Category Archives: Ideas

The Most Annoying People On Facebook 2.0

A while ago I wrote about the types of people who annoy me the most on Facebook– the political ranters, TMI over-sharers, food photographers, etc.  Over a year has gone by since I published that article, and as more people my age get engaged, married and become parents, I have seen some new types of posts that I wish I hadn’t.

I’m really not trying to be mean here.  Please keep in mind that the reason these people made my annoying list is not just because they post stuff like this once in a while- they do it constantly.  I’m sure I don’t really have to explain this, as we all have Facebook and probably know these types well.  The only people who will not get this article or find it mean are the ones that I’m about to talk about!

Third person mommies

Annoying People on Facebook

 

It’s usually the mothers-not fathers- who do this.  They talk about themselves in third person and refer to themselves as Mommy.  “Mommy is tired.”  “Mommy doesn’t feel well.”

Mommy is so wrapped up in baby that she forgot how to talk to adults.  Mommy needs a night out!

Baby talkers

Annoying People on Facebook- parents

 

Again mommies- when you’re on Facebook you’re talking to adults. I understand it was a proud moment, and I wouldn’t mind this post if you simply announced that your child used the toilet.  But nobody has said pee pee in the potty to me since before I could read.

The dark, possibly suicidal posters:

When a friend’s little sister’s friend that I haven’t seen since middle school posts something really dark that seems like it could possibly be a cryptic suicide message, it puts me in a weird place.  I mean, what is the proper thing to do?  I don’t want to reach out if they’re just being dramatic and attention-starved, but I’d feel bad if something really happened to them.  We all have one or two of these people on our friends list- do we ask if they’re okay every time they cry out for attention or just let them work it out?

Parents who get crazy with other parents on Facebook

Annoying People on Facebook

 

I’m not really sure what the rants above even mean due to all the spelling and grammar issues, but I’m pretty sure they’re directed at another parent.  Possibly their baby daddies?  Who knows.  Either way, those poor kids are screwed.

Panic inducers

Annoying People on Facebook

 

These are the people who believe everything they read in the National Enquirer.  They fill our news feeds with the most outrageous “news” stories that almost always turn out to be a hoax.  These people are the reason why someone threatening to kill Toby the bunny raised $20,000, Kony became a household name, and why we think that people in China are actually making soup out of dead babies.

“Vote for my baby”

Annoying People on Facebook

 

Babies are cute.  Almost all of them.  But I’m not going to start voting for the infant who I think is the cutest.

Of course every parent thinks that their baby is the cutest of them all.  But why do they have to make it a competition?  Last month Gerber hosted its photo search and my news feed was flooded with parents begging me to vote for their baby. Do they really think their baby is actually going to beat out the other thousands of babies and win?  It’s not like the baby who is the cutest wins- the baby with the parents who spend their entire day doing nothing but voting wins.  Or the baby with the computer programmer father who figures out a way to hack the system.

The gym rats

annoying People on Facebook

 

Most people my age work out.  I consider going to the gym a regular part of everyday life in order to stay healthy.  It’s right up there with going food shopping, sleeping at night and taking vitamins.  It seems silly to announce on a daily basis that I took my vitamins, so why do people feel the need to announce that they are at the gym every single day?  My guess is that they don’t get enough attention at home, so they must show the world that they’re cool at every chance they get.

Parents who keep asking where the time went.

Annoying Facebook Posts

 

I’ve noticed that it’s always the same people asking where the time went.  Considering they spend most of their time on Facebook counting time, I’m surprised it doesn’t feel like time goes slooooooow.

 

 

 

WTF Are You Thinking, Snapchat?

Snapchat founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged but I’m just a little outraged at the moment and I need to let it out.  Snapchat’s 23-year old co-founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel, gets offered $3 BILLION (with a B!!) in cash from Facebook, and the kid turns it down?  Who do these kids think they are?

I don’t even understand how this kid is eating and paying bills now.  Even with millions of users, Snapchat has yet to make a single dollar of revenue, and it has not shown any clear strategy of how they plan to be profitable.  The company’s founders are also in a controversy over whether they did or did not cheat a friend out of his fair share.

