June 18, 2024


Let’s Get Visual With Social Media

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There are plenty of examples of unique ways to use imagery all over the internet, but all businesses are different, so which is right for you?

With Facebook making their timeline feature permanent for business pages, and Pinterest and Instagram gaining traction in popularity and social influence, now is a good time to explore the ways in which social media is shifting toward a more visual experience and what businesses can – and should – do to take advantage of these new platforms and emerging trends. In fact, the news of Facebook buying Instagram for $1 billion only puts an exclamation point on that statement. So what kind of strategy should businesses take to target and engage with consumers in this environment?

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First of all, don’t waste time lamenting that your business isn’t image-friendly. Just because you can’t display dishes made with fresh ingredients like Trader Joe’s on Pinterest, or easily post large portions of a catalog like Macy’s, does not mean you can’t join social visual sites or take advantage of Facebook’s timeline. What your business must think about is how images can help enhance your brand or tell your brand’s story in an engaging way.

When we work with clients that are expanding their social presence, we don’t simply transition their existing visual assets into a new format. It’s important to strategize about the ways that consumers will interpret and interact with content, and how it will benefit the brand or enhance the consumer relationship.

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There are plenty of examples of unique ways to use imagery all over the internet, but all businesses are different, so which is right for you? As a couple of high-profile examples, it is worth checking out GE on Pinterest and Instagram, and Coca-Cola on Facebook, because each provides a pretty decent blueprint for telling a story with imagery and not just sharing pretty pictures.

Visual Social Media Examples

Coca-Cola is blessed with a strong brand association with consumers and a well-documented history, so it is no wonder they were able to compile a rich and compelling visual timeline on the official Coca-Cola facebook page. Coca-Cola puts pre-Facebook content on their page so that they can take you all the way from their founding to present day. By following the timeline, users see the branding and commercials with which they’re familiar supplemented by images they may not have seen before, such as an 1893 letter to Coca-Cola from a soda fountain manager lauding the drink’s popularity and ability to generate profits for his business. The user now knows that even before the 1900s consumers had a thirst for Coca-Cola, and they’re just a small part of that history.

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General Electric has a similar approach on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GE) but with calls to action hidden throughout; one such call to action cropped a small portion of a jet engine image and teased users with the question “What do these parts make?” They then revealed the answer – and the full jet engine image – at 300 likes. On their Pinterest and Instagram pages, GE takes consumers through a visual journey of their business from historic photos and videos to current images of factory workers and the “Badass Machines” each generation of GE workers has produced.

Remember, you don’t need to attract users with your images; consumers have already chosen to come and visit. You need to connect with consumers through the visual medium to inform them about your brand in a fun, unique, and interesting way. By posting images that are relevant to your business and that engage the consumer, you can provide a glimpse into the everyday life of your company.Inviting consumers into the company’s life creates a greater sense of community among all consumers that interact with your site.

Are Retailers Seeing The End Of The Impulse Buy?


Retailers have long relied on consumers making an impulse buy/purchase. Check out the Impulse Shopping Fact Sheet for some interesting stats re: Impulse Buying.

There are of course many definitions for the term but in general it is “to buy on impulse without proper reflection.”

Well it seems many folks are reflecting on these decisions long before they even leave their house.

Ellen Byron, in an article written for the Wall Street Journal “In-Store Sales Begin at Home” writes…

“In-store marketing—the practice of trying to influence consumers’ buying decisions as they shop—traditionally consisted of flashy product displays, special promotions at the end of the aisle and attention-grabbing packaging on the shelf… [[however]] shoppers are researching their grocery lists online before going to the store.”

In fact, 62% of shoppers say they search for deals online for at least half of their shopping trips, this according to a survey by consulting firm Booz & Co. and trade group Grocery Manufacturers Association.


So is the impulse buy a thing of the past?

No… there will always be the need for a well-crafted, flashy, inviting in-store display to entice shoppers. As Ms. Byron writes “the shift hasn’t eliminated the need for effective campaigns inside stores.”

On the contrary, as according to the aforementioned survey, 83% of consumer-product companies say they plan to increase their investments in shopper marketing over the next three years, while 55% say shopper marketing is their top investment, with spending increases topping 5% annually.

So what does this all mean for retailers and marketers?

Well it should come as no surprise to retailers and marketers alike that more and more consumers are utilizing the digital space to find the best deals before heading off to the store.


The key will be, as it always has been, to know your customer and potential customer.

But long gone are the days where you “only” had to know high-level demographics such as age, sex, income level, etc.

You need to know them AND find them in the digital space, as well.

BUT… just because you find them in the digital space, do not make the assumption that’s where they want/prefer to get the best deals.

