MY DIY Engagement Party Centerpieces

Pinterest has become the ultimate destination for inspiration and creativity – especially for brides. Let’s face it, there are two kinds of people in this world. Those who will pay a premium to have someone else create a one of kind piece and those who think to themselves “I’m creative, artistic and fully capable, why don’t I just do it myself?”

Which brings me to my own engagement party, which somehow ended up turned into a mini-wedding. Just 90 of our closest friends, family and colleagues. Did I mention we served a four course meal? How could I forgot the violinist, Italian cookie trays (thank you Nonna & Zias), 3 tiered cake, candy bar and the Nutella sfoglia cake?

Once the big picture details were finalized, my uber-artistic sister and I sat down and thought about how we can infuse a bit of life and personality into each table. After some crafty detective work on Pinterest and hours spent on the Ikea website, we came up with a contemporary, simple yet elegant centerpiece design.

Here are the links to all of the pieces we purchased to bring the design to life:

VÅRVIND – Set of 2 clear glass cases (we filled the vases with either freesia or white roses)

UPPEHÅLL – Set of 4 votive candle holders in clear glass

HEMSJÖ – Unscented white block candles

BORRBY – Lantern for block candle, black indoor/outdoor black

FENOMEN – Unscented block candle, natural

Enjoy!

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The Rumors are True: Brand Advocates > Influencers

Let’s face it, if the digital world were to have an established ‘Royal Family’, influencers would easily reign supreme. Here are some quick facts of the growing power of influencers and the ad power they hold:

  • Google Trends shows that the growth of influencer marketing has taken over from traditional marketing strategies
  • 51% of marketers believe they acquire better customers through influencer marketing
  • 59% of micro-influencers think Instagram is the most effective social media platform to engage their target audience
  • Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing

As a result, working with influencers has become incredibly expensive and at times risky for brands to manage. Are you looking for a cheap and cheerful way around these financial and branding roadblocks? Invest in turning your top social fans into your brand advocates. It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one, so why not reward and celebrate the customers you already have? Brand advocates are 5 times more valuable than average customers because they spend more and recommend more. Brand advocates are slowly becoming priceless marketing tools based on organic relationships built with the corporation’s social and marketing team.

If this is a new concept for you, here is how you can identify 3 potential different tiers of brand advocates from your social database:

Fan: Adores and collects your product. Shares and reposts your content and offers feedback.

Fanatic: Lives for your product and personally identifies with your brand. Feels an emotional connection and shares these sentiments with others.

Brand Advocate: All of the above, PLUS enough social clout to motivate purchasing decisions through their own network. Worth the investment.

 

 

5 Reasons Why I ALWAYS Wear All Black and Why You Should Try It

Let me start by saying that I haven’t always been a fan of all black. In my 30 years, I’ve tried out so many colourful, wacky trends including: bright tweed jackets, wacky rainbow footwear and glittery nail polish with different designs on each finger. After reaching a certain point of in my life, I began to rethink my personal style and brand.

I couldn’t help but consider the style icons I looked up to as a young woman. Of course, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy is tops (she also snagged the ultimate bachelor and my first crush, JFK Jr). CBK aside, I have also admired not only the style but grace and demeanors of Princess Diana, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Grace Kelly.

As modern woman of the 21st century, I decided to refine my day to day style based on the classics. Here’s why I decided on an all-black wardrobe:

  1. Very Little Room for Error – Let me make this as simple as possible: Black pants go with black tops. Don’t forget the black shoes and black sunglasses. Optional: Red or Nude lips.
  2. Consistency and Reliability – We live and work in competitive world and your brand is everything. Dressing in all black communicates to others that you are an individual who is disciplined, concise and collected. You are worth the risk.
  3. Illusion of Composure – Wearing all black makes it look like we all know how to dress stylishly with ease. Black is slimming, powerful and edgy. Coco Chanel once famously said “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”
  4. Empower Yourself – Dressing in all black will allow you to take yourself more seriously. Naturally, those around you will follow suit and start inviting you to close door meetings. Trust me on this one– it WORKS!
  5. Be Creative and Own It – The trendiest styles always come in all black. Make it your own with a peplum top, fur coat, fringes, graphic tee or chunky belt (but just don’t wear all 5 together. Ok, promise?)

Meet Marco Polo, a Visual Walkie Talkie App Believed to Replace Snapchat

Since launching in 2011, Snapchat has been best it in class in the image messaging app market, linking friends, celebrities and influencers and establishing their worth for both iPhone and Android users. Times are changing, and users can’t help but take notice of the newest app on the scene, Marco Polo.

Twitter is a buzz right now over this new mobile app that credits itself as the “video walkie talkie” that lets you send quick messages back and forth. Similar to Snapchat, Marco Polo allows users to record messages that are only a few seconds long. What makes it different from Snapchat, however, is that Marco Polo automatically saves your videos so you can have an ongoing conversation with friends.

Marco Polo app has been around since early 2016 and the momentum is starting to pick up. The app currently has a 4.4 rating on the Google Play Store and more than 84,000 reviews. Also boasting with a 4.5 out of 5 on Apple’s App Store while ranking as the 8th top free social networking app in the App Store.

Owned by Joya Communications, the corporate website states that the company was established in 2012 “to help people feel close no matter the distance, enabling people to remain connected in convenient and meaningful ways.”

Users beware, the app is know to send spam tweets to promote Marco Polo to your contacts.

While it is still early days for Marco Polo, it will be interesting to see how the app evolves. Very few apps and brands have the staying power of Facebook or Snapchat and are able to maintain clout without the support of investors and boards of directors.

My Top 10 Working Girl Beauty Hacks

In case you didn’t already know, I am a complete and utter cosmetics, fragrance, skincare and hair product junkie. I have spent the vast majority of my career in the beauty sector for good reason, nothing excites me like a new and innovative product offering a ‘quick fix’.

