Standout Products & Mindful Marketing at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California

 

Standout Products & Mindful Marketing at
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I went to my first Expo West, it was AWESOME! Every green girl and marketers dream! I JUST LOVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP WITH PURPOSE! First of all, IT’S HUGE!!! If I ever make it back I am going for the entire length of the convention. This was a last minute thing I did not even get two full days in, and I was exhausted.  I am so glad I did not put on heels! You will get a workout, so all the food tasting is guilt free. The samples, oh the samples!!!  The awesome and generous Zevia crew are to thank for my biceps looking extra toned this week.  I will do more than one blog about the Expo because it is just so much stuff to talk about, I haven’t even had a chance to try HALF of the products.

stinkbugI am going to start with an East Coast based (represent!) company, because I liked the sample enough to buy some. TMI here, but I am very active & eat a lot of curry. I can get a little, hmmmm, aromatic.

Stinkbug NaturalsFinding a natural deodorant that: actually works, doesn’t clump up, and prevents sweat is near impossible. Stinkbug Naturals hit all three! I was given a sample of the Tangerine Spice and loved it after a 2 day test. I had it in my cart on Amazon, but found it at the Laguna Hill’s Marshalls. Score! I purchased the Patchouli. I have worn several materials too, including silk and have had no staining. All in all Stinkbug definitely doesn’t stink, at all.

20180314_125026I purchase Wanu water & nutrients often, but they had new delicious flavors worthy of a mention. I am an avid hiker, who needs more than just plain water to get up mountains. I am picky and sadly, if a product is not too sweet, it’s made up of a toxin I am allergic to called Acesulfame potassium. My go-to before discovering Wanu was coconut water which can sometimes be too heavy in my stomach and tastes awful if it gets warm. Wanu to the rescue! It is full of vitamins and nutrients and even though it does not have electrolytes, for me, it is one of the best drinks to get me through a long hike.  The Strawberry Serrano Lime is my favorite, the Kiwi Cucumber is very crisp and refreshing. Be on the look out for bottles on the shelves with a $1.00 off 2 coupon.

My favorite booth at the Expo was Alaffia, by far! It was beautiful, my hands were always full so I did not get many pics at the Expo. Check out their facebook  for all the pictures and video, they had live African music and dancing their entire team was super knowledgeable about their sustainable practices and helping women thrive!

I have been using Every Day Coconut Face Lotion every day since moving to Southern California it absorbs well, moisturizes, and its SPF 15.  This Alaffia is just one of those WIN/WIN/WIN can’t stop winning companies. Learn more about their mission and success stories here.  I love that they are re-branding so recognizing their expansive product lines will be easier.

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Uglies was there if you have not seen our blog on them yet. We love ’em! As you can see my Expo crew and I have a lot of products to test out for our businesses.

 

 

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SO. MUCH. STUFF! 

 

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Peace, Love & Dandelions, logo no pic website

5 Pragmatic Applications of Mindfulness in Daily Life 

mindfulness_cbt-partnership_org_ Image from LOVE LIVE LEAD www.loveliveparent.com

Why should we aim for mindfulness in our daily routines? 

The best answer I can think of is also the simplest,  a mindful presence creates heightened awareness of what we do in each moment. That applies to everything in our daily lives: The relationships we have, the work we do, the environments that we find ourselves in, and our productivity levels.

Its no big secret that one of the best ways to comprehend a concept is to apply it to our day to day activities. It’s small changes, through practical means, that have the biggest impact. Below are some easy ways to start being more mindful right now:

1. Practice right when you wake up. 

Practicing mindfulness when you first awaken each morning helps set the rhythm of your nervous system for the rest of your day. According to this Harvard Study, this simple practice increases the likelihood of other mindful moments. I  personally use a practice from my Raja Yoga book, by Swami Vivekananda to envision the ocean, so I can meditate in the mornings.

raja yoga

Sometimes meditation or stretching can make me want to jump back into bed, but I resist. I am training my mind to say “breakfast time” after my mindfulness routine. I am working so hard to not check my phone or email, read the paper, turn on the TV, or anything else, until after I have breakfast.  All it takes is around 15 minutes. If I can do it, so can you.

2. Enjoy what you eat

When I eat I practice a 5,000 year old trick from the Vedas. I would like to give you a brief introduction to Ayurveda (you  get to learn a little Sanskrit too) ayur – life or longevity, and veda science or knowledge. So, in a nutshell, Ayurveda is the science of a healthy life. So this is the simple trick – take a moment to enjoy the texture and the taste  of the food you are consuming! The benefit?  You’ll be more satisfied with less food and more likely to notice other subtleties throughout the day.

Not only does being mindful of what we are tasting and ingesting make us more focused heart, mindful, conscious, fruit, berry and grateful, but it aides in digestion. Who wants to get back to work with indigestion? That is what we will focus on. our tummies may not allow us to ignore their grumbles. When we guzzle down our food we tend to be hungry again sooner.

I recommend not to make a habit of eating at our desks. If you can only spare 15 minutes bring yourself a meal that you can prepare and eat in those 15 minutes. Yogurt and/or hummus with fruits and veggies are balanced “quick meals”.