Spiegel’s obviously holding out for a bigger payday, as Snapchat has been getting some serious attention from other investors and potential acquirers, such as Chinese e-commerce company Tencent Holdings.  Tencent supposedly offered to lead an investment that would’ve valued Snapchat at $4 billion, but Spiegel might be waiting for something even bigger than that.  According to anonymous sources, “Evan Spiegel, will not likely consider an acquisition or an investment at least until early next year. … Spiegel is hoping Snapchat’s numbers … will grow enough by then to justify an even larger valuation.”

This isn’t the first time that Facebook has tried to acquire Snapchat.  Last year Facebook reportedly offered Snapchat a $1 billion buyout.  After they were denied, Facebook took a stab at creating its own ephemeral messaging app- anyone remember Poke?  Probably not, as it was a flop.

I certainly respect holding out for what you think you’re worth to a certain extent.  But when Mark Zuckerberg offers you a room full of cash-filled suitcases, you take the money, say thank you and move the fuck on!  Go travel the world, kid.  Buy your parents a nice house.  Start a new project.  What is $4 billion really going to buy you that $3 billion can’t?

Some people say that we shouldn’t be calling Spiegel and the guys at Snapchat crazy for turning down Facebook’s cash offer. A writer at CNN thinks the company was smart to hold out because it has something other social media services don’t: erasable messages.  So what?  Snapchat’s erasable messages are cool today, but next week something else will be the hot new thing. After all, it is the teens and young people who use the app, and we all know how fickle this age group is.  I think it’s a pretty big gamble for Spiegel to wait until next year, especially when this is $3 BILLION (again, with a B!!) at stake.

It might be possible for the guys at Snapchat to get more money from the competition between prospective investors and would-be acquirers, but I don’t think it’s worth the risk of overplaying their hand and crashing and burning.  Either way, it should be an interesting next few months for Snapchat and I can’t wait to see how this all plays out.

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What Bartending Taught Me About Business

When I began bartending at 18 years old, I looked at it as a way to make some fast, easy cash while putting myself through college.  I always knew that it was a temporary job; I would never be a career bartender, and in the beginning I didn’t take it too seriously.  I was just grateful to have a job where I could walk in, do my thing for a few hours, leave with a wad of cash and not have to take any work or stress home with me.

I quickly realized that I could make my wad of earnings much larger by doing a few things differently.  Damien, a former manager, once explained this to me and it made a lot of sense:

“You’re basically running your own business behind the bar.  We provide you with the ‘office’ and ‘tools,’ but how you run your business is up to you.  If you provide a great product (good drinks) that you know how to sell and upsell, and you give great customer service, I guarantee that you will make more money.  It’s all up to you.”

I became a hustler behind the bar, and saw my money grow almost immediately.  I loved the fact that I could give myself a raise on any given shift just by working smarter.  I got better and better at what I did, and by the time I graduated from college, the money was so good that it was almost painful to walk away and start at the bottom of the internet marketing rat race.

To create cocktails and call yourself a bartender is not hard- a monkey could be taught to pour beer and shake up a martini.  What separates an average bartender and a great bartender is not the competence to make drinks- it’s the ability to sell, satisfy the customer and keep them coming back.  I’ll explain each in detail as I share a few lessons I learned that I have used to succeed both behind the bar and in the real world:

Know your product and sell the hell out of it

I’m going to break this one up into two parts, because each is equally important.  It’s very hard to sell something you know nothing about, and even if you’re an expert on a product, it’s worthless unless you figure out a way to sell it.

It’s very simple: if you’re not selling something that people want, you’re not making money.

Cocktails in a bar sell themselves- that’s why the customers showed up in the first place.  However, the customer may not necessarily know what they want, and it’s up to you to inform and sell them.  This is your opportunity to upsell.  As long as you can convince your customer that Grey Goose is better than Crystal Palace (yuck) your sales will go up, and most likely so will your tips.

When you walk into a bar, it’s very easy to spot the great bartenders- they’re the ones who greet you immediately, make conversation and try to sell you their products with enthusiasm.

Bad bartenders on the other hand tend to have the same bad habits I’ve seen struggling business people have.  They’re either more worried about the drama in their personal lives, too lazy to put in the work, not interested in what they’re selling, or they fail to upsell.

When you’re trying to succeed and make money, it’s important to remember that selling comes first.  Everything else comes second.

