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Sunday, August 31, 2008

How often should I post in my blog?

When you're just starting out this may be one of the most frequently asked questions about having a blog. Some people begin with enthusiasm and exuberance. They see their blog as a creative outlet or a way to reach their fans en masse. Others begin with a bit of trepidation feeling unsure as to what to say or how to say it.

All in all I'd like to think that everyone starts a blog with the best of intentions. A new blog can become a wonderful tool to connect with friends, family, industry professionals and clients. BUT, and it's a big BUT, only if you maintain it by posting in it at least a few times a month. There is a point where your neglected blog crosses over from being a potential asset to a liability. A neglected blog may deliver a message you don't want people to receive. It may say that you either don't care or don't have time to stay connected with your readers. Either way the message could translate as "You're not important enough" *Ouch!* and that's not a good thing.

But I digress, back to the big question: How often should you post?

Ideally, imo, several times a week is great. Keeping in mind that when it comes to blogging the quality of your posts is more important then the quantity.

A tip: If you you have a blog and aren't posting at least once a week? You might be better off without a blog link on your website then with one. I'm not going to mince words here. it looks BAD when a reader pops onto your blog and you haven't posted in a month, or 6 months or a year or more. I know. I read and because of my Best Wedding Blogs website, review a lot of blogs. Some of you I keep tabs on because I find you so interesting that I subscribed to your blog RSS feed. So I know exactly how long it's been since some of you last posted. I don't want to be the blog police or anything but I thought it was best to let some of you know that if you haven't established a fan base for your blog? It's ok to let your blog take a break, if the break is done in private. You can pull the link until you are able to dedicate more time to your blog then make it public again once you've found the time to regularly update your content.

I blog quite a bit. Some posts may take me 10 minutes to write, others an hour or more. At any given time I'll have several posts started and I'll work on them when I have the time. It's not like you have to dedicate a set amount of time every day... Though maybe dedicating 10 minutes per day to get out one or two posts a week would, imo, be time well spent.

Just my 2¢ which as always you're welcome to take or leave :o)

Oh and for those who may need some assistance at becoming better bloggers or just for a laugh... The fine inventors at Placebos Are Us has come out with a new product for bloggers...


That's right! For the low, low price of $7.95 plus shipping and handling their new "Blog Better" placebos might help you as this description on their website says:

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Let's face it, most blogs are kind of boring, aren't terribly current, and probably have too many pictures of cats on them. Writing good content, every day, about something that people want to read about is hard. Those folks who can do it deserve our praise and thanks.

For the rest of us, we've got these placebos. Sure, they probably won't help you write more often, but maybe if you can remember to take them every day then you'll also remember to post something about whatever comes into your mind."


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Eating Right • Getting Healthy

So this is it. I'm making a change. I've given up on my idea of ever finding a sandwich intern who will drop delicious sandwiches off at my door step each day at noon. Mostly because, if you can believe it, nobody ever applied for the job. So I went grocery shopping the other day because it's hard to eat, at all, when you never have food in your house. LOL.

So here's a peek at what's now in my fridge and cupboards. A little of this and a little of that. Fruits, veggies, grains, some protein sources, and some healthy snack options. Well kind of healthy. I'm sure there are healthier choices but also worse ones too. So far I've got myself on a new three normal meals a day schedule, as opposed to my one huge meal sometime between 5:00 and 10:00 pm schedule I'd been on for the past few years.

Until I set up for this photo I didn't realize that I'd become a fan of the "O" organics brand at Safeway. I've been into the organics movement since it first began. I've also always bought cage free eggs since they've been available. But have just today realized that there is a difference between "cage-free" and "free range" with "free range" being the more humane option for the laying hens themselves. I just found out about Glaum Egg Ranch which is a certified humane company and would love to begin purchasing their eggs the next time I buy some.

I've also done past posts about going vegetarian. For the most part I've become a part time vegetarian choosing to go meatless probably 3/4 or more of the time. I don't eat beef or pork by choice and don't eat shellfish or mollusks because I am allergic to them. That leaves fish and poultry as the two types of animal proteins I still consume on an occasional basis. Maybe one day I'll make the move to no animal protein at all but for now this way of slowly eliminating more and more is working for me. It's amazing how many restaurants now offer vegetarian and vegan options as standard menu choices here in California. It makes it easier to eat less meat for sure. I know not all areas of the country do this but it would seem more and more are moving that direction to offering at least an option or two.

