March Foodie Pen Pals

I am loving the foodie pen pals!! This month was really amazing the package that I received from Danni from Healthy Kitschy Vegan. Amazing amazing...she really set the bar! Take a look!

How on Earth did she know I love kitties?

Homemade! Healthy!

This is such addicting lip gloss

If I could die happy, it would be this next to me

I ate this is ONE sitting

I was wondering if it was good as it sounds (it was!)

How do you partake in such awesomeness?? 

From Lindsay from the Lean Green Bean herself:
 -on the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. it will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

 -you will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. on the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!

 -the boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! the spending limit is $15. the box must also include something written. this can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

 -you are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

 -foodie penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. if you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. if two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month

If you’re interested in participating for April, please send an email to lindsay and include the following information:

 -your full name
 -your email address
 -your blog name/address (if applicable)
 -your twitter handle (if applicable)

 Lindsay needs to hear from you by April 4th as pairings will be emailed on the 5th.
Can't wait till next month!
I'm saving these for a special occasion

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Skinny and Clean...Arugula Salad With Penne, Garbanzo Beans And Sun Dried Tomatoes

I got arugula in my organic Front Porch Pickings basket this week and I went to my favorite websites to find the best recipe to make with it. Again, SkinnyTaste comes through with this one. Please make sure you sign up for her daily recipe emails that have Weight Watchers points assessed to them. Genius!

From her website: Peppery arugula tossed with nutty chick peas, pasta, sun dried tomatoes, shaved parmesan and balsamic vinegar create a simple yet delicious main dish salad – perfect for lunch or dinner

Read full recipe here

Photo Credit:Skinnytaste
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The Nominees Are...Best Laptop Cases

So many choices for laptop cases. I just made the ginormous leap from PC to MAC (I will never look back) and I of course don't need another computer bag, but this sure begs the question what is out there if I did:

Sumdex Fashion Place 

Urban Outfitters
Cooperative Trompe L'Oeil Laptop Case

Kate Spade

Vera Bradley
Laptop Portfolio in Watercolor 

Marc by Marc Jacobs
Pretty Nylon 15" Laptop Case

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Facebook is Free, Not A Free For All..

The etiquette of Facebook is a class I am thinking of teaching. At least when it comes to business pages. I just spent the last ten minutes deleting this band of the week who wants to play at my beach bar client, and the yard sale that wants to be promoted on my downtown development page, or the radio station pages who have people have posted  endless amounts of garbage to think that its ok to put on there without permission. I don't mean to be unkind, but that is enough to make me mental. 

It is rude.
It is obtrusive.
You know better.

I hate to be a natzi here but Goodness! Facebook is a free advertising tool that every business should take advantage of. But it is you and your business who should not take advantage of its ability!  It is just a little different on how you promote yourself on here. It is social media... not push people out of the way to get people to buy your product media.

My sister will be happy to get a plug as she thinks I am too cranky (she used another term) when I complain about such issues...but I am actually trying to help through all my frustration by asking you to use the golden rule when using social media. Post undo others as they would post to you...

1. Do not post on someone's business page without their permission. Instead, why not pay it forward and post on your business page news of a business that you associate with. It would be polite for them to reciprocate and then you have achieved your goal for added exposure.

2. Do not comment on someone's post with your own advertisement. I know someone who takes every opportunity no matter what you write on your personal page to promote her business. I saw someone post about beating their personal best 5K and instead of giving congrats to a great feat... one of her friends posted in great length a Herbalife promotion, complete with his phone number for more information.

3. Switch it up, sister! Give us all a little about your kids, your dog, your industry, your BFF...just not a self plug or promotion. Your friends and clients will appreciate it!

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Skinny and Clean-Kale &Goat Cheese Sweet Potatoes

Photo Credit:LaLoosh
This week's skinny and clean recipe comes from a website that I am obsessed with called LaLoosh. They are now in my arsenal for my new quest to start eating cleaner and more organic. I mean they have some amazing recipes and they all have Weight Watcher points attached. That is a bonus! I picked this recipe because I am really excited to increase my love for all that is kale. We are obsessed!! with Kale Chips. Im just really excited because I love all these things individually, I can only imagine what this combination of goat cheese and kale and sweet potatoes will be!  Recipe is here. Enjoy! Pin It

The Art to Complaining Online

Online Reviews are the new word of mouth. Thanks to sites like Yelp, Urban Spoon, Google, etc. it is now easier than ever to voice your opinion for all the world to see. I don't know if I have mentioned this before but I am a MAGNET for bad service. If I got all my friends in one place the stories would go on for hours of experiences they have had with me at the hands of a bad server. So, I will be first to say-I have written or called more than my fair share of complaints in. Some have been good and worth it (thank you Delta...they dont mess around), others not so much, may they die a slow fiery death.  

I have spent time writing about what to do with a negative review as a business owner, but I wanted to chat a bit about why even though you can go online and blast businesses for their wrongdoing, you may want to rethink that. My company spends time working with different businesses on their social media. Sure, a Facebook presence is important but there is an exciting online review new world out there that needs to be monitored. Urban Spoon has a steady stream of new reviews in my area and I think that people are finally getting in on the Yelp train...I definitely notice an increase in traffic. 