You must make people feel comfortable

Have you ever wondered why bartenders are also considered therapists?  One of the main reasons that people go to the bar and pour their hearts out to an almost-stranger is because bartenders just listen without judging.  Think about it- how many people in your life hear you out and ask questions without judgment?

As a bartender, I never told people what to do or judged their motives or actions the way I might do to my friends. By doing this, I earned the trust of my regulars.  They were comfortable coming in and updating me on their lives (while spending money), knowing that I wouldn’t think any more or less of them.

Trust is huge in almost every facet of life, especially business.  When people feel comfortable coming to you, it is much easier to accomplish things.

When you’re a team player, the results are usually better

Although you might consider yourself to be running your own little business, I guarantee that it’ll run a lot smoother if you accept some help from time to time.  When you’re busy, it’s really helpful to have that extra person who supports you, whether it’s a bar-back refilling your ice, or a co-worker to share the workload with.

You can’t be everywhere, and you’re not going to be good at everything, so it’s important to surround yourself with a great team to keep you balanced.  Make sure you treat those people well.

Know that you can handle a lot more than you think you can

I remember feeling excited, but absolutely terrified, before working my first Winter Music Conference.  I heard stories from those who had been through it before of 18-hour shifts for five days straight, dealing with the most wild and drugged-up partiers ever.

In the days leading up to WMC, I rested, meditated and did my best to mentally and physically prepare myself for what laid ahead.  By day 5 I felt like I had run a marathon and calculated more prices in my head than a math team- I was fried. But it was so motivating to look over and see the cash piling up in the tip jar.

The moral of this story- you can keep going much longer than you think you can when you need to.  I’m not telling you to hustle for 18 hours every single day, but when the money is there, GET IT, because it might not always be.

Don’t let anyone disrespect you

Even though I was there to earn money, whenever a customer crossed a line and disrespected me, they were quickly shown the door.  It didn’t matter if they were spending money- no negativity was allowed.

I know this goes a little against everything I have already said in this article, but I’m a firm believer in removing anyone who causes a great amount of problems and stress.  This applies to both at work and in life.  These people end up sucking your time and energy, creating a bad vibe, and will often badmouth you to other customers or ask for a refund after you’ve bent over backwards for them.  It takes your attention away from the better paying customers, and in my opinion, it’s just better to remove these bad apples.

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What Internet Marketers Can Learn From LeBron James

LeBron James is a champion for a reason. Nothing was handed to him or came easy; many years of hard work, planning and preparation went into making him what he is today.  Here are some valuable lessons that internet marketers, entrepreneurs and basically anyone who wants to be successful can learn just by observing The King:

To be a winner, you must push yourself

LeBron James flex

It is not possible to become one of the best athletes in the world without figuring out the physical limits of your body and a way to exceed them.  Just like in the NBA, there’s no shortage of competition in the internet marketing industry. As more people join the industry and become better at what they do, it’s going to get harder to stand out.

Instead of perceiving competition as a threat or a negative thing, we must use it as motivation to push ourselves harder.

Have you ever seen the video of LeBron’s pre-game workout routine?  The same way LeBron puts in the work to be stronger than his competition, marketers much push themselves to exceed to continually provide the best service and technology in the industry.  It doesn’t matter whether you work in an office or an arena- you’ll still need to put in the work if you plan on beating your competition.

Don’t let awkward situations get to you

LeBron and his mother, Gloria James
As many NBA fans know, LeBron’s mother, Gloria, can be a handful.  LeBron was forced to deal with a touchy subject involving his mother and her alleged lover, Cleveland teammate Delonte West.

No matter how awkward things got, LeBron kept his cool and doesn’t let tension affect his game.  He kept his focus and still played like the boss that he was.

With the constant change in the marketing industry, it’s easy to sweat the small stuff and turn a simple misunderstanding into something that could end up making you look bad or terminating a relationship.  By taking a cue from LeBron, we can learn to stay calm, take a deep breath and keep going.

It’s hard to succeed all alone— surround yourself with a great team

Dwyane Wade and Lebron James

The King was already an all-star player in Cleveland, but he knew that there was no way he was going to win a championship all by himself.  He knew he needed some help from a great team, which was a huge factor in his decision to take his talents to South Beach.

No matter how awesome you are, it’s really hard to succeed in the marketing industry by yourself. Surround yourself with other great talent and together you guys can achieve a whole lot more.