I don’t know about each of you, but I work anywhere from 40 – 50+ hours and week while spend 3 nights a week at school. In my spare time, I try my best to be a superstar fiancée, daughter, sister and friend. Sometimes, all I want is just an extra hour of sleep, ideally between the 7am-8am range.

Low and behold, I present to you my top 10 beauty hacks so you can get some extra beauty sleep and be more efficient as you are running out the door for a 12 hour day ahead:

  1. Out of blush? Use lipstick instead. In the springtime especially, my must have lip/cheer product is Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge. My favourite shade of all time is Fresh Melon.
  2. Mix a drop of cinnamon oil into your lip gloss to give your lips a plumping boost (peppermint oil works too).
  3. Are you as concerned with hiding lack of sleep and fighting puffy eyes as I am? Keep your eye cream in the fridge. My favourite eye creams of all time are The Eye Concentrate by Crème De La Mer and Origins Plantscription™ Anti-Aging Power Eye Cream.
  4. Use a white or light eyeliner to really make your eyes pop (or hide how tired you are). I love Bobbi Brown’s Retouching Pencils and Clinique’s Skinny Stick in Angel Hair White.
  5. Use the one & done philosophy: If you’ve got only a short amount of time play up either your eyes or your lips, not both.
  6. Too exhausted after a long day and lacking momentum to wash your face at night? Keep face wipes by your bed. I recommend Clinique’s Take The Day Off Micellar Cleansing Towelettes for Face & Eyes.
  7.  If you don’t have makeup remover, just use coconut oil. Tried. Tested. True.
  8. Dry Shampoo has so many untapped uses. You can use it to hold a style on soft and fine hair, hide roots that need to be re-done and help control hair when you’ve accidentally applied too much product. My personal pick is shampure™ dry shampoo by Aveda.
  9. Save time by drying your hair with a T-shirt instead of a towel. I didn’t believe it at first but as soon as I tried I never went back to using a towel again!
  10. If you’re too impatient to wait for your moisturizer, eye cream, and lip balm to dry, or for your makeup to set, then blast your face with a blow-dryer on the cool setting.

Happy Primping!

Enjoy.

Snapchats Looking to ‘Up’ Ad Potential

Facebook and Snapchat are currently in the middle of an all-out war for users, ad dollars, innovation and the coveted crown jewel of the social media empire. Who can ignore the obvious, like introducing stories on Instagram followed with Facebook stories launching just last week?

Snapchat is firing back with a few key changes to step up their ad potential, and this can mean serious trouble for Facebook. Advertisers looking for Snapchat ad exposure will now have access to a state of the art, goal-based bidding tool for app install ads. In short, this new feature will allow the advertiser to identify and target Snapchat users who are likely to install its app. Snapchat is targeting its app install ads, which ask snappers to swipe upwards on full-screen video ads, which uses machine-learning technology. This capability was developed in-house at Snapchat and as of right now is exclusive and unlike any other ad offering.

Peter Sellis, the director of monetization product at Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc., told Business Insider in a statement, “We’ve been listening closely to direct-response advertisers and are excited to announce the ability to ‘bid for installs’ in our auction. This is a new, cost-efficient way to drive app installs right from Snapchat.”

These new capabilities will allow advertisers to not only better target users who may be more inclined to use their product but also drive them to download their app. Snapchat has also set a new standard by enhancing how advertisers can get in front of users who have previously interacted with their filters on Snapchat, by allowing advertisers to specifically target these users.

Not only will this mean great things for Team Snapchat ($$$) and advertisers alike, it will make for a much more over-saturated user experience resulting in more targeted ads for users.

“Excuse me waiter, but this Pepsi is FLAT.”

Unless you are currently in the midst of a social media detox, you have probably already heard all about Pepsi’s recent marketing and PR blunder. Late last week, Pepsi unveiled a new ad featuring the fashion world’s it-girl, Kendall Jenner. The ad follows Kendall as she joins a crowd of young people marching (without cause, it seems) after abandoning a photo shoot. Taking off her blonde wig and smearing her plum lipstick, Kendall picks up a Pepsi as her contemporaries of all races and orientations smile at her. That’s when the Kendall approaches a line of policemen monitoring the protest and hands a handsome officer a Pepsi. Of course, he takes a sip, prompting the crowd to erupt in cheers.

If you haven’t heard seen the ad, check it out above!

The greatest injustice in the ad believed by many is directed towards the Black Lives Matter Movement. Bernice King, daughter of US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, tweeted: “If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi.” There are undeniable similarities and the imagery seems to recreate a significant moment in a protest when young woman, Ieshia Evans, stoically stood up to armed police officers in Baton Rouge while protesting the deadly police shooting of Alton Sterling. Here is the legendary photo of Ieshia along with the image of Kendall Jenner offering a police officer a Pepsi which appears in the ad:

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Within 24 hours, Pepsi pulled the ad but the damage has already been done. In a humbling statement, the soft drinks leader apologized saying: “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”

Pepsi Co. has come off as ‘tone-deaf’ in attempt to be hip and make the most of the marches during the racial protest movement. Many of us are left scratching our heads, not able to comprehend why a brand of this stature would not do its due diligence and market research to gage the type of response this ad could possibly receive.

Many brands like Pepsi have been in similar situations (also recently in the news, Nivea pulled their ‘White Is Purity’ campaign after widespread backlash). Pepsi will undoubetely recover from this PR nightmare and hopefully this will be a lesson for their team as well as other marketers and communicators. A organization needs to clearly identify their core values and messages to align with their their marketing strategy. Clearly, this strategy has to be supported with research and consumer surveys, not just what ‘in’ and trending.