3. Disconnect to Reconnect

At every opportunity we jump on our phones. We get to a meeting 2 minutes early and think “perfect time to check my Instagram”. Or we are at a restaurant waiting for our meal to come, and decide to check our emails. Take those 2 minutes to breathe, or even to enjoy the taste of your beverage – sip by sip.  Let’s face it we have to multitask to keep ourselves competitive. We don’t have to do it constantly in EVERY aspect of our lives.

Sounds simple, work smarter and live happier by withstanding the twin evils of temptation: to be “always on” and to multi-task in our multi-screen, always connected (yet disconnected) world. Practice mindfulness while you wait instead of letting an electronic device take up your mindspace. In our fast-paced lives, waiting is a big source of frustration – whether you’re waiting in line or stuck in traffic. While it may seem like a nuisance, waiting is actually an opportunity for mindfulness,  When you’re waiting,  bring your attention to your breathe, our next pragmatic application.

4. Slow down, stop & smell the roses.  

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I don’t preach what I don’t practice 🙂

Stop, be in the moment, breathe. How often do we forget to do this? Have you ever been somewhere and missed something like a work of art hanging right in front of you? Sucks when you have to travel over the Atlantic to not miss it next time….

Take a moment, and it really does just take a moment, to be aware of your surroundings. If you take a moment to stop and smell the roses, you’ll have more appreciation for all the beauty and abundance that life has to offer.

Another neat trick  –  it take only three deep breaths deep from your belly before and after every conversation, to make you more present during the conversation and clear your mind after. Another bonus of those mindful breathes is it can help you maintain a positive posture.

5. Take a hike! (MY FAVORITE) 

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Mount Pisgah “Willoughby Gap” North East Kingdom, Vt

There are healthy ways to multitask while practicing mindfulness. My favorite way is to hike while listening to an audio book or motivational speech. You get the benefits of exercise, fresh air, the opportunity to be mindful of your beautiful surroundings, and learn something new. I do make sure to take a break and just have silence too so I can be present fully. The Japanese call this Shinrin yoku  which translates to “Forest Bathing”.

Mindful people know that simply going for a walk can be excellent way to calm the mind, increase focus, and gain new perspective to facilitate greater awareness. Ancient Greeks had a term for this too, Solvitur ambulando, which is Latin for “it is solved by walking.”

There is scientific evidence walking through green spaces can actually put the brain into a meditative state, according to a 2013 UK study. The act of walking in a peaceful outdoor landscape was found to trigger “involuntary attention,” meaning that it holds attention while also allowing for reflection.

There are many more ways to be more mindful in our daily lives, but these 5 applications are a terrific start. What are your favorite simple ways to do things throughout the day that make a difference in being more mindful? Please comment below.

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.”

~ Jack Kornfield

 

Peace, Love & Dandelions,

Keri-Anne

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What are Mindful Marketing Solutions?

What is Marketing? 

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”(American Marketing Association)

Or the one I prefer from Business Dictionary 

The management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer. It includes the coordination of four elements called the 4 P’s (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) of marketing:
(1) identification, selection and development of a product,
(2) determination of its price,
(3) selection of a distribution channel to reach the customer’s place, and
(4) development and implementation of a promotional strategy.

Ok, so now that you know what we refer to by Marketing…

 

What the heck is “Mindful Marketing”? 

The concept is pretty general. Mindful – to be conscious or aware of something. 

So mindful marketing is being conscious and aware of ourselves and surroundings and applying them to the four P’s, specifically in our communications and deliveries.

 

dandelion mindful marketing solutions focus

 

Conscious Communications

At Dandelion Mindful Marketing  we have developed a solutions based system that offers a means of having  conscious communications through the 4 P’s of marketing. This isn’t some new age nonsense: Self empowerment, being conscious, becoming more mindful, living in the moment all make you less distracted. When you are less distracted it makes you  more capable of noticing what’s most important in what you are observing, how other people are feeling and reacting, and what’s most vital to do next. In marketing that is the formula for productivity. There is a lot of pausing, taking time to observe and reflect not just on your own behaviors, but of those around us. Its an Inbound methodology focused  on the consumer perspective.

If we take a stop back and look at the trends in consumerism you notice there is a massive market, in your existing base, who are looking for ethical and eco friendly brands. There is a massive market of individuals that are looking for inspiration to get involved in good causes. We don’t have to only fit consumer demand for a product, but demand for a brand’s image and culture  products that fulfill wishes leading by inspiration.

In this digital age its all about “Influencers” and “connectedness” Does you organization have the desire to be an inspiration and a trusted brand? If not, good luck. If so take a moment to step away and reflect, see you business through the eyes of the consumer.

 

Is your Company Mindful enough to Inspire? 

 

Great Resources about Mindful Marketing & Conscious Communications

I came across Lisa Nirell’s book “The Mindful Marketer” a few years ago.  She has worked for many Fortune 500 companies and knows her stuff. She defines success as always learning, which I so agree with. She articulates not just how to maximize your marketing, but does so by incorporating things that you don’t necessarily think of playing a role in marketing practices, like meditation and spirituality. She works on getting the CMOs and their teams to be more mindful.