Learn from those who have already succeeded

Jay Z and Lebron James

Every successful person has someone that they look up to and learn from.  While LeBron undoubtedly looks up to basketball greats, it’s his unique relationship with Jay Z that stands out to me.  The guys have been friends for years, and Jay has served as a mentor to LeBron.  Jay has guided LeBron in using his success to branch out of basketball and think like a businessman and entrepreneur.  As a result, LeBron surpassed Kobe Bryant this year as the highest paid basketball player in the world with earnings of $56.5 million.

The lesson learned here- If you want to be the best, make sure that you are being taught by the best.

Keep a thick skin and keep on moving

LeBron James is one of the most disliked and scrutinized athletes in the world.  People have picked on him about everything from leaving Cleveland to not winning a title for nine years to his receding hairline.

As marketers, we understand that clients all have different personalities, needs and demands and we must do what we can to make them all happy.  Even when you’re really good at what you do, it’s simply not possible to make every person happy all the time, and some people will turn on you the minute something doesn’t go their way.  You must have a thick skin in times like this and try not to take things personally.

After LeBron came to Miami, people called him names and made fun of him, and what did he do?  He kept going and became a champion.

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How Profound

Today, instead of writing something new about internet marketing or my crazy life, I’m going to share a great message that I just re-stumbled across.  It was written by George Carlin shortly after his wife passed away, and if it doesn’t make you think at least a little bit you should definitely re-evaluate your life.

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much , and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait . We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete…

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

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How I Planned a 250-Person Party

Since I started at my job last year, I’ve worn many hats around the office.  My official title, the one printed on my business cards, says that I’m a search marketing specialist, but at times I also do the work of a copywriter, project manager, publicist and event planner.  Planning events for the company has been one of my favorite things to do, and I just recently pulled off my biggest one yet.

On March 1, BMI Elite celebrated its third birthday with a big party and open house of our new Boca Raton office.  I was in charge of making everything happen, from getting invitations created to hiring everyone that we would need to make the party a success.

The first thing I did was make a huge list of everything I needed to plan for. There’s the obvious: i.e. food, drinks, and cake.  But then there’s plates, cups, silverware and serving utensils for the food, drinks and cake.  And then tables to put this stuff on, as well as linens and napkins for the tables.  I tried to think of every little possible thing and write it all down.  Once I made a list of everything that we would need, I called around to local caterers, bar services, party rental companies, florists and more to get estimates so I could compare prices.  I am going to break the rest of this article up into sections based on how many different companies I hired, and I will share my experience with them and everything I learned about party planning.

Food & Drinks

I figured that this was going to be the biggest thing to plan for so I got to it first.  I called around to every local caterer and bar company in the area before my boss told me about Empire Pizza, which had come highly recommended to him by a family member.  I called them up, spoke with Sandy Levy and immediately felt comfortable with her.  Unlike some of the people I spoke with from the other catering companies, Sandy seemed genuine and calm.  She knew her stuff and how to sell it, but she wasn’t pushy or aggressive in any way.  She also informed me that Empire Pizza could handle the open bar as well, which was a huge plus.

Empire Pizza has a restaurant near Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale, so I made a reservation for me and my boss to go for a tasting and to meet with Sandy in person.  The food was delicious and her prices were unbeatable.  But best of all, I trusted Sandy to do a great job with our party.  She was so full of ideas and paid so much attention to small details that make a big difference.  I was sold.

As part of the deal that we made with Sandy, we had to provide our own alcohol and soda mixers.  Empire Pizza provided the juice mixers, garnishes, and little bar tools.  For our part, we went to Costco and loaded up on liquor, wine, beer and champagne.  In all, I’d estimate that we spent about $2500 there.

The night of the party couldn’t have gone smoother when it came to the food and drinks.  Sandy and her team of five servers/bartenders did an incredible job and our guests left full, drunk and happy.  If I ever need to hire a caterer again, I’m definitely calling Sandy.

Furniture & Glassware

Figuring out what I needed to order from the party rental company was probably the hardest thing to plan for.  The list changed so many times, but Better Party Rentals was patient and efficient.

After I hired Empire Pizza and figured out what they do not provide, I was to make a list for Better Party Rentals.  In all, we ended up renting high top tables, tables for the bar, linens for all tables, three types of glassware, a red carpet, and coolers.  They delivered the goods the day before the party and picked it up the day after.

