Monday, August 29, 2011

It's all make believe, isn't it?

"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants." 
Maybe it was the hurricane but a bunch of weird but good things have been happening to me professionally lately. Of course, each comes with its own story...wouldn't be like me if not. 
I have won an award. So we have a newspaper that bestows Best of accolades on the city each year. I have always thought, surely these things are politically motivated. Turns out- with a little urging, I convinced enough people to vote for me and I won Best In Social Media. Not bad, for a little engine of one. Here is the funny thing, since I don't advertise with the paper, they aren't in a huge rush to communicate with me. Still waiting on my certificate-but look I have a pretty logo to share with you! 




My Twitter following is starting to look up. I am really enjoying being a part of Twitter. It is just so much more bonding than Facebook. I am obsessed with the amount of followers I have and I can't wait till I have more followers than followees.  I am following awesome people and I feel on top of my game. Through Twitter, I found out about The Braid Bar which will be an asset to my NYC trip next month and I received the holy grail Missoni for Target lookbook before most people.

Someone put it best: 

Facebook is for the people you know while Twitter is for those you want to know.

And I made a new friend in a little brand called @dkny. She is actually the face of their PR...funny and entertaining and when she and I were musing about the hurricane. Her RT and her blog (click to see it) gained me quite a couple of followers this weekend. Love when someone gets my humor :-)



Clearly on a roll, I decide to take my snarkiness to the Today Show and post this:


Although I missed it, my friend @Ginger23 exclaimed:@littleblogdress OMG you made it on the @todayshow!

So I am now scrambling to get a transcript to see where my dreams have come true, that I made it on the Today show without the book in my head that I plan to promote. But, true to Law of Darlynn-we changed the channel and missed the opportunity to hear it. 

Am I done? Oh God no! Friday afternoon, I am scratching a lottery ticket off and get The Symbol TWIST. That. Means You. Win. Every Prize. 

After I stopped hyperventilating, come to find out...well...they don't stick $30k prizes on the Win ALL like you think they would. I won a whopping $25. But I'll take it. 

Last but not least, someone send me the current issue of Volusia Flagler Business Report this morning. Apparently according to page 8, My company is the 13th largest in the area web design firms. 

Except. I. Don't. Do. Web. Design. 

Sigh. To add insult to injury, someone stepped on the computer after my services description and I am AAA, whatever that means. But I'll take it...my name looks fun in print. And it is one  of the most reputable publications in town. Nice honor :-)

But, Not so much fun-I have one employee. 

Me. 

There it is in Black and White. 

I plan on adding to my staff to increase my self worth:

Freja-CEO

Felicity-Executive Assistant


So, um how was your weekend?? 

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Channeling Al Roker-A Social Media Guide To A Hurricane

Living in Florida, afternoon rain is the norm. Actually, much to the dismay of my lawn we haven't had a ton of downfall this year. This week is the 19th year anniversary of Hurricane Andrew and we in Florida still feel the sting of the 2004 Hurricane Season. With Hurricane Irene looking like it will affect our weekend plans, I was thinking how more connected we are now then we were seven years ago thanks to social media and smart phone technology.

Of course, I am sure a good old fashioned weather radio will do just fine. But, I bet that we can get a little more technical in this day and age.

The first thing you want to do is connect with your National Weather Service for breaking news alerts to come to your email, Facebook or Twitter.

To start, you need to find the branch of  National Weather Service for your area. The easiest way to find that out-go to the NOAA Website and enter your zip code, in the left hand corner in blue will tell you what is your nearest NWS branch. (see below) On the website you can then sign up for weather alerts-but you can also find their page and handle on Facebook and Twitter in order to get the information the best way that is most convenient for you.


If you are looking to incorporate your smartphone, your Ipad or social media for your weather, I have some suggestions:

Obviously, The Weather Channel (Weather.com) does a stand-up job on the social media front. They have a facebook, a twitter page and an app. But the newest thing that puts them miles away from their competition is The Weather Channel Social. This is the holy grail of weather and social media. It has everything you could ever ask for to be completely connected to the weather in your area. You put in your zip code and it connects you to what people are saying about the weather in your area, local  flight information, etc. Sure that radar picture is really boring interesting, but this is a good chance to keep you completely connected . Make it a part of your homepage.