I think online reviews are helpful. Even if they are negative, it is an unbiased view of what people say about your business. But, there are ways that you can address your issue with a business before you take it to the internet. Now that I am on the other end of these reviews, monitoring and managing-I have to say that I have seen some real damaging things written instead of resolving the issue  in a number of different ways like:

1 Ask to speak to the manager-it happens, you get a bad server, your food comes out bad, the check out lady is rude to you...a good manager will acknowledge your complaint or concern and address it without being defensive. They should do whatever they can to rectify the situation to the best of his or her ability.

Review away if the manager is defensive, argues with you while you are discussing the issue or does not offer some sort of compensation for your time and trouble.

2. Send them an email- If you are not a big fan of confrontation, you can find the company's email, send them a detailed email of your complaint. This may also provide therapeutic for you to give you some time to simmer down. Be kind and keep the drama out of it. It is an issue the manager has to address with the staff,  and that puts them responsible, but not at fault. In the email, tell them you look forward to hearing back from them on how they plan on making this right for you. That leaves the door open for resolution.

Review away if within a week you haven't heard a response. Or-

3. Call the corporate office-If you are having an issue with a national brand, dealing locally may not be enough. I will say that some brands don't really have this nailed down. One time I had an issue with a manager at an Italian I wrote my thoughts to their corporate website and guess what their policy is? To have the manager of the restaurant address it, they forwarded my email to the guy I had an issue with. Because that was a fun phone call as he was defensive and argumentative over every issue I had. Know that you take your chances when you take it to a corporate level. I have also been told that the businesses are franchised and individually owned and there isn't too much at a corporate level can do. To me, if your name is on the as the brand has to hold some sort of responsibility. 

So what have we learned today, besides the fact that I wasn't lying about the many times I have had to address a bad customer service issue? Be kind, be honest do what you can to address it with the proper channels and if all else fails, go nuts on your online resources! If your issue cant be resolved, at least you can prevent someone else from making the same mistake. 

A quick sidenote, if the manager sees the online review and contacts you with resolution options, the proper thing to do is to take down your review and applaud the business for its excellent customer service.

Do you have a good or bad customer service resolution?

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More Facebook Changes Ahead....Sigh

When Facebook rolled out the new timeline, I knew that brand pages wouldn't be too far behind. I would like to gently pat every little one on the head when they complain that it is a lot of work to change to the new timeline for their personal or business page. I am almost finishing moving over 70, yes I said 70 different businesses and projects that I have created a Facebook business page for over the years. I haven't breathed properly since the announcement.

After the move over ,the work really begins, it looks like the logo needs to be adjusted some timeline details should be added and everything in my OCD head needs to be perfect. I also need to change some of my monitoring ways because for some reason Facebook didn't deem it necessary to notify you when you receive a new Facebook page message without physically checking it. I promise you, I am not a very nerdy way, I am very excited! I will admit it has taken me these few weeks to wrap my head around it and create a game plan so me, my sanity and most important- my clients are happy. This week, I have made a lot of headway.

So, now that my breathing has returned to shallow inhales and exhales, imagine my hands in the head, cuss word reaction when I saw that Facebook was going to make some more changes to its pages. This new change will give its users five different levels of admin access. According to an Inside Facebook article, by the end of March you will have different options for users on the admin level. This is a godsend for me, because I always thought it was very interesting that at any given time a disgruntled waitress who had access to her place of business Facebook page could remove the owners and highjack the page with no problem. 

According to the article, Product Manager Jeff Kanter said pages will soon offer five levels of admin access. He mentioned full access, publishing-only access and insights access, but did not reveal the other two levels. Facebook did not respond to article's requests for clarification.

What kind of access would you like to see?? What is the level of trust within your organization that will enable you to give different points of access, now that you have a choice? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! 
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Skinny and Clean-Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans and Fresh Tomatoes

My latest goal in life, as they change quite often is to eat cleaner. I am having a lot of fun with it, doing the HCG diet for now, but soon I will be transitioning into a Weight Watchers frame of mind, being very conscious in what and how much I am eating. The Clean Eating Diet is interesting to me, so I am gonna throw a little of that in to the mix as well. The goal is to lose a little weight and eat as healthy as possible. 

Recently, I blogged about Front Porch Pickings and this new service in our household has increased my goals to use all the organic awesomeness they sent me and not to waste anything. This week, I received strawberries as big as my head, cabbage, apples, tomatoes on the vine, and brussel sprouts as part of my basket-but what was interesting to me was the Swiss Chard. As an Italian, I am all about the Escarole, love Rappini, obsessed over kale and kale chips but have never tried Swiss Chard. 

I found a new recipe that I wanted to share. It was easy, quick and even though my boyfriend doesn't like beans...he gave it a thumbs up. I think I am stretching the HCG envelope sneaking in a little bit of northern beans but it was well worth it. Enjoy! 

Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans and Fresh Tomatoes  


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, chopped-I actually used a regular onion in place of shallot and green onions
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, drained
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch red Swiss chard, rinsed and chopped
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced


Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Stir in shallot and green onions; cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Stir in garbanzo beans, and season with salt and pepper; heat through. Place chard in pan, and cook until wilted. Add tomato slices, squeeze lemon juice over greens, and heat through. Plate, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Nutritional Information  

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 122 | Total Fat: 7.3g | Cholesterol: 0mg

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