And the winner is…

interior page of brochure

Rewind to March 2009- About three months into my new position with DH l, we were presented with the challenge of giving our recruiting campaign an overhaul. Seemed easy enough. We called on our creative agency and began work. But then came the catch. Just like every good reality show…we were given a major detour. We didn’t have the budget to complete the work. Sometimes my creative heart jumps in before my mind…and I quickly volunteered to execute the campaign in-house working primarily with freelancers…no help from the agency! Oh and did I mention I had 1/3 the estimated budget? Oh and the website, videos, displays and brochure needed to be complete in 10 weeks?

I built my team…a stylist, a photographer, a videographer, a web designer, a web programmer, a graphic designer and a printer. Voila…my own little agency. We created a campaign to showcase DH as a fun, hip accounting firm…but with the resources and growth potential of a big national firm. Take a look at the end product: www.dixon-hughes.com/careers 

And did I mention that the results of this campaign were amazing! During a really challenging recruiting time, we were able to recruit candidates that exceeded our expectations. And DH was recognized at schools that they had previously experienced awareness challenges.

Fast Forward April 22, 2010: The South Carolina Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America hosts its annual Mercury Awards. We won every category we entered. And the winner is….

Brand/Reputation Management
Brochures more than 8 pages
Website
Social Media (this is the first time PRSA has recognized this category…and we were the FIRST winnner-something new)

And finally….Best in Show for Social Media!

When the devil speaks, sometimes you should listen!

If you could choose anything for dinner, what would you choose? Pizza, steak, tacos…BROWNIES! 

That’s right…tonight I had brownies for dinner. TWO HUGE BROWNIES. Rich, delicious, melt in your mouth brownies. C. wasn’t around for dinner tonight, so I could eat anything (I’m not saying there were a lot of choices). After sweating my booty off at hot yoga, I was famished. I stood in the kitchen gazing into the fridge when I heard this devilish call from the counter…I tried to resist. I tired to focus on the leftover veggie soup, but the voice was too loud. Don’t lie, you’ve heard that voice before.

How many times in your adult life do you just let it go and be a kid? It’s not often, right?

These weren’t just your run of the mill, out of the box brownies. My neighbor is a FANTASTIC chef and a great baker. I had dinner at their house last night and they sent me home with three of his made from scratch brownies (that’s right this baker is a “he”- lucky girl to be married to him). He swears the recipe comes from the back of the flour bag, but I think there must be a secret ingredient like some sort of french chocolate or something. These brownies are dense, chewy, wowsers for your taste buds. I didn’t just ravenously devour these brownies. I savored every single bite, smacking my lips with each mouthful. Not caring about caolories, fat, carbs or cavities.

For  me, these brownies are like crack. After months of a low carb diet, I needed these brownies like an addict needs his crack fix.  I wish I could share with you, but I think I’ll eat the last one for dessert!

SPAM- It’s not what’s for dinner…

How many emails flow through your inbox everyday? Better yet- How many email accounts do you have?

I currently have three email accounts: business (because I have to), yahoo (which I have had for 12 years) and Gmail (because I wanted to secure a user name before google takes over the world). I have a long history with the yahoo account and I must have gone through some really lonely times and subscribed to a million emails- mostly retail. There aren’t enough hours in the day to read all of them. I mostly skim and every now and then I am enticed to buy or attend an event or donate to a cause or take a trip somewhere.

So my new thing for today is unsubscribing from all of these useless emails: Overstock, Gap, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Travelzoo, Orbitz, etc.etc. (Did you know that by law, these companies are required to provide an opt out/unsubscribe button CAN SPAM ACT of 2003?)   Do I really care that Old Navy has $3 flip-flops? Hardly.  It’s a little like Spring Cleaning.- weeding through the things you don’t need (like those terrible leopard print pants that your “friend” convinced you to buy).  There are, of course, those emails that I can’t live without like the Kenny Chesney updates, Oprah Previews and local businesses whom I fully support like Lables and Table 301- those go in the keep file.

 The journey has begun and every journey begins with the first step. I must get back to the unsubscribe demolition…

Sometimes you feel like a nut…

Who doesn’t love a little afternoon snack?  Most of the time I have a few almonds…plain…no flavor. We buy the huge bags of natural almonds at Costco….$9/bag lasts for about a month or more…and the reason why they aren’t gobbled up faster is because they taste like cardboard.  (Did you know almonds are rich in Vitamen E, lower cholesterol, reduce risk of heart disease and some say they even can improve complexion) Now if only the natural almonds were as tasty as smokey and salted almonds….I would eat and eat.

Sometimes I like to walk on the wild side…add a little bad stuff to my diet. Flavor rules. This weekend I saw a recipe for Tamari-Roasted Almonds in the May Food and Wine. It’s high time I add a little spice to my afternoon snack! In the words of Emeril- BAM!

1lb almonds
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce (I used soy sauce)
2 tablespoons of melted butter (everything tastes better with a little butta!)
salt (YUM) and cayenne pepper

Bake almonds at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool. Toss with Soy- add butta and toss. (be careful- soy sauce stains…I just ruined a new white t-shirt) Bake for another 10 minutes. Cool. Season with salt and cayenne pepper.

WOW! We went from drab ol nuts to fab ol nuts in less than 30 minutes. Hands off C! Snack time tomorrow will be an adventure for my bored taste buds.