Her book set me down the path to find a way to make marketing more meaningful and

dandelion mindful marketing peace in every step

impactful from the consumer perspective. Other books that provided insight that we correlate into Dandelion mindful marketing solutions and conscious communications are: The Art of Communicating by Thich Nhat Hanh, Just Enough Anxiety: The Hidden Driver of Business Success by Robert H. Rosen, and The Mindfulness Revolution by Barry Boyce.

 

“Mindfulness must be engaged. Once there is seeing, there must be

acting. Otherwise, what’s the use of seeing?”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Peace, Love & Dandelions,

Keri-Anne

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Who, What, Why, Where, and How? The Turbulent Past Year of My Life.

 

WHAT happened? 

In November 2016 my father, a healthy and active man, started to get really sick. The doctor told him it was Pancreatitis. He got a little relief from the diet they prescribed, briefly, and then things got worse. On Super Bowl Sunday he survived a heart attack, only to be diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer days later.  There was hope that he could get chemo and have a few months of less pain, but that was short lived when he went into septic shock from an infection and died on March 8, 2017. My world collapsed, my heart was torn from me. It was the cruelest most unfair thing to happen to a great man. He was only 64.

my daddy and I

The story gets sadder, but you learn by listening to what other’s have endured after a death, it’s not that uncommon. My father’s wife has always had it out for me, and making sure I got nothing was her biggest concern. I didn’t want anything. Actually that is not true, I wanted his kayak and cattail that we picked together in fall of 2016 in Vermont to use as punk for the following July 4th. My father LOVED shooting fireworks in the green mountains. I wanted to do the things he didn’t get the chance to. The day we picked that cattail he said something about not being around next year, I told him not to joke like that. Did he know? Why didn’t he tell me?

His wife, who I wish I didn’t have to mention, made it her mission to harm me. She made terrible accusations, turned it into a legal issue and not one person in my “family” had the courage or decency to help. It is literally impossible, but she is influenced by a very demented sister, the whole thing is very sad. I was told “I don’t want to get involved” or “I’ll pray for you”. Well, they knew my Father asked for one thing, something good to come from his death, and they didn’t care. So I had to say FUCK YOU! (noway to G-rate that and maintain authenticity, sorry)

As for my Father’s widow, well she has to live with herself everyday, when you hate more than you love things don’t turn out well for you. I can honestly say what I have always believed, the truth ALWAYS comes out. I showed her compassion, she showed me rancor.  I was understanding to her loss, I waited and hoped for a better outcome. It was in December (My birthday, then his, then Christmas and nothing) that I realized, this is who she is. I am finally free! My Father didn’t ask me to stick around to help her for a reason. He loved her, for many years so did I, so I wish her well. I have never been one to enjoy seeing anyone suffer, so fortunately its not too hard. At some point I hope to be able to forgive, but it doesn’t mean I have to accept them into my life again. I have a little brother that is so lost right now, I still have hope for him. In time, maybe. I really wish things were different, but they just aren’t. It gets easier when you accept that you are powerless to what another person does. My main mantra now  is “not my problem” when it comes to self destructive people. They will take you down with them, if you let them.

Keri anne slater best dad

My Dad and I

The years before my Dad got sick things weren’t as great as they used to be. I learned too late, Pancreatic Cancer lies dormant and makes people depressed and act out of character (for years in many cases). I didn’t know how to handle this changed man. I think as girls our fathers are our heroes, super heroes almost. I know mine was to me. He worked really hard and still found time to be my softball and basketball coach. He took us to other countries and taught us so much. I still feel so much guilt, even though I know you can’t change the past. I wish I was kinder, spent more time with him, had more patience, appreciated him more. Sadly so many of us don’t learn that our parents are only human too until tragedy. It doesn’t mean we can’t wish, right? Time travel was not proven impossible, only implausible. If anyone deserves a second chance its my Dad.

I was the last person with him when he was alive. I hate that I left the hospital that night. I fear he died alone, and he did not deserve that. I thought he needed to rest for dialysis surgery the next day. I blame myself for not doing more. I was so busy worrying about getting him help for the next day, the next week that I ignored how sick he really was an how his wife was in no place to be in charge of his care. Another reason why telling my “family” to Fuck off was easy, I called them for help before he died too…. They knew his wife was unstable, and that I was concerned with the care he was getting. They did nothing. It was all on me, and I let him down. I have to live with that everyday. I’m a very cerebral person, I know, it is a fact that if I handled things differently he would have had more time. I am sure he would only ask for a few more minutes, because there was not an ounce of greed in my Dad.

WHERE have I been?

Well, after seeing what “family” meant, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING,  (and that ALL lawyers are good for nothing parasites who want to milk legal drama for as long as they can to rob you blind) I left Long Island. I had been planning to leave anyway so it was a good thing, like my Dad had wanted. There were a few weeks on a farm in beautiful Upstate NY, but it wasn’t far enough away. I was still in shock, barely able to keep it together. A lot of people were worried about me, heck I was worried about me too – it was do or die, literally. My anxiety was out of control. I could not think straight, I could not handle anyone else’s drama. I needed to take care of me.