Unfortunately for retailers and marketers, it is anything but an exact science. With so many media options available, the key will be finding the right mix of offline and online sales approaches and campaigns.

Are you a retailer who relies on impulse buys?

Do you reach out to your customers and potential customers via daily deal sites?

The Best Places for Couples

Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or somewhere to enjoy a great vacation with your partner, the opportunities are only limited by your imagination. There are many destinations to choose from that are designed to make couples feel comfortable and welcomed, and spending time together in these exotic and peaceful retreats might even enhance your relationship.

Tabacón Resort Spa Thermal Resort

Enjoy the romantic surroundings of the Tabacón resort Spa in Costa Rica. This five-star resort is located at the base of the Arenal Volcano and provides its guests with a luxurious place to relax and enjoy the comforts of a world class hotel. The resort features comfortable suites with king- or queen-size beds, large Jacuzzis, garden views and many special amenities like cozy robes, slippers, DVD players and coffee makers with a selection of coffees. The resort also has its own on-site gift shops, cafes, pool and spa and is set in the middle of an exotic rain forest. The guest services desk can take care of any special needs you may have and there is also a medical staff on site. The resort offers plenty of activities to help you enjoy your stay, but when you are ready to venture out, check out the fantastic mountain hiking trails in the rain forest, or take a tour to see the many sides of Costa Rica.

Tabacón Resort Spa Thermal Resort
La Fortuna de San Carlos
Costa Rica
(877) 277-8291

Westglow Resort and Spa

Get pampered in one of the most luxurious spas in North Carolina at the Westglow Resort and Spa. Set in the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the resort features a Greek Revival mansion with a very attentive staff waiting to provide you with first-class service. Enjoy cozy guest rooms in the Cedar lodge, day spa services including everything from weight management packages to stress relief sessions, fitness center and classes, personal trainers and even hiking, biking or luxury camping adventures. If you are looking for more recreational activity, the resort also includes canoeing, golfing, fly fishing, horseback riding, white water rafting and more. This health and fitness spa is a great place for couples to get away and enjoy their time together.

Westglow Resort and Spa
224 Westglow Circle
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
(800) 562-0807

The Alexandra Resort

Relax in one of the most beautiful locations on Earth when you check in to the Alexandra Resort on the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean Sea. This romantic resort is the perfect place to get away and features some of the best accommodations of any resort. With beachfront restaurants, theme nights, Caicos Dream Tours, pools with swim up bars, an on-site fitness center and spa and more, you will find everything you need for a great vacation. The Alexandra Resort features very comfortable guest suites ranging from beachfront studios to four bedroom oceanfront suites. For the ultimate in romantic dining, ask about the barefoot dining package, where you and your special guest will be treated to a cozy candlelight dinner on the beach including a table with linens and all the luxuries of dining indoors with the ambiance of the ocean setting.

The Alexandra Resort
Princess Drive
Grace Bay
Turks & Caicos Islands
(800) 284-0699

Fun Camping Accessories

Fun Camping Accessories

Casual as well as more experienced campers are all familiar enough with the basics: a tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, pillow, Coleman stove, lantern, a couple of chairs and propane–lots of propane. But there are all sorts of twists and new avenues in the ever-changing world of camping gear and accessories that can make your next camping trip more comfortable, enjoyable and fun.

Cool Camping Gear

An online camping portal with the appropriate name of Cool Camping Gear (see References, below) offers the Kamp-Rite Tent Cot. It’s an elevated, reclining cot wrapped in a personal-size tent, complete with mesh windows and doors. It’s a great way to sleep out under the stars without worrying about bugs. And thanks to an aluminum frame, you’re nearly a foot off the ground, so there are no concerns about mice or other creeping critters crawling into your sleeping bag, either.

Fun Camping Accessories

Cool Camping Gear also recommends the GSI Deluxe Gourmet Camp Kitchen, a foldable “kitchen” complete with a double sink, cutting boards, drying racks, and cooking and storage shelves. There’s even an optional pressurized fresh- and waste-water system.

Coleman Goodies

Coleman, one of the most prevalent names in the camping gear and accessories industry, has two nifty gadgets idea for those campers who would like at least some of the comforts of home.

The Hot Water on Demand water heater promises your first batch of hot water in just 5 seconds. The device heats 40 gallons of water with one compact 16.4-oz. propane cylinder and has a wealth of accessories, including a carrying case, a hose adapter and even a spray adapter for those long, hot morning showers.

Fun Camping Accessories

Coleman also makes a drip coffee maker specifically made for camping; instead of plugging it into an electrical outlet, you heat it over a camp stove. It’s like a Mr. Coffee on steroids–and it sure beats that old percolator.