Flowers

We didn’t go too crazy with flowers, but we wanted something pretty to put on some of the tables.  Originally we were going to get little arrangements for each of the 12 high tops, but after we increased the high top amount to 20 tables I flowersscratched that idea.  It would be too expensive, and I didn’t want it to look like flower overkill.  We ended up getting six medium-sized flower arrangements to put on the coffee tables throughout the office and one big arrangement for the lobby.

The florist I hired was Field of Flowers of Boca Raton.  They do beautiful work for affordable prices- the smaller arrangements, called the Classic Collection A, were just $36.95 each.  They delivered the flowers on time the morning of the event and I received a lot of compliments about them.

The (major) problem with Field of Flowers is that that almost NEVER answer their phone.  I’ve probably called them about 40 times, and they’ve answered about three.  This is SO frustrating, and I have actually moved on and used other florists because of this on other occasions.  Field of Flowers, if you are reading this, ANSWER YOUR DAMN PHONE!  I guarantee that you are losing a ton of flowers2business (not just mine) as a result of not picking up the phone.

Cake & Balloons

Publix got some extra business as a result of Jeanette, their event planner’s upselling efforts.  After I ordered a cake, she sent an email reminding me that Publix could also provide balloons, cold soda, deli platters, etc. She got to me right as I was contemplating whether to attempt transporting blown-up latex balloons in my car or buying a helium tank and doing it myself in the office.

For about $150 Publix blew up 100 latex balloons in the colors of my choice and delivered them right to the office.  It was perfect.

Backdrop/Step & Repeat

Every big party has one disaster, right?  For me, this is where it happened.

Since we were getting the red carpet, we decided that we needed a backdrop where everyone could be photographed as they entered the party.  I hired CB Signs because they offered me the best deal on an 8’ x 9’ step and repeat, also known as the white banner with the company’s logos all across it.

So I ordered this banner through CB Signs and was told that it would be ready a few days before the party.  Little did I know that they outsourced it from a company in Minneapolis, and that this company would mail the wrong banner to CB Signs just hours before my party.  When Christine called to tell me this, the correct banner was lost in UPS and nowhere to be found.

Christine apologized a million times and swore that they had never had this problem before, and promised to do everything she could to find our backdrop.  The night before the party, our backdrop was located five hours away in Jacksonville.  I told her to call me the minute she received it.

The next morning, I called CB Signs about 15 times before finally just getting in my car and driving to their office.  When I got there, the “Out to lunch” sign was on the door.  Christine returned about 15 minutes later and smiled when I introduced myself.

“You’re going to love this story,” she told me.  I’m glad she said that immediately because I was about to kill her.

Apparently she had spent the whole morning having a new banner hand made for me locally.  Right as that was finished, UPS showed up with the original one. Although she didn’t call me and tell me that any of this was happening, I appreciate her efforts and dedication to getting the job done. I also walked away with two banners that day which was nice.

Me and some of my girls on the red carpet

DJ

The DJ was the one thing I didn’t need to worry about because he was the brother of one of our employees and a good friend of my boss.  One less thing to worry about J

Magician

My boss insisted on hiring a magician to entertain our guests.  I hired a local named Gary Goodman, who I was told was one of the best in the area.  I was running around like a crazy person for most of the party, so I did not get a chance to catch his act, but I heard good things from those who did.

Gary Goodman working his magic

Photographer

The photos were taken by Sam Laskey, a freelance photographer who was a friend of my co-worker.

Jeremy and I having a good time at the party

Jeremy and I having a good time at the party

suzy sasha dan

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My New Food Blog

As you may or may not have noticed from some of my other blog posts in the past, I love food.  I love it so much that I decided to start another blog devoted to giving my recommendations of the best restaurants in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade County (and maybe occasionally others when I go on vacation).

On this site, which I’ve named Wine Me, Dine Me, South Florida, I have a list of some of my favorite restaurants in each county for every price range.  I’ve also already got a few articles up about the following topics and I will continue to add more as I grow the site.

Cheap Eats in South Beach

Fish Shack in Pompano Beach

Bash Wine Cafe and Catering in Sunrise

Best Happy Hours in Delray Beach

To check out the articles, just click on the links and if this blog interests you, please like and follow it!

Thanks!