The Weather Channel app is free and king in its field. They do an excellent job connecting to its listener and getting them the most accurate information in a really easy way to understand. It is so cool to my nerdy butt self that something so mundane as the weather is marketed so attractively. It has made me fall in love with The Weather Channel brand.

Christian Science Monitor has some apps they suggest for Hurricane Tracking:

The Hurricane HD app is equipped with "video updates for storms currently underway or forming," notes ABC News. It covers hurricanes all over the world. The app costs $2.99.

The iMap Weather Radio app draws on your phone or tablet's GPS and alerts users if they enter an area "where a watch/warning is subsequently issued," among other things. The app costs $9.99. As advertised, this is a radio app. While some users swear by its voice and text alerts, one user says the updates arrive about 30 minutes after the National Weather Service issues a warning: "It once 'alerted' me of a tornado warning after the storms had cleared out." He recommends a NOAA all hazards weather radio (or see the American Red Cross radio below) for faster alerts.

You can also get free weather reports and alerts on your phone or computer by following certain Twitter sites such as: The Weather Channel's twitter feed @weatherchannel

or MyWeather.com tweets: @MyWeather,

or Accu Weather's @breakingweather

You could do a search for "name of hurricane" on your Twitter account and get all of the above in one feed. Also, don't forget to follow your favorite local meteorologist on Twitter-like mine: WESH's @TonyJMainolfi

As much as I love Al Roker or Jim Cantore (who my best friend thought it was a good idea in 2004 to leave my evacuation packing to go a couple of blocks down the road to meet him....true story)-these are a couple of ideas to bring out the meteorologist in all of us.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Be Still My Missoni Heart

Ladies, just a few weeks away. Here are some looks from the lookbook that I must have. I have word that we will be able to go online at midnight September 13 to secure the hottest looks this fall. Set your alarm, bitches!
Sweater Coat $79.99
Space-Dye Knit Shirtdress $54.99


Slouchy Bag $34.99
Silk Scarf* (tied on bag) $19.99

Corduroy Jacket $69.99 
Rain Boots* $34.99 Flowery

Long Gloves* $19.99
Extra-Long Scarf $24.99
Pink or Black

Tights* $16 each
Pink and Black

3-pc. Ceramic Puzzle Trays $19.99 each


6-pk. File Folders $4.99 each


Target’s Much-Anticipated Collection by Missoni to Debut in September
Retailer’s largest limited-time designer collection spans more than 400 items

MINNEAPOLIS (July 2011)—Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) is partnering with Missoni, the iconic knitwear empire recognized as a symbol of Italian luxury, to introduce an affordable, limited-edition collection for fashion and home. Missoni for Target brings a rich heritage of signature prints and patterns to apparel and accessories for women, men, girls and baby, as well as home furnishings. Ranging in price from $2.99 to $599.99, with most items less than $40, Missoni for Target will be available Sept. 13 through Oct. 22, 2011 at all Target stores and Target.com. Pending availability, select pieces from the collection, including a variety of online-only items, will be available for an extended run through early December at Target.com.

“Working with Target to create a mass collection that reflects the spirit of Missoni has been extremely energizing,” said Angela Missoni. “Each piece is special to me because so much thought and care went into every aspect of the design. I can’t wait to introduce the collection to Target’s guests across the United States.”

Target’s largest limited-time designer collection to date, Missoni for Target reflects the Missoni values of family, color and quality. Offering a modern, fresh take on the late 1960s, an era during which the Missoni brand flourished into a global force in fashion, the collection features intertwining textures and patterns in a variety of bold colors such as purple, blue, black and coral.

“Target’s designer partnerships continue to set new standards, and we worked closely with Missoni to create a collection that brings the allure of their iconic Italian brand to our guests at remarkable prices,” said Kathee Tesija, executive vice president of merchandising, Target. “The quality and design of Missoni for Target are exceptional, and with more than 400 colorful pieces to choose from, our guests can experience a taste of ‘la dolce vita’ simply by shopping at Target.”