For the most part I'd say my diet is a fusion of Macrobiotics and Dr Steven Pratt's Super Foods RX book. With the addition of a lot of dessert, because life is too short. I could die falling off of a 30 foot cliff in a car while not wearing a seat belt tomorrow. Then what good does depriving myself of foods I love for "health" concerns do me? That actually happened to me once, the falling off of a cliff in the dead of winter in Colorado high country. But I didn't die. Now that's a story. I'll share it with you some day soon.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Francorp - An Introduction to Franchising

Upon my return from Ohio I had one day off then was up at the crack of dawn (if the crack of dawn takes place at 5:45 am) to head out to Millbrae at 6:30 am to attend a franchising seminar. At the moment I don't have any plans to franchise The Flirty Guide. This was simply an investigative learning experience. Because I have received some inquiries as to when I'll be creating more Flirty Guides by both brides and industry professionals nationwide, I thought I should learn more about franchising now as a future possibility for later.

So back to Thursday morning at 7:30 am at the Westin with Christopher Conner. I'm constantly learning new things. I simply love to learn. I'm not only motivated by the gain of knowledge but thoroughly enjoy the discovery process that learning entails. In the past two years the majority of what I've learned has come from taking self imposed immersion courses on the internet reading blogs, news articles, Googling and reading anything and everything I can find on topics like blogging and search engine optimization (SEO) to learning more about online social communities and entrepreneurship.

So to go somewhere, so early in the morning, to learn something was a bit out of my ordinary when it comes to how I've chosen to gain knowledge about business aspects I'm unfamiliar with. But boy was I glad I went!

The presentation a group of 7 of us were given? Far exceeded my expectations. Christopher led the seminar with a casual air inviting us to interrupt with questions or comments whenever we wanted to. After introducing ourselves to the group and discussing where our businesses were at now and what our future plans are, he spent the next 3 hours explaining the franchising process. I came away with a firm grasp not only as to what franchising is all about but because of both the presentation and some one on one time after the seminar I learned how, in particular, my own company will be a viable business model to franchise someday, if I'm so inclined.

I'll be reading this book as soon as I finish "The Tipping Point."

There was much to be gleaned not only from Christopher but from some of the other attendees as well. One in particular, Justin Moreau of Fireplant Media, made a comment that really resonated with me:

"When there is a failure in the economy it creates another opportunity."

He was talking about business owners being able to adapt to what is going on around them. That we can't always just keep doing what we've been doing and remain successful. I love to meet people who recognize that sometimes not only is change necessary but one can embrace it as a progressive challenge to overcome, not an insurmountable obstacle that tolls the impending doom of how "things used to be."

My thanks to Christopher for his time and expertise. If anyone has questions about franchising I would highly recommend you read his blogs and contact him to learn more about what makes a business franchisable and how to do it successfully.

Christopher J. Conner
Vice President of Francorp
www.Francorp.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fresh Flower Bridal Accessories

I was reading my RSS feed this morning when I saw this photo on the blog of Critsey Rowe. An international wedding photographer, Critsey has pretty much seen it all and always takes the time to share what she sees with the rest of us. She's constantly on the go photographing clients throughout the US and overseas. I happen to know that recently she's been taking some trips to NYC to be filmed in a few episodes of the new tv show "My Fair Wedding" with Event Planning Expert and TV personality David Tutera. I'll keep you posted when the show and in particular Critsey's episodes air this fall.


And even with all of that she is one of the best and most dedicated wedding bloggers around! Be sure to visit her blog to view more photos of these incredibly beautiful accessories.

Critsey Rowe On The Flirty Guide
Critsey's Website
Critsey's Blog

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fabergé Egg Wedding Cake Toppers

Another oh so fabulous Flirty Idea!

Gorgeous enough for you? For those who love Fabergé eggs, gilded anything or unusual cake toppers... Gabby at Cake Coquette may have just the topper for you!

Recently Flirty Guide Photographer Natalie Wi contacted me to let know all about her recent photo shoot with Cake Coquette. You can read more about Gabby's inspiration and view more pictures by Clicking Here.

Photos by Allure West Studios
Visit them on The Flirty Guide
Visit their website

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Once my trip to Columbus had been planned my curiosity was more then piqued the day I found an article online that said:

"The following five words alone are worth a trip to Columbus: salty, caramel-almond ice cream."