In August I packed my little Subaru Forester and drove cross country. I took the I-80 from NYC to Ohio got on the I-70 to Utah, the I-15 to Nevada then to California. It’s stupid easy to get to the other Coast, by the way. There were some amazing stops along the way I will share in another post. So, I was in Los Angeles and now I was going to be a star! NO, I actually had been working for an NPO for a few years and was out there to manage the national launch. That is a story for another day because the founder, was more interested in trying to tie me up in rope, than the non-profit (that wasn’t really a non-profit). Anyway that sucked because I didn’t just leave a job, I left someone I thought was a good friend too. Hopefully they get help for their issues, (repeat to self “not my problem” mantra) It will make for an LOL/WTF blog at another time, maybe a book…

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Griffith Park, Los Angeles

I was not a big fan of Los Angeles: the amount of homeless people is heartbreaking, it smells like urine, the traffic is no exaggeration, and there is no functional public transportation (NYC has the best public transportation in the U.S, I am sorry for all the times I complained) To be fair to Los Angeles, I was tired of city life in general.

I am thankful that I got to: hang out in Malibu, hike a few awesome trails, see some cool places, and meet some interesting people, some who are now dear friends. All was not lost with the crap that went on with the NPO. Long time friends from NY were only an hour north of LA so I got to see them and their precious kids regularly and catch up. I may not have a family in the traditional sense. but I am building one amazing tribe. I have a lot to be grateful for. I also see the humor in things. Like that time I narrowly escaped a “Buddhist” cult and the Church of Scientology. California is kind of like that.

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I left Silver Lake right after Thanksgiving,  and I currently reside in Orange County. Now I am living a quiet life while I figure things out. I have a roomate who is an artist, who should just be able to paint all day because she is very talented. It’s pretty chill. I hike all these amazing trails I don’t even have to get in a car and drive to.  When I am not working or hiking I spend my time studying and meditating at a Vedanta Monastery, or dancing and chanting with the Hare Krishnas.

WHY?

I ask myself that every. single. day. Why did my Dad have his life stolen from him? Why am I one of those girls with the tragic tale? Why are the people that I thought were supposed to be there for me, not? WHY WHY WHY? The only answer I am comfortable with is, I DON’T KNOW.  I know I left NY because I needed to do something big to save my life. Nobody was going to do it for me. There is nothing anyone can do or say to make it better.  There was nobody left to stick around for. Only people who wanted to harm me.  My protector was gone. All I had was the wisdom, heart, and humor that he instilled in me. It was all I had, and it was enough.

For the longest time I blamed myself. Bad things don’t happen to good people right? They do, its the balance of the universe. With absolute certainty I can say my Father did not deserve what happened to him. His death changed my perspective. There would be no flowers without rain, and no light without darkness. I also feared judgement from the horrific accusations made about me, but I learned those who know me, love me and don’t question me for a minute.

Why? Maybe because life is just hard sometimes. It’s not fair, it makes no sense for the most part, and you often just have to find ways to keep your head above water.

WHERE next? 

keri anne slater hiking dandelion

Hiking Belleview Trail

Since I am on the West Coast might as well see what opportunities there are for me out here. I am currently looking into San Francisco,  a lot of amazing projects going on there and I have the flowers in the hair thing down (yes, I am referencing Scott McKenzie) Nothing is secured yet, but the only thing that can stop me, is me (or a better opportunity elsewhere). I believe I need a mentor, I finally learned that I know so little. I can do amazing things, I know my potential, I just need to master my skills.

I want to make the world a better place. I want to help those fighting cancer in some capacity. Its hard right now: having not been paid for my work with the NPO I mentioned earlier, having to tap into my life savings,  taking a hit on my credit score (not having bills forwarded, thanks USPS), having my property stolen (including my Blackberry and computers), and still grieving makes everyday a challenge. I just try to focus on the good things I have in my life and move forward. There is literally nothing else I can do. You can’t fix legal issues without money, and there is no way in hell I am backing down. Wrong is wrong. I believe it will all work out in the end, I do. Besides, there are better things for me to be doing with my time, like being of service to others.

I found a Guru in Swami Vivekananda, now I just have to find a mentor. I also have this deep belief India is in the near future. Every day is a new chapter, all you have to do is turn the page. I know marketing is something I believe in and I’m really amazing at it. I love my clients, well the few I have left. I can and want to do more though. More for them, more for the world, more for my Father, and more for ME.

WHO have I become?

I look into the mirror and ask myself that every day. I am not the same person. Losing my Father changed me, drastically. While he asked for something good to come from his death, how do you do it without guilt? I am trying to figure that out, and trying to enjoy the journey. I know one thing is for sure, I am now unstoppable.

Things weren’t going too great for me even before my Dad got sick. I don’t know if I had a self sabotage thing going on, but my last two relationships were something out of a Lifetime movie. that all hit my self esteem, HARD. In my business I took on too much and crapped out, wasted time with border line con artists, and was just starting to get ahead again before my Dad got sick.