Casey

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The Newest iPod Nano is Sweet!

My mother is pretty much the last person at the gym, aside from a few 80 year olds who go there to use the pool, who doesn’t listen to music while she works out. My brothers and I decided to buy her her first iPod (ever) for Christmas this year.  I went to the Apple store and bought her a Nano in her favorite color, purple, and then realized that my mom will have no clue how to set it up herself.

So I took it out of its package and hooked it up to my iTunes so that I can load it up with music, playlists and photos.  I haven’t felt the need to have an iPod Nano since the iPhone came out, so it’s been a few years since I’ve held one.  As I played with it, I couldn’t get over how different and cool the new ones are.

This seventh-generation Nano is the thinnest ever and roughly the size of a credit card, but its display screen is almost twice the size of the previous model.  Even though the screen is small, the photos that I loaded on it still look good. And, thanks to the accelerometer, photos auto-rotate as you go from portrait to landscape, which was nice.

The new Nano has a touch screen and is the first model to have a tiny home button, just like some of its bigger siblings. It has five buttons in all- a slender power button on the top and a three-way volume rocker that allows you to adjust the volume and, by pressing it in the middle, play/pause music or skip tracks.

Because my mom will be using the device while working out quite often, I will advise her to use the Nike+ function, which has been made better by having everything built-in.  Her Nano can track her walks and runs, and she can even connect a Bluetooth heart monitor wirelessly.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the new design of the Nano.  I think it’s the best yet, bringing lots of functionality in a tiny package.  I look at it as $149 well spent, and I’m excited to give it to my mom and watch her fall in love with her first Apple product.

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Push For Pizza

pizza

The most creative thing idea I’ve seen today is pizza at your fingertips – literally.  Created by TBWARAAD Dubai for Red Tomato Pizza is a fridge magnet that orders your favorite pizza for you with just the push of a button.

The magnet was given to some of Red Tomato Pizza’s most loyal customers, and it has their favorite order preset.  If hunger or a craving strikes, all they have to do is press the button to place an order.  The magnet is connected to the Internet via a Bluetooth connection on a smartphone.  After pressing the button, Red Tomato Pizza sends them confirmation text and then delivers the pizza soon after.  If the customer’s favorite order changes, they can sign online at any time to change it.

Pretty cool!  What local pizza places do you wish would deliver at the push of a button?

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Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed With Blue Cheese

Aside from being able to brew fresh tea and carefully follow each step of extremely simple recipes, I have little to no skills in the kitchen.  I’m great at cleaning up after Jeremy cooks for me, but when it comes to cooking, I am his opposite.  He can spend hours in the kitchen just daydreaming and playing around with ingredients, only to come up with a fantastic meal as a result.  Making it up as I go along never seems to work out for me, which is why I have come up with a few safe guidelines and I stick to them.

Over the years, while making food for others, I’ve found that there are ways to hide the fact that I’m not such a great cook.  My advice is to pick a simple dish that’s hard to mess up, and then throw in a fancy ingredient or two.  A traditional salsa with diced strawberries and kiwi mixed in.  Lobster mac and cheese.  I once added two drops of truffle oil to a bowl of honey on a fruit and cheese plate and it was a huge hit.

When cooking to impress I also often include bacon in the dish, even though I haven’t eaten pork in over 18 years.  People LOVE bacon, and as long as that’s cooked crispy and perfect, they never seem to care or talk about the rest.

Last week for Thanksgiving I made bacon wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese for Jeremy’s family. They came out great and they were extremely easy to make.

To get started, here’s what you need:

  • A container of dates
  • A pack of bacon.  I recommend thick, center-cut style.
  • Crumbled blue cheese (gorgonzola or goat cheese also works if that’s what you prefer)
  • Toothpicks
  • A baking sheet

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Slice the date open a little but don’t cut it in half.

3. Stuff the date with cheese.  I use a small spoon or a cheese knife to do this.

4. Close the date and wrap with about 1/3 of a slice of bacon, enough to go around.

5. Secure it with a toothpick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Put in the oven for about 25-35 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy.  I recommend turning them over about halfway through.

7. After they’re done baking, put them on some sheets of paper towel – that helps soak up some of the bacon grease.

8. Serve hot and enjoy!

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Casey Kurlander, Search marketing Specialist, BMI Elite