us on Twitter (our handles are over there, on the right, see ’em?)!

BlogWell LA Recap


On Dec. 5, I attended an awesome gathering of some of the most brilliant social media minds in the country at BlogWell Los blogwellAngeles. BlogWell is something I had heard of, but didn’t want to spend the $250 on registration. However, I am extremely lucky lately and happen to win online contests a lot and I won admission from PRSA San Diego.

While at BlogWell, I felt like I was totally out of my league among social media managers from some of the biggest brands in the world, but that also meant I got to learn a lot. I attended presentations by representatives from McDonalds, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, and Life Technologies. Plus, the CEO of SocialMedia.org gave an ethics presentation.

Here are some of my favorite takeaways:

Want more? Read what was blogged live here.

DIY Christmas


We’re poor. Like the “just starting out, eating Ramen noodles” kind of poor. We really wanted to get in the Christmas spirit this holiday season without spending too much money. In our ideal world we would’ve hit up the Apple store and bought 50 iPad Minis for all our besties, or possibly even some Swarovski-bling. However, that is most definitely not the situation we are in. So, in order to cover all the holiday giving for our super awesome group of gals, Nicole and I decided to throw a holiday party – DIY gifts included.

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We had fist practiced our DIY holiday gift with painted mugs†. Each of us had 6 mugs we dotted, and swooshed, and painted in all kinds of fun ways. Then the question of WHAT TO FILL THE MUGS WITH arose. After perusing Pinterest for a bit we landed on the idea of Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix†. Coupled with a shot of Kahlua from BevMo and a cute ribbon these gifts were done!

Source: penniesonaplatter.com via Blake on Pinterest

Now back to the party planning details! We wanted to have everyone leave our party with a favor and we decided that painting 2o Dollar Tree wine glasses was the PERFECT idea! 5.5 hours later*, we decided we may have taken on more than we could handle. However, the glasses came out adorable and once we came to the conclusion that the beauty of hand painted glasses are the small imperfections on each one, we loved them. When party night rolled around, I wanted to make sure we were really in the Christmas spirit (and we had something for our guests to drink out of their new glasses), so I decided to make mulled wine! I found Ina Garten’s recipe (pinned below) but we modified it a bit†.

Source: foodnetwork.com via Blake on Pinterest 

All-in-all our DIY Xmas turned out fantastic. We had cute gifts to give everyone and even received a few during the white elephant exchange!

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† Recipes and the modifications we used:

PAINTED MUGS/WINE GLASSES

A big thanks to Little Miss MBA for the inspiration on this one.

Our 20 hand painted beauties.

Our 20 hand painted beauties.

  • Glass Mugs/Wine Glasses
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Q-Tips
  • Wine (Optional)

Take the mugs/glasses and clean them with the rubbing alcohol (this gets stinky!). Now set all your inhibitions aside and paint those suckers. We decided our fav pattern for the season was red, green, and white dots made with the Q-Tips. Drink wine as needed to get you through this process. Remember, they’re not all going to come out perfectly, that’s the beauty of DIY Christmas!

SALTED CARAMEL HOT CHOCOLATE MIX

  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract – No modification here but this is still the most vanilla extract I’ve used in one recipe.
  • 1 1/2 cups good quality Dutch cocoa powder – We ended up using an entire Hershey Cocoa box plus a little extra. Yea, yea, it’s not “Dutch” but we figure if you don’t like Hershey you’re not deserving of our delish mix.
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons fleur de sel or good sea salt (My preference is 1-tbsp) We had no clue how to find this, so we used store-brand (plus, we’re on a budget here!). ONLY USE 1-TSP!!!! PLEASE! Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
  • 1 cup dry milk powder – WHERE THE HECK can you find dry milk powder that does not come in 1,000,000 lb packs? We ended up using powdered coffee creamer – at $2.24 it was a much better deal
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar – And the Dollar Tree comes through again! We used almost double this amount 😉
  • 10 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips – We splurged on the chips. Ghirardelli all the way.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Heat the 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar in a large heavy pan, over medium heat, without stirring. When the sugar begins to melt, take the handle of the pan and swirl it to melt without burning. The sugar might seem to crystallize, but it will eventually melt to a deep amber color. (Can take 10-15 minutes, so be patient.) This took WAY longer for us – be prepared.

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the vanilla. Whisk the caramel until smooth again, then immediately pour it onto the lined baking sheet. Allow it to spread without touching it. Set aside and let the caramel harden, at least 1 hour.