The things that used to debilitate me, no longer matter. I have become a warrior in a sense, I train for battle everyday. I exercise my mind, body, and spirit. Its not easy. What other options do I have? A Swami visited my Monastery this past weekend and he said this “If you have been influenced by anyone who is no longer here, prove it though your life, not through your tears.” Those words are my present and future. Without struggle there is no atman.

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Vedanta Monastery has been a Sanctuary

Spiritually I struggle too, I am still often agnostic. I was raised Catholic, and that is definitely not for me. I have always been drawn to Hinduism, with lots of criticism from my “family”.  Their judgement doesn’t matter anymore, I am doing what feels right for me. I would say I had been a philosophical Buddhist since high school. Science states that energy never dies, it just takes a different form. I would love to believe that when I die there is a heaven and I get to see my Dad again, but I just don’t believe that. For the most part I believe in some way we will cross paths again, but not as the same people we were in this life. I do however face days where I believe in nothing, thankfully those days are less and less often. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about my Dad, and the hardest are the moments I forget he is really gone.

HOW am I still so optimistic? 

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What else am I going to be? If you don’t have hope, what do you have? The thing I have learned though is hope without action is nothing. I don’t just have myself to fight for, I have my Dad’s dying wish. H e l l o, my company is named after the Dandelion, I am all about making wishes reality. I am also a tried and true Sagittarius, like my Dad, so maybe that helps.

There are a lot of really awful things I have chosen not to share at this time, but in comparison to the world losing a great man, its small potatoes. Part of my new outlook on life is to climb the biggest mountains first, save the hills for when you have spare time.

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Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.

~Rumi

If you have ever lost someone to Pancreatic Cancer please consider making a donation to the  Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, thanks.

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Peace, Love & Dandelions,

Keri-Anne

The Quest: Restore Marketing’s Reputation

Contrary to Popular Belief, Marketing is a Great Thing.Marketing makes it come true

I’ll start with a simple explanation of why I chose marketing. I want to help people. Marketing does that through understanding and empowering consumers, resulting in providing products and services that benefit society. Huh? For more background on that you can read my unconventional story.

In a nutshell, marketing is: understanding who people are, learning what they want or need, and communicating those results to the businesses that provide products to fulfill those wants and needs. Then the fun part, creatively finding ways to position the products around the needs of the customers.

The General Areas Covered Under the Marketing Umbrella

  • Market Research and Analysis
  • Non-profit, Retail, International Marketing
  • Product, Brand, Distribution Channel Management
  • Sales Management (note, not “selling”)
  • Advertising and Public Relations
  • New Product Planning

Marketing is for the Customer’s Benefit More So than a Business’s Profit.

Every step in marketing “science” revolves around the consumer. From the development to the pricing, and everything in between. The marketing cycle goes something like this.

 

The-growth-marketing-cycle

 

Marketing Helps Entrepreneurs & Non-Profit Organizations. 

Entrepreneurs are the dreamers, the crazy ones taking risks and chances developing products that can make the world a better place. Richard Branson is one of my idols. Marketing marries innovation with consumer demand. Marketing a non-profit does not just assist in achieving fundraising goals, you also need marketing to find those passionate volunteers who get out there and fulfill an organization’s missions in their communities.

How did Marketing Become Such a Dirty Word?

subliminal messagesSome terms negatively associated with marketing are: Propaganda, Manipulation, & Spin. I am going to defend the term “Spin” for a second. First, its really related to PR. Second, when done ethically it’s just turning lemons into lemonade. Not so bad, right?  I will get back to that and use some really scary terms like “Buyer Psychology” & “Subliminal Messaging” in a future post.

What’s to Blame For All of the Confusion? 

There are so many things I could blame, here are the three I see most often.

  • The Misrepresentation of Job Titles – Everyone is in marketing:  The cold caller that you just hung up on, and that SEO wizard promising a gazillion leads somehow became thought of as “marketers”.
  • The Lack of Distinction Between Sales and Marketing – Sales people work with the data marketing provides, they may market themselves to fulfill their duties, but they are not marketing a product, they are selling it
  • The Broad Terms of Social Media Marketing – Getting likes and follows is important to marketing your brand, but if that audience is not qualified it is not marketing

 

There are Snakes in the Grass. 

There are sleazy people out to make a buck at any cost in every industry, the majority of marketing professionals are not finding ways to manipulate you to spend your hard earned money on products you don’t need.

I work with some great small companies and we have built their marketing to focus heavily on building customer trust through education. We inspire consumers to research products, including the ones we want them to purchase. An empowered consumer, is a loyal consumer they did their homework and still chose your product.

Examples of the Rewarding Aspects of Being a Marketing Professional

Branding – sitting there with a business owner and graphics designer when the final logo that we collaboratively developed is finalized.  Even more awesome, when they see it on their business card and website or packaging. The confidence it gives a business owner to go out there, and the pride they feel is infectious!

Marketing Through Events – who doesn’t love a party? Integrating the brand with the design of the event is such a win win – Party with purpose!

Customer Relationships – Seeing a consumer share results of a product on social media, or reading a good review. Its connecting people, making sure the right products got in the right hands, and it feels great!