Missoni for Target includes knit dresses, sweaters, swimwear, shoes, scarves and intimates for women, as well as beauty items such as cosmetic cases, brush sets and hair accessories. The men’s collection features silk ties, sweaters, scarves and knit hats, while the girls’ and baby assortments include knit dresses, cardigans, scarves, gloves and rain boots. The expansive home collection offers bedding, luggage, dinnerware, stationery, bicycles and outdoor furniture in variations of stripes, zigzags and abstract floral patterns, and marks the first time Missoni has created iPad and iPod covers.

About Target
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,762 stores in 49 states nationwide and at Target.com. In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs; today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week. For more information about Target’s commitment to corporate responsibility, visit Target.com/hereforgood.

About Missoni
The family-run fashion house Missoni has been at the forefront of Italian fashion since husband and wife Ottavio ("Tai") and Rosita Missoni started designing their unconventional patterned knits in the neighborhood of Varese in 1953. The brand is famous for its unique knitwear, made from a variety of fabrics in a kaleidoscope of colorful patterns, such as zigzags, stripes, geometrics, and abstract florals, bohemian accessories and must-have swimwear. There are currently 37 freestanding Missoni boutiques worldwide, in addition to Missoni being carried at leading department stores and retailers worldwide.

For more information, visit Target.com/Pressroom.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

I say WHO

A surprising perk of owning your own business is the option to NOT work with someone. For most of your adult life, you have been subject to working with narcissistic beasts that you had to grin and bear- all because they were standing between you and your next pair of shoes, or meal as it sometimes was. 

Although one should never turn away good money-don't you feel a little stupid when you are CEO of ONE and you are having anxiety working with a difficult client? Choosing who you get to work with has to be one of the nice things of working for yourself, right? 

Interesting psychological battle I had when I met with a gentleman who was so used to beating up on salespeople to get what he wanted, when I walked away from the table he was shocked. Do you not want my money-he asked incredulously? Of course I wanted his money, but I could do without his demanding attitude and nasty nature. It seemed to me that this guy was so used to getting his way from salespeople who were intimidated to keep his business that I surprised him by walking away. 

Things to keep in mind when dealing with the unfriendly:

1. Keep it Kind. At the end of the day, you don't want to burn a bridge. I usually tell people that I am jammed up and it will be months before I can give him the proper attention his business needs. That seems to work a little better than, I rather eat glass than take your business on. 

2. Offer him some other options. Since you are sooo busy, give him some names of people (your competition) that may be able to help him. I don't want to be the first to admit, but maybe you and his (or her) personality just doesn't match and someone else may have a better turn with him. As long as he is not a raving lunatic, you are instilling a little good will along the way and everyone is happy. Your competition may be a little bigger and have a staff that has to deal with whatever personality is put in front of them. You still end of smelling like roses in the end. 

3.  Don't apologize. You aren't working round the clock, 24/7 for no reason. The least you can do is pick the people that are supporting your quest to become a solo success. I find that this is more important to me than I thought it was. The idea of being in business for yourself is to take what is good and get rid of what was bad and make your own thing work. Not that it will always be blue skies, but it is a lot easier to weather the storms with clients you actually like and want to work with. 
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Monday, August 15, 2011

Facebook Takes A Trip Down Memory Lane

There is an advantage to being on Facebook all day long. You notice when Facebook tries to sneak one in on you. I was looking through my photos to add to that platform I am cheating on Facebook with (Google +) and noticed a new feature. "On This Day" which shows your Facebook status and comments from the 2010 and 2009. It looks like the only way you can find this feature is burred in the photos. When looking to find more information on this throwback, I think Mashable had a good thought why this is being tested.   This will definitely serve as a reminder of how Facebook has been part of your life for quite some time. It's a nice step up from poking, I'm a fan!