Night Time is the Right Time

If you have kids, take advantage of the clear night sky with a pair of night-vision goggles. You can see clearly in the dark through a greenish haze just like the military or police do, and goggles are great for night-time rounds of hide-and-seek, tag or I Spy.

Fun Camping Accessories



Everything is bigger in Texas’ is the favorite phrase of every Texan. Their state is the second largest, but if you think Alaska is mostly unoccupied territory, Texans have even a better reason to be proud. They don’t have much appreciation for snow, since their state is keen on giving them high temperatures. Texas was before an actual country and the locals are very proud of their state.


Against public perception, Texas is not just about ranches, agriculture or farming. Texans might wear cowboy hats and boots, but it’s not their everyday attire. A mix of Mexican and some local spicy food will certainly make you think twice about leaving the state. Their love of pickup trucks is not exaggerated. Even those who work inside an office prefer this type of transportation. The locals brag about their hospitality and they don’t lie. They’re open-minded, talkative and direct. Many stereotypes portray them as loud, nosy, backstabbing and uneducated. However, many of these stereotypes speak of the nation’s hate towards George W. Bush, who used to be their governor, than for Texans themselves.


If you want to visit Texas, start with the Alamo Mission, which includes a 300 years old Spanish construction. Other buildings made by the Spanish speak of Texas’ history, especially in San Antonio. A giant cowboy boot in Edmont, the Fountain Place, the Hyatt Regency and the State Capitol in Dallas are good choices for your trip. The Reunion Tower and Ferris wheel are easy to spot in Dallas. The library, San Jacinto Battleground Site and many other historic places are open for Houston’s visitors. The Aztec Theater remains a curiosity for tourists, fooled by its apparently old exterior, which hides in fact a movie theater. For the more artistic types, the Arts district features architectural wonders, many museums and the Dallas Black Dance Theater. For the most adventurous, try exploring its desert and the many wonders it preserves.

Honeymoon Ideas in June


Now that all of your wedding plans are under control, it’s time to decide where to go for your honeymoon. With endless options available, the task at hand may seem daunting, but remember that no matter where you and your spouse travel to on your honeymoon; you will be in newlywed bliss. However, traveling in June offers some options that may not be enjoyable or available other times of the year.


The Bahamas

The Bahamas, although pleasant, are not always conducive to fun in the sun in the middle of winter because the daytime highs may only reach the low 70’s. When you take your honeymoon in June, you are guaranteed to be able to enjoy basking in the sun as newlyweds. One of the best ways to celebrate your new found union in the Bahamas is at one of many couples only all-inclusive resorts. For those couples that have large amounts of disposable income, renting a private island adds the ultimate touch of luxury to a honeymoon in June, not to mention the kind of privacy that a newlywed couple would like to enjoy.



If you want to bask in romance instead of the sun, a romantic getaway in Vancouver, British Columbia, or Banff, Alberta, will surely supply you with a trip to remember. Both Vancouver and Banff are for the more adventurous honeymooners. In Vancouver, you can go kayaking in the Pacific Ocean and take a guided walk through the West Coast Rainforest. In Banff you have the opportunity to go rafting in the Canadian Rockies and go hiking near Lake Louise. Regardless of your choice, both options allow you to cuddle with your sweetheart by the fireplace after a long day outdoors.



For the ultimate escape from the stress of planning a wedding, couples should venture to Maine for their honeymoon in June. One of the most frequently visited cities in the summertime, especially by newlyweds, is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can stay at one of the many intimate bed and breakfasts in town and find yourself in close proximity to the ocean and Acadia National Park. Don’t forget to take a dinner cruise along the coast so you can take in a different view of the picturesque shoreline.


The Mediterranean

There are so many countries that border the Mediterranean and many of them would make a romantic honeymoon destination. You can’t choose only one, and June is the perfect time of year for a Mediterranean cruise to get a sampling of romance from each port that you visit. You can find out if newlyweds have good luck at one of Monte Carlos’s upscale casinos, steal a kiss from your honey in the romance-filled piazzas of Rome, search for treasures at the Grand Covered Bazaar in Istanbul and visit historical sites from the over 2,000 year old city of Alexandria, Egypt.

Crazy Things to Do in Paris

Crazy Things to Do in Paris

Crazy Things to Do in ParisWith so many world-famous things to see and do in Paris, it might be difficult to set aside a day or two to visit a sampling of the city’s more off-beat attractions. Some of the more unusual things, however, may turn out to be the most memorable. Whether taboo, macabre, underground or just plain off the wall, Paris boasts myriad attractions to keep visitors entertained, surprised and, in some cases, shocked.