If you still think marketing is a dirty word, come back for future blogs. I am determined to restore marketing’s reputation.

“Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.”

– Seth Godin                                                                                                                             Author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker.

Peace, Love & Dandelions

Keri-Anne Slater 

 

Happy Earth Day! Let’s Grow it Forward and Build Sustainable Connections

Sustainable Connection

sustainability-venn-diagram

What is Sustainable Connection?

Our Mission is to connect those working on sustainable projects in different fields. To build our directory and make sure the right people can get in touch with one another. We want to help them develop innovative ideas together and to open doors for sustainable solutions. Together we can all enrich our communities with a better quality of life. If we all become more inter-connected.
Sustainability is the Path to Liberty
Sustainable Connection is a nonprofit, our “Grow it Forward” initiative is founded on the belief that every man, woman and child should have decent, safe and affordable food to to eat.

What is Grow it Forward?

Gardens and Wellness efforts with the “Pay it Forward” message behind our efforts and inspired by the Habitat for Humanity platform. We are helping low income families, single parent families, and those with special needs have gardens that provide…

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Out with the Stale, Land that Sale – Modernize your Marketing

Let’s say your business is doing great and you have not thought about re-branding or updating your website for a decade, well I can assure you that you could be doing even better if you kept up with the times. Here are the top 5 reasons based on my experience why its time to welcome your business into the 21st Century :


Marketing 101 – You want to reach new demographics – Kids these days they always have their face to a phone… Exactly! Those face in phone kids are your next phase of client.

You can better organize information and  materials for your clients and provide internet resources for them – We always want our clients to do their own research so we know they are comfortable with the decisions that they make when spending money on our products and services. It is so much easier for them to just go on your site and have it available at the moment their concern pops up.

To show the world that you are a business that adapts well to change – The most important thing in securing long term relationships with your customer base is TRUST, showing that your business is ready for anything and can handle constant change is a great way to earn that trust.

Who wants to be the “Under Dog”? – The big corporations may not have as good a product or service, but they have one heck of a marketing machine in-house and out-sourced.  You deserve to have a competitive edge! Don’t your customers deserve to know that your company is an option too?

Editing a status update, blog , or website is a blessing and simple to do. Reprinting or having potentional customers holding onto bad information and spelling is neither. Oh the agony of realizing there are errors on printout materials after they are printed (or worse mailed). If there is an important change or update that your consumers need to know about it can be posted in a matter of seconds on the web.


If you are in a classic business category like accounting, finance, or insurance that doesn’t mean it isn’t time to update. You may have a huge client list filled with loyal customers that you have had for decades, but eventually they pass the torch to their children. Those 3 industries have the highest percentages of customer loyalty, which I believe is because we are accustomed to looking  up to our parents for the most expensive desicions of our lives, as they have provided us all of them since birth. When those children rate your quality of service by what pops up on the computer you have to understand that your website and having a presence on social media is a huge part of their rating system and you will be visually qualified or disqualified based on that. Possibly, without any regard to your credentials or the quality of service that you provide. It may not be fair, but sadly it’s true.

Ways to modernize your branding and implement the web into your business model 

Logos – Pixelation, Resolution, WHAT? Simply put, a logo that is not clear and sharp is going to set your brand back. I have been deciding what to do with my logo (and website) for months, but I know it needs to be done. Soon I will send my wishes to my graphic designer, a logo is not something you should be doing without the proper programs or skills.  As much as I love DIYs this is not one I recommend unless you are a pro. Also, make sure to use a focus group before finalizing – even if it is just business associates, friends, and family.

Tag Lines – Does your business even have one? I have so many clients who tell me they have always wanted a tagline, or that they had ideas for some. Yet, they then tell me that they never made it part of their branding. Tag lines will also help a lot in Search Engine Opimization (SEO) Of course it is a big decision. Sometimes it’s very personal, but your tagline is vital –  after your logo it’s the best and briefest way to identify what you do, with who you are.

Information – Traditional informational materials like: business cards, brochures, and mailers are just not what they used to be. Many customers have concerns about the waste and want to work with businesses that care about the environment, and many business owners have concerns about the waste of money. I am not opposed to traditional informational materials at all, but there are so many other options to look at as well. You can even print your materials on seed paper, yeah plain old boring recycled paper is so 2012.

Promotional Items – The same concerns come up as above, wasting material and wasting money. The days of notepads and pens are numbered. Get your updated logo printed on some USB chargers or Solar flashlights. The more likely a client is to use the item, the more likely they are to use you!

BONUS: Top Social Media Sites & Their Benefits

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“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
~ George Bernard Shaw

Peace, Love & Dandelions

Keri-Anne Slater 

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10 Reasons To Hire An Event Planner

event_collage baby funds

Most people have planned their own parties before and set up meetings for their office, why pay someone to do something you can do yourself?  Well, to start off event planners specialize in planning events.  We chose this profession because we love the industry and have experience in it. So besides our love and experience why else should you choose an event planner over planning it yourself?