Intrigued, I messaged my friends who live in Columbus and hinted that I'd like to go to Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams while visiting them. They obliged, twice, they're such great friends.


You'll know you've arrived when you see this sign.


We went to the Jeni's located in the Short North district.


The Menu Board.

A very important tip: If you order the smallest sized scoops you can eat more cones in one visit.

So here's the coolest part. You can order Jeni's ice cream through the mail. They will pack it on dry ice and deliver it right to your front porch. I see the 6 pint combo in my future for Birthdays and Christmas'. Probably 3 pints of Salty Caramel, 2 of the Pear Riesling and 1 other flavor. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

That's a scoop of Jeni's award winning Sour Cherry Lambic sorbet sitting atop one of her newest ice cream flavors: Chocolate Freckles. Mmmmmmm does the close up help you imagine how great they tasted? I'm such a tease lol!

Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet was my second favorite flavor. Imagine a perfectly ripe pair, blended, frozen and scooped onto a cone. I really can't describe how fresh and perfectly pear it tasted!

And this was my favorite flavor. I had it both days. The Salty Caramel. It's salty and tastes like caramel. Perfection on a cone! You can also join the Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Fan Site on Facebook. I already did :P



I didn't try a sandwich... I would have but with 2 scoops the first vist and 3 scoops the second visit there just wasn't enough room in my stomach :o( If anyone can convince them to franchise and opens a Jeni's here in the South Bay? I can guarantee I will become one of your best customers :P

Classic flavors even have a twist at Jeni's. Here my friend had the Strawberry Buttermilk and Honey Vanilla Bean. She said they were both very excellent.


Another friend had the raspberry sorbet and said it was also great.

I love Jeni's ice creams so much I'm even going to turn one of the pics I took into a t-shirt on Cafepress.com. One of my friends who was there wants to order one too. If they sold them, I would have bought one but for now I guess we'll have to DIY. They're online with no mark up in case anyone else wants one :D

LOL I was so busy scarfing down my Sour Cherry Lambic Sorbet that I dropped a glop on my pants. Oops!


Fortunately one of my friends had a Tide To Go stain stick in her purse. I'm seriously going to have to get one. I always think tv commercials exaggerate a products capabilities...

As you can see, the Tide Stain Stick removed the entire stain. It was amazing! I couldn't believe how well it worked. I'll have to start keeping one in my purse from now on.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Beautiful Ribbons

When we went to the Short North district of Columbus, Ohio I had a lot of fun peeking in some of the boutique type shops there. This one was the only place I made a purchase..."On Paper" is a paper shop that had a few racks of gorgeous ribbons in the back corner of the store.

I didn't need any... But seriously how could I resist these beauties? I have no idea what I'll ever use them for but one day if I need some ribbon that looks like any of them I'll have a bit tucked away just for that special project. My guess is that I'll end up using them on a custom ring cushion or flower girl basket. I could be wrong. I may surprise myself by using them for something else.

All I know for sure is that if I hadn't got some? I'd have regretted it the day someone contacted me and said they needed a floral, fringed, white, blue, orange and pink ribbon to make their wedding day complete. LOL

I only got a yard of each so I do have some self control...

On Paper
737 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
612.424.6617

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dogster Dogs in Columbus, Ohio

It was a fun filled trip combining two groups of friends, many I'd never met in person, and some really big dogs! Why did I go to Ohio? Well it all began a few years ago... Most of you who know me well know I am a fan of Dogster.com an online information source and  social community of dog lovers from around the world.

Mellow

I've learned so much in their health, nutrition, rescue and legislative forums. To an internet novice the most appealing thing about the site may be that, because you are using your dog's persona, it's very anonymous. People create profiles about their four legged fur balls then befriend other dog owners using their dog's names and photos. Despite the anonymity I became friends with two groups of women there and over the past couple of years many of us have become real life best friends.

Caelen

At first we only communicated online as our dogs. Later, we began calling each other on the phone. Over time we became such good friends that some of them attended my wedding last fall. One came to NYC when Kitai and I were there for the TODAY show last Halloween, and one I met while she was visiting San Francisco. So really, I'd met almost all of them already. But we decided we should all meet face to face, together, in one city all at the same time.

But there's more, I also became part of a second group on Dogster. We had come together to rescue 6, under-socialized, female puppies that were about to either be killed outright or would be taken to a high kill shelter in Kansas. The funniest part of this is that none of us lived in Kansas.