When ready to make the mix, use the back of a large spoon to tap the caramel several times into small broken pieces that can fit into the feeding tube of a large food processor. Turn the processor on, and while running, feed the caramel pieces into the tube so the processor pulverizes the caramel into a fine powder. Continue to add the pieces, a few at a time, until it is completely powder (a cloud of caramel dust will float out of the tube). Turn the processor off and follow the next steps to complete the mix. As usual I didn’t read the recipe fully when we started to make this…I don’t have a food processor. This was an excruciatingly long process with my immersion blender and various attachments.

Add the rest of the ingredients, except the chocolate, into the food processor with the caramel powder. Replace the lid and process until smooth. Add the chocolate to the bowl and process again until the mixture is a fine powder.

Store in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place for up to one month. To serve, stir 3 tablespoons mix into 1 cup hot milk.

MULLED WINE

Ingredients (we doubled the recipe)

  • 4 cups apple cider – We used 6 cups instead of 8, anymore and we thought it tasted too apple-y. Go figure.
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon – We used 2 bottles of a Cab (more wine – happier party attendees!).
  • 1/4 cup honey – We only used 1/4 cup for the doubled recipe, I don’t like things too sweet.
  • 2 cinnamon sticks – I LOVE spices, I threw in 5.
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced – We stayed in line and used 2 for the doubled recipe I now want a fancy zester to add garnishes.
  • 4 whole cloves – Trader Joe’s did not have cloves so we didn’t use any out of pure laziness on my part of not wanting to hit-up another store.
  • 3 star anise – EWWW I hate the licorice flavor, I left these out too.
  • 4 oranges, peeled, for garnish – I just used the 2 oranges I had to squeeze – again, I need a fancy tool to make ganish.

Directions

Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve. <– Forget that. Throw it in a crock pot and forget about it!

*I may have deluded you all a bit here in order to make the story better. The 5.5 hours included painting all of the 20 wine glasses, making the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix and packaging said mix.

Social Media Self-Assessment


As I typically do on any given night, a few evenings ago I was virtually stalking connecting with people via Facebook. One of my friends posted a link to a site called Zeebly that scans ALL of your activity and “analyzes your life on Facebook.” Obviously, I immediately HAD to see my stats and went to the site and ran the Social Me application.

I was extremely excited as I watched my data be crunched and all of my old Facebook posts scanned across the screen. Of course I sent my results to Nicole and within minutes she had sent me hers. So now let’s compare our results:

Blake:

Personality Traits:

  • Ambitious & extroverted

Interests:

  • Education, beverages, social media, the internet, marketing, travel, food

Fun Facts:

  • I use more words per sentence than 95% of people
  • I am more spatial than 88% of people

{Click on the images to see our full results & run your Social Me}.

Blake's Zeebly

Nicole:

Personality Traits:

  • Ambitious & optimistic

Interests:

  • Fashion, travel, community, shopping, education, research, movies

Fun Facts:

  • Nicole uses more words per sentence than 93% of people
  • Nicole uses less punctuation in her writing than 86% of people
  • Nicole is more optimistic than 87% of people

{Click on the images to see our full results & run your Social Me}.

Screen shot 2012-12-06 at 7.47.07 AM

So,

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This is what happens when you give a Beagle French-bread. She won’t leave.

Now we’re confused. Nicole is on her way to get a Ph.D. in Public Relations, an area incredibly focused on writing and language, but she uses less punctuation than 86% of people? Also, if she talked about these specified “interests” as much as this program says it would take up 102% of her posting content….I mean, I know I’ve seen a good amount of posts about food, but that’s not even mentioned! My “interests” also add up to 102% (suspicious) but I know I have divulged an exorbitant amount of information about my incredibly cute dog, Brooke (see picture!)

Being social media obsessed, Nicole and I, often use the “latest-and-greatest” in social media scores and we’re often left perplexed at the outcomes. I mean I’m currently listed on Klout as being Influential about Republicans and money – as a broke Democrat it makes me laugh. MUCH more accurate is Nicole being an Influencer about cookies and drugs…yup sounds about right.

Basically, we know these sites can’t predict our personalities or how incredibly awesome we are to follow and friend on social media, but it does teach us valuable lessons on how our sarcasm doesn’t come across online. I mean one Tweet about Girl Scouts being the drug-dealers of cookies or a sarcastic rant on how you would frivolously spend money if you had it, brands your identity on online ranking sites.

OMG, Really?!

Coming soon to Zeebly? A “Friend Matcher” tool which will show you “how compatible you are with your friends.” SOOOOOOO excited to see if Nicole and my 20+ year relationship will be verified by this online tool.