1) Events Take Time to Plan – Sometimes planning an event takes times away from the the things you love and are good at. Do you really want your administrative assistant missing a call from an important client while she is on the phone discussing details with the venue? Or if you are a mother planning a sweet sixteen how much nicer would it be to spend a day shopping with your daughter instead of spending the day stuffing swag bags or stringing paper flowers? Overlooking details is so easy to do when you have other important things going on.

2) Planner relationships save you money – We already have existing business relationships with vendors, we know the going rates and who is reliable. We use our knowledge of the market to negotiate the best prices and are often able to get planner discounts.

3) We have seen it all – We know what can go wrong -we also have learned the hard way how to fix it and prevent it. Most dilemmas often occur during the beginning of an event, where you will be getting ready or greeting your guests, which brings us to number 4

4) Management of your event behind the scenes so you can enjoy it – You will be the the representative of your company, the parent of the birthday child, etc you cannot be a full time producer too, and why should you? Enjoy your day!

5) Saving you from uncomfortable family situations – Seating arrangements and misaddressed or poorly formatted invitations can cause major rifts with families. We specialize in proper event etiquette, and double check the details for you. It is much easier to tell a guest who doesn’t like their table that the planner suggested it and why. It is also easier for us to remind you to call Aunt Sally whose invite got sent back because she moved into that retirement community. We will have your back, don’t worry.

6) Organization and timelines to keep you on track – Even if you hire an event planner never forget it is YOUR event any good event planner wants you involved as much as you can be. Remember it is YOUR WISH, we are just helping make it happen . We need your help too and we understand life is hectic but if you really want that room and that caterer you need to contract before they are booked – we will remind you to sign those papers!

7) Oversight expertise – Your venue focuses on reception details,  your baker the cake, your florist the flowers, and your DJ his set. Our job  is making sure everything runs without a hitch. We oversee the entire production from invites to clean up and financial closings. We also are there for you if you have any questions or concerns we act as the middle person.

8) Multi-tasking and problem solving is our thing – We aren’t called event COORDINATORS for nothing! Who is going to make sure the vendors arrive on time? Who is going to give your special guest speaker directions if he is lost? See that the tents and tables are fully assembled? The layout matches your vision?  The Ring Bearer has the ring? A million details need to be accounted for to prevent a million things from going wrong -and things never go 100%  according to plan, but a planner knows that and can handle any situation that may arise.

9) Maintaining the desired budget Someone has to keep you in check, or from signing too many! Even though event planners have the ability to get you so much more from your budget, part of our job is to keep you in it. We want your memories to last forever, not your debts!

10) We will be there for you – If you are stressed about your big day not only do we make sure all of the details are taken care of, we also act as a shoulder to cry on and someone to vent to. We are a team working together to achieve the same goal – your event being absolutely amazing.

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” 
― Dalai Lama XIV

Peace, Love & Dandelions

Keri-Anne Slater 

Creative Director 

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Delicious Dandelions – The Incredible, Edible & Most Misunderstood Plant

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”   

dandelions

Spring is here and Dandelions will start popping up everywhere soon. Your first thought should definitely NOT be “I need to pick up some herbicide” or “time to get my gloves and start weeding” it should be “I can make beautiful flower crafts and fabulous FOOD”!

I have always loved dandelions. They are flowers the color of the sun, bees and butterflies enjoy their pollen, they are plentiful and they are edible. Most people do not even realize when ordering or buying a box of high end salads, like “Spring Mix” that they are in fact eating dandelion greens. Or “weeds” as so many like to refer to them as. You can even forage for them yourself for free, and since most public parks do not use pesticides they are organic. Using the greens in salads can get boring, you can add  them to pesto and green smoothies too. What even less people seem to know is that the actual yellow flower itself is edible, and can be used to make: wines, teas, jellies, coffee, and even sorbet!

Besides eating them what else can this “weed” possibly be good for?  Well, when you were a kid did you make dandelion head wreaths? I would spend hours making them, then finding the flowers that had “puffed” so I could blow and make my wishes while wearing my flower crown.  I remember playing games with my friends where we were fairy princesses. Ahh, but I digress as drift off into those wonderful memories….

still-life-consisting-lilac-dandelions-15042738 Do not underestimate their flower power. Dandelions can look simply amazing in an arrangement. The  bright  yellow looks especially nice against a nice purple flower, like lilacs. You can also use the flowers as  edible  garnishes. The flowers are bitter, but if crystallized with sugar they make beautiful and yummy cake  decorations.

I find blogging to be very difficult sometimes, I have so much admiration for those who can do it. I am good at talking about dandelions  though, I could go on and on forever. I will share a recipe and craft instructions below which I hope you enjoy. I am going to have to save some more for upcoming blog posts, there are a lot!  I am sure I will come up with or learn of a few more as well – It will be just Dandy, so stay tuned:)

Dandelion Greens w/ Balsamic Vinegar & Pine Nuts 

  • 2-2.5 lbs freshly picked dandelion greens
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, (whole or pieces, both will work)
  • 1.5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use Pink Himalayan)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • OPTIONAL – Goat or Gorganzola cheese

1) Clean your greens!  Trim off thickest parts  of the stems and discard along with any tough leaves. Roughly tear or chop the remaining greens and put them in a large bowl

2) You can roast your pine nuts in the pan and then put them to the side before adding oil, it is optional but really brings the flavor out

3)  Heat your oil in a small skillet over a medium low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is golden. Stir in vinegar and salt and pepper.