But we didn't let that stop us when from coast to coast we teamed up and saved their lives. Lainie (pictured above) is one of the first 6 puppies our grass roots rescue group saved from ending up in a kill shelter. We were able to find homes for her and all 5 of her sisters. We were told there were two male pups in the litter but they had already found homes so weren't in danger. You can read their story by CLICKING HERE. Start at the bottom of the page and work your way up to read just what happened.

A year later one of our members spotted Levi on the website at the same shelter that Lainie and her sisters almost ended up in. We just knew he had to be one of her two brothers we had heard about a year earlier. Right age, similar in appearance to two of the girls and shared a feature common with all of the girls, exceptionally small paws. In no time we contacted the shelter, paid the adoption fee and got Levi pulled, transported, fostered and adopted. Look at what a gorgeous boy he's grown into! Sweet and oh so lovey. He's always ready to give anyone a kiss!

Kade Now

Just a few months ago Kade was spotted online by a Dogster.com member in a high kill shelter in Ohio. They posted his urgent need for a foster family in the Dogster forums.  When one of our rescue group members saw the post they got the ball rolling and from there he was pulled, transported, fostered and adopted. Kade is now a beloved pet having been adopted by his foster failure mom. She just couldn't let him go once he came to recuperate from his ordeal.

Kade, formerly "Jimmy," at the shelter.

Though she wasn't rescued by the group, Raven, who belongs to one of our members, was also a foster failure. LOL It's a term we use quite frequently in our groups. It's when a foster parent decides they can't give up the dog they were supposed to be temporarily caring for and instead adopt and keep them forever.

Levi gave me lots of kisses.

Kade ate my shoe!

At around a year old it's hard to believe that Kade is still basically a puppy. A ginormous 80+ pound puppy. But watch this video and you'll see what I mean. So cute! Look at his gorgeous tail. Hard to believe that had another day passed he would have become one of the millions of dogs that didn't make it out of a shelter and into a loving home. 

video

Though I'm sure there are plenty of people who have had less then positive experiences making friends with strangers online... I have been very fortunate to have found these incredible women. I would always urge caution when befriending strangers on the internet but there are some good people out there and now these women are some of my best friends. I swear they have made me laugh every day since the day we met. Meeting them all in person was simply the icing on the cake. We're already planning a meet up for 2009. I can hardly wait!

Rosie and Vincent

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Did you miss me?

Sorry I let the blog go this past week but I snuck away for a little vacation for the past 5 days....

Can you guess where I went?

Layover

Landing at my destination...

The most splendid ice cream of all!

My entire life I've always wanted to see a cardinal. And there he was! Just sitting there! I didn't even know they had cardinals until I saw him.

Inside one of the downtown's most historic buildings.

Had to go, need to blog a review on a friend's blog.

A City View

Monday, August 11, 2008

DIY Baby Shower Cupcakes

Yesterday I attended a baby shower for a very dear friend of mine. It was a LOT of fun. Oh my gosh I had the best time even though I only knew 3 people there.

When I walked in and saw the cupcake display I just assumed they were from a professional bakery.... Wouldn't you have assumed the same? They were so cute and there were so many... I'm so used to attending industry events where professionals make the most adorable cupcakes... But guess what? They were made by my friend's sister. Who had never made gum paste flowers before in her life!

Here are the bakers. I asked them to pose for this picture and told them I was going to call them the "Crazy Baking Sisters." Which I think is pretty spot on. But crazy in a good way. That's Miss Cupcake Decorator on the right. She has a passion for applying the finishing touches as evidenced by the dozens of flowers she adorned the cupcakes with! I really admire her DIY gumption!

Together they also made all of these cookies to give as take home favors. They loaded up a cute, hand stamped, ribbon adorned bag with a thank you for coming label, just for me on my way out. It included a brownie, an oatmeal raisin cookie, a classic chocolate chip, a white chocolate chip with macadamia nuts and a rice krispy treat! *Gasp, gasp, thud* I ate all of them for breakfast this morning!

And this was a happy accident. They dyed some of the centerpiece flowers a gorgeous snow-cone blue. When they cut them and put them in the floating vases the blue color ran into the water just a bit tinting the water blue. It looked great! We all thought they had done it on purpose!

I have to give them serious kudos for being such great bakers and hostesses!


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