Lemonade

I just happened to have lemons on my dress...must have been fate!

Sometimes the unexpected new thing is the most fun. I planned to try a new recipe this evening, but an unexpected surprise created a new opportunity today.

It was a perfectly beautiful day in Gville. I was driving down a street that I don’t normally travel on and I happened upon a lemonade stand.  I can honestly say I have never spontaneously stopped for a cup of lemonade. A sweet 5 year old was selling lemonade to make enough money to buy some sort of electronic hamster (not sure what this is…but maybe if you have kids you know). Anyway, I quickly pulled over and found $.50 in my car to purchase a delicious lemonade! It was the best lemonade that I have ever tasted. Well worth $.50. Thanks SG and L.

Did you ever have a lemonade stand? I was quite the entrepreneur back in the day. We had a beach house with a golf cart and I had quite a summer business (until the cops shut me down). On hot summer days, I would load up the golf cart and head to the beach (really I was about 8 years old so I probably shouldn’t have been driving the golf cart on the road). I’d set up my stand on the beach- $1/glass. When the lemonade ran out, I’d charge $1/person to give people a ride from the beach to their house. As you can imagine, I made quite a few bucks. But one day, I looked back and there were blue lights behind me (ah my first run in with the law).  I pulled over and the cop asked for my licence. DUH  Mr. Officer- I was 8. Needless to say, he followed me home, had a word with Mom and shut down the entire operation.

It was good while it lasted.

Date Night for One

For those of you who know me, you know I am not a movie person. I don’t really watch movies and can honestly say that I do not enjoy going to the movies (most of the time I fall asleep). I think I have been to the movies twice in the past 6 years (ocean’s 11 and Marlie and Me). It’s just not fun for me. First of all, I think that theaters are disgusting…I think of all of the gross people who have sat in those cloth seats before me (doing lord knows what) and second…I can’t be totally still- must be doing something when watching a movie. Third, it’s usually miserably cold. Fourth-you can’t fast forward the stupid previews. Fifth, people chew popcorn really loud. Sixth- there is always a laughing hyena sitting close by. Ok that’s enough negativity…this blog is about positive new experiences.

So today I decided stretch my horizon and give the theater another shot. To make the experience something new, I went alone.  I took a power nap this afternoon before heading out to ensure that I wouldn’t fall asleep in the theater. I even went prepared with a good sweater so I wouldn’t freeze. Movie selection: Date Night with Tina Fey and Steve Carrell. I saw them on the today’s show and the movie looked hilarious. Too bad they showed all of the funny clips on the Today’s show.  Actually the highlight of the two hour experience was seeing the preview for Sex and the City Two.

Ok- seriously people- do you really spend money to go to the theater on a regular basis? How can an average american even afford to go to the movies? A matinée, popcorn and diet coke costs $14. REALLY? Seriously? And I went to the matinée. The movie was average…would have been much better if I could have half paid attention to it while perusing a magazine on my sofa with my pup Woo.

Popcorn was excellent. I do love good popcorn…but explain to me why I paid $8 for the same popcorn and coke that cost $1.50 at Target (as opposed to $8). And for me, two hours in target is much more fun than two hours in a gross theater.

As for the experience of going alone…not too different from going with someone. It’s not like you talk during the movie. I guess you could make out…but I’m too old for that. So…all in all…my opinion of the theater remains. See you again in another 6 years!

A Tea Party: Hold The Scones and Crumpets

I’ve been hearing lots of buzz on the news about a “tea party”. Snippets here and there…but nothing to really tell me what this tea party thing is all about. Let me begin by saying I am not really interested in politics and am, quite frankly, fairly ambivalent regarding political movements. Don’t get me wrong…I vote…and I have an opinion. But I’m not really passionate about any real political movement.

With that disclaimer…today I decided that rather than just wondering what this tea party thing is all about, I’d learn more so that I could form my own opinion about what is being said. Typically I would have just wondered…but not enough to learn more. 

First stop…wikipedia. In a nut shell: populist protest movement which promotes fiscal conservatism; began in 2009 as a response to the stimulus package. The name “Tea Party” is a reference to the historic Boston Tea Party of 1773, a protest by American colonists against taxation by the British government when the colonists had no representation in the British Parliament that pre-dated but laid the ground for the American Revolutionary War.[

I learned that 18% of Americans support the tea party movement (that’s huge). We are whitnessing history here- whether you agree with the movemnt or not- this is the stuff America is made of and is what has made us who we are today: People with strong convictions acting on them. Who are the supportors: 40% have a college degree, 20% are under the age of 20 and 60% are under the age of 50; 34% make over $75,000 (this would explain the oposition to welfare); 60% are males and 0% are transgender (no surprise here). Read more here.

Here’s the marketer in me…Couldn’t they have thought a more original name? Why copy history? We’ve already had a tea party…think of how confusing this will be for our grandchildren when they read about it in the history books…but then again, unless this movement creates change…or rather prevents change…there will be no room for them in the history books.

There’s much more to this story…but you’ll have to read for yourself. There are millions of articles and blogs out there that outline all sides of the story. I feel a little more American knowing about this movement and being able to form my own opinion.

With all this talk of a tea party… think I’ll head to Starbucks for some hot tea and a scone!