4) Pour your hot vinaigrette, then your pine nuts over the greens and mix. If using cheese sprinkle on top after mixing

5) Serve immediately, and ENJOY

Crystallized Dandelion Flowers     dandelion sugaring

  • About 1 lb of Dandelion flower “heads”
  •  Egg whites
  • Superfine organic cane sugar
  • A small soft bristle paint brush
  • *Water
  • Parchment Paper

1) Pick through your dandelions and discard any flowers that are losing a lot of petals or look or smell bad. Run them under water to make sure they are clean and free of any dirt or insects. Leave them in a colander, on a baking sheet, or a wire rack to air dry thoroughly

2) Beat an egg white lightly in a bowl. *Add a few drops of water if your egg white is on the thicker side.  Break off any remaining stems from the flowers,  but be careful not to break it too close causing all those petals to come lose. Hold your flower by the base while using the fine paint brush to paint the petals with the egg white. With dandelions you will not actually be able to get into all the petals, but make sure the tips are covered to almost halfway down and the sides. It does not require a thick layer, but a complete covering of the whole flower is key

3) Place the painted flower into a bowl with superfine sugar. Using a spoon, gently scoop and sprinkle the sugar over the the flower. Be careful not to bury the flower as this may crush and damage the petal, ruining the shape. Once the petal is fully covered with the sugar, remove it from the bowl and carefully shake off any extra loose sugar

4) Place the sugared flower onto parchment paper and allow it to dry uncovered for about 10-14 hours

5) Repeat the process to produce as many flowers as are required. Make extra crystallized flowers in case some become damaged during painting or sugaring

6) Once your flowers dry they should be used as soon as possible. If adding to a cake or cupcakes, especially if in a warm area, decorate immediately before serving

7) They can also be stored in the fridge (Veggie drawer) , or a cool dark and dry spot for a few days in an airtight container. (Make sure not to stuff  them too tight into the container)

I have made these before and been very rough with them, I had cleaned them in a salad spinner, dipped them in the egg whites, put them back in the spinner for a few slow spins to remove globs of egg white, then threw them in a brown bag with the sugar and shook them up gently, then laid them out. They came out okay, but if doing it using my “rough method ” please use your own judgment and start off slow and gentle:) You will determine how many eggs and how much sugar you need as you go along.

Dandelion Head Wreath Instructions 

This is a hard one to explain – but Melissa at sempstress.org has already done a great job of providing instructions  with great pictures showing the process, and check out her site for amazing fabric patterns and other crafts

Step 1 Step 2Step 3

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”   

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Peace, Love & Dandelions

Keri-Anne Slater 

 

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Spring Fling Flower Inspirations

 It has been a long cold winter up here on the North East. Winter can be beautiful, snow and ice is gorgeous glistening as it sits upon bare branches and lush green pines – but after shoveling about 4 tonnes of snow you yearn for something different. I noticed a few Crocuses popping up through the dirt, those bright little bulbs are a sure guarantee Spring is really here.There are so many flowers out there that do not get as much love as they should. Daffodils, Tulips, and Pansies are all beautiful and a classic to Ring in the Spring, but don’t be afraid to add some more underestimated flora t0 spice up your party, or just to brighten up your house.

Look for INSPIRATION everywhere …. My inspirations come mostly from nature, and Spring Flowers are just so exciting. Here are a few of my favorites.

1) CrocusesThey grow “pre-arranged” and look best potted or planted along garden borders. The colors are crisp and bright, and as I mentioned before they just pop out of the earth and shout Spring is Here! I love mixes of purple, yellow, and white. 

 crocus My Crocuses

2)ForsythiaHello Yellow! Forsythia are the walls of yellow you will find along roads and fences. Gorgeous slender branches with oodles of yellow flowers that may be simply shaped, but the color is so bold. Think garlands, wreaths, sprays, really so many uses with it having sturdy branches, no thorns, and it growing so tall. Weight your vessels with glass, sand, or marble these will be top heavy.

 Living wall of forsythia 3-D Forsythia & Bamboo wall 

3) Muscari Growing up I always called these “Blue Bells”, but the most amazing thing about these besides their dainty look, and powdery yet glistening coating is the heavenly scent. Fresh and slightly perfumey, not too overbearing to have some on a table. Here are some instructions to make an easy Spring Muscari Arrangement


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  • Vessels (Appetizer bowls work great)  
  • Pea gravel
  • Muscari plants
  • Fresh or dried moss
  • Ribbon
  • Shallow rectangular tray
  • Foil-covered chocolate eggs

STEP 1

  • Line each vessel with 1/2 inch of gravel. Remove plants from containers; set one in each vessel. Cover root-ball with moss. Secure stems loosely with ribbon.

STEP 2

  • Set vessels in tray. Fill tray with eggs, and tuck a few into moss.

STEP 3

  • Water immediately and when they start to dry out

goodbye winter

Peace, Love & Dandelions

Keri-Anne Slater 

Creative Director

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