Erotic Museum

Located in the heart of the infamous Pigalle district, the Erotic Museum features seven floors of art and artifacts devoted to the history of erotica. From bawdy sculptures and off-beat paintings to devices, sex toys and more, the museum’s collection of taboo items will entertain and shock.

Musée de l’Erotisme
72 boulevard de Clichy Paris

Sewer Tour

Below the city streets lurks a dank, dark sewer system made famous by Victor Hugo in “Les Miserables.” In the 1970s, boats took tourists through the tunnels. Today, the museum is visited atop metal grates beneath the Quai d’Orsay on the Left Bank.

Gay District

Stroll the Marais District on Friday evenings and enjoy the many clubs and restaurants of the gay quarter, where thousands of happy patrons spill out of clubs and onto the streets. The real party does not get started until 1 a.m., when the dance clubs turn up the beat.

Crazy Things to Do in ParisCatacombs

An underground world of skulls and bones reveals a surreal slice of French history. Neatly stacked to form walls on either side of walkable tunnels, millions of Parisian skulls were exhumed from local cemeteries beginning in 1785. These macabre residents are now the sole occupants of dimly lit corridors beneath city streets.

1, Place Denfert-Rochereau
75014 Paris, France
+33 1 43 22 47 63

Musée de la Curiosité et de la Magie

The mysterious world of magic is on display in this fascinating museum, where artifacts include optical illusions, objects that float on thin air and a box for sawing people in half. A fun live show takes place every half hour.

Ecole de Magie
11, rue St-Paul 75004
01 42 72 13 26

Top 13 Kids Best Protection & Safe Sunscreens


SUMMER….SUMMER….SUMMER……where are you?


Maybe you noticed that lately I have been complaining a lot about the lack of sunshine and warm weather.

Honestly, yesterday according to my huge wall calendar it was JUNE 8th…… and I was wearing long pants and sweatshirt….that is absolutely ridiculous and will not stand for that.


Do you hear me Mother Nature? Do you?

I figured that if I keep writing about summer stuff Mother Nature will eventually take the hint and some sunshine will come our way as well.

So here it goes…lets talk about SUNSCREENS…..specifically sunscreens that offer the best protection for our children.

If your kids are anything like mine you spend hours and hours telling them over and over until you blue in your face to keep their hats on, wear their sunglasses and drink lots of water.

We all need to pay close attention and protect our kids as well as ourselves from harmful UV rays.

Skin cancer is on the rise and lots of it is from not applying proper sunscreens and not paying attention to protection from sun from an early age.

Therefore……using the proper sunscreen to protect our kids from sun damage is very important.

Kids Best Protection Sunscreens

When using a sunscreen for kids you need to have few things in mind:

#1 Sunscreen is not expired

#2 Make sure the kids sunscreen has the highest SPF available

#3 Sunscreen is water-resistant

#4 Sunscreen for kids is hypoallergenic and fragrance free

#5 Sunscreen provides broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection.

#6 Sunscreen does not contain lots of harmful chemicals


Every year before summer starts I do a little research and see what sunscreen protection for kids is available on the market.

I make a list of best sunscreen lotions to protect my kids and I look for sales and coupons, because….have you seen the price of sunscreen lotions lately?

According to my internet research the best and safest sunscreens and sunblocks that have everything that I look for to protect my kids from the sun and keeping them from harmful chemicals at the same time are:

Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Mineral Block Face Stick, SPF 50
Blue Lizard Baby Australian Sun-scream, SPF 30
Coppertone Kids Pure & Simple Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50
Coppertone WaterBabies Pure & Simple Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50
BabyGanics Cover Up Baby Sunscreen for Face & Body, Fragrance Free, SPF 50+
BabyGanics Cover Up Baby Sunscreen Stick, Fragrance Free, SPF 50
Badger Baby Sunscreen, SPF 30+
COOLA Baby Unscented Natural Mineral Sunblock, SPF 45
COOLA MineralBaby Moisturizer Suncare, Unscented, SPF 45
UV Natural Baby Sunscreen, SPF 30+
Little Forest Sunscreen Lotion For Babies and Kids, SPF 30+
Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunblock Stick, SPF 60+


For many years Neutrogena and Banana Boat were on top of my list when it came to using sunscreen for myself and my kids, but few days ago I read a post called “Is Your Sunscreen Harming You?” from a Stumble Buddy of mine Heather from With A Side Of Sneakers which made me change my mind.


To make sure your kids are well protected this summer sunscreen can’t do the job on it’s own.

To give your kids maximum sun protection make sure they:

put on the sunscreen
wear sunglasses
put on the hat
use sun protection clothing
Stay in shade and keep hydrated

Kids Best Protection Sunscreens