Wonder if I will regret these throwbacks...singing Debby Boone, really?
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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Word of Mouth is Dead

Every business has the potential to be reviewed. It doesn’t matter if you are a restaurant (most popular) or a funeral home (I’m not kidding) - If given the opportunity and the outlet, a customer will sing your praises or voice a valid concern. As more and more people rely on the opinions of others via online review sites such as Yelp, Google, and Urban Spoon, how your business is perceived on these means is important.

If you leave a review unaddressed, good or bad-it may change the opinion of future customers. There is a saying that if you have a good experience you tell a couple of people, a bad one- you tell everyone. Having the opportunity to go online and let your opinion be known before you have even left your business takes this adage to a whole new level. You need to make sure you have the good sense to address any review, good or bad. I am a little obsessed with online reviews because I have seen businesses affected by the way they are handled.

Here are some tips to make the best out of your reviews, good and bad:

1. Make sure all your sites are claimed under you as the owner. This gives you the opportunity to add pictures, fill out hours, information, areas served, etc. You can fill in additional contact information, your website and specials. It also makes you look like you have this area of your marketing plan handled. Nothing looks poorer than that unclaimed box with a question mark in it!

2. Set up Google Alerts for the name of your business and category i.e. “SBT Designs” and “Interior Design in Chicago”. Make sure you set up a search in Twitter, and check your @replies. Facebook has also recently given you an option to be notified via email each time a comment is left. You need to make sure that these are checked often, if not every day. The quicker the response, the better the outcome.

3. Time to monitor! A lot of this is organic, you can go in and check (daily) on these review sites but there are some platforms like Hootsuite that will allow you to do the searches all in one place.
Address them. Within 24 hours (hopefully). If they are good, share it on your Facebook and other social media. Make them a part of your marketing plan, add them to the testimonial portion of your blog or website. If they are bad, and it is valid-contact the reviewer as the owner, be polite and offer to rectify their time by bringing them back in on your dime. This is not the time to be argumentative. If you feel like you are going to be combative, ignore the review and move on. I promise that they if you take these steps, they will change their review and praise you for your excellent attention to customer service.

Be humble and listen to what they have to say. If there is a resounding theme, your clients are trying to tell you something.

This may seem like a lot of work, and some business owners aren’t comfortable opening up and putting themselves out there for the world to critique. I would much rather see you take the control and time to make the effort before someone does it for you.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Socially Acceptable: Spotify


It would be a good segway to tell you that I am sorry that I haven't written in a while. I haven't been on vacation and work hasn't been too busy. But, every moment of my free time has been spent building bigger and better playlists and excitement on Spotify. An official time suck warning as you continue to read my experience of this hot new way to play and share your love of music.

I have been a big fan of Rhapsody but I must now focus on Spotify, the newest, most popular kid on the music playlist block. Its an amazing musical pieces of heaven that lets you play any piece of music you could ever think of ...ever!!! Do you also know how little work I have done this last week as I have made playlist for every genre you could ever think of? For a measly $10 a month for the premium membership (there is a free option on Spotify, you just cant play it anywhere but your computer) you can make your own play lists for every aspect of your day. You can then buy the whole playlists with a couple of clicks, and sync them straight to your iPod, iPhone or Android device (with the premium version).

You have to be invited to get Spotify for now, but keep your eyes on Facebook as brands like Coke have been partnering with Spotify to give out free invites.

One really great feature that Spotify has manage to capture that Rhapsody falls short is the sharing capability. You can connect to Facebook to see which friends are in the cool kids club like you and see what playlists they have chosen to share with the world. I have some amazing musicians and friends in the music industry that have given me some insight to their brilliance in music selection. It is like you came to their house, grabbed their CD collection and went to town. Isn't it always fun to have that friend that will always come to you and say-"You have to check THIS band out". Spotify now gives you that option.

Like I bragged about Rhapsody, who now feels like an ex-boyfriend, you can hear a song on the radio and listen to the artist's full album in a couple of clicks. You can catch a GREAT oldie at the end of the song (happens to me all the time) and just grab your Spotify on your phone and listen to it again instantly. The phone app downloads are lightening fast, and you can download playlists to listen without an internet connection.

So if you need me, I will be on Spotify trying to create the best 90's boy band playlist. Leave your selection below! Pin It
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