My 2016 Favorite Gift Ideas

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Ok guys, it's officially crunch time for Christmas and Hanukkah shopping, so I wanted to toss out some ideas based on products I've bought and absofreakinlutely LOVE!

Check out my current list of favorite things (does Oprah own that phrase yet?) that are sure to be a hit this holiday season!
 


 
 

$15 - "LIT" Gift Wrap Sheets: Fetti Wrap

Ok, I had to start with gift wrap because who doesn't want to give a gift in style?! I'm obsessed with Justice Fergie's new product line of gift paper with attitude. I bought the "LIT" and "GirlBoss 2 GirlBoss" sheets and I'm SO excited to dress up my gifts with something sure to make my friends and colleagues smile real wide. 

While you can order online, on bought mine in-person at the (amazing) VisionCon 2016 hosted by the lovely ladies from Thrive LoungeClick here to browse the collection and consider buying some to give as a gift, because who doesn't want gift wrap? I hoard gently used gift wrap, ribbons, bows, tags, etc. in my closet and I know I'm not the only one! 😂


 
 

$20 - Nature's Wick Candle: Target

This candle is legit amazing. Since the wicks are made out of WOOD so as soon as you light it, the candle makes a pleasant crackling sound, as if there were a grand fireplace in my 600sq ft DC condo. Besides how it sounds, I was surprised by how powerful candle smells, even when it's no longer lit. It leaves a wonderful aroma that puts a smile on my face whenever I get home.

🕯 I've also devised a productivity trick with the candle for when I'm feeling unmotivated. I sit down, clear off my desk, light the candle, and get to work. Something about the crackling in the background (click here for the link to my tweet that has sound) seems to help me focus, more so than music or TV. Just be sure to blow it out when you're done, safety first (for real, I almost set my hair on fire one time, but luckily my pillow caught the flame)!


 
 

$55 - Leather MacBook Case, Free Engraving: Etsy

I just got a new MacBook Pro because my good ole MacBook Air couldn't handle my heavy tab and Chrome extension usage. As soon as I got it I wanted a case because the first time I threw it in my bag it got something sticky (unknown origin) on it, mehhhh! So I hopped on Etsy because I've wanted a leather case for a while, but have had a hard time finding one that was just two pieces to clip on. Well, I FOUND IT! I I ordered it on December 6th and I got it, shockingly, on December 10th, nice work ShopCedrus

💻 Not only does this case look super fly, but it comes with free engraving! I debated for probably 20 minutes on if I wanted my name, website, or company name and I decided to go with Starlight Social® because hey, free advertising right? I'm so so happy with how it looks and that he was able to offer more fonts than the ones listed (gotta have my Oswald!). This seller has a variety of sizes and a few colors so check em out and buy one for yourself or your favorite digital nomad.


 
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We all have that difficult friend to shop for, you know the one who has all of the things and really doesn't want more "stuff". Instead of a gift she'll...regift, give her some irresistibly delicious fresh baked cookies from Noshy! 🍪 I gifted myself a tin for my birthday (holla 27!) and now wish I had bought the bigger one because between my partner and I, they lasted 1.5 days...don't judge me, you'll see!

I first encountered Noshy at the Cirque du Yelp event this summer and was lucky enough to take home a whole bunch she was giving away at the end. After trying a few I quickly determined that the cardamom molasses cookies are made by confectionary angels who just happen to be based in Herndon, VA. "OH NO, Rachel I don't have a car!" Don't worry, I got mine shipped and the prices are reasonable for some delicious, melt-in-your mouth, I-don't-want-to-share-these-with-anyone cookies. Check out the full menu here and don't say I didn't warn you about the addictive nature of these delights!


 
 

$12 - I Believe In Aliens: Sock It To Me via Amazon

I've never been a "sock" person, you know, that person who always rocks some dope-looking socks that peek out from their pants and make you crack up. Mine have always been functional, and a bit boring. I shuffled through my drawer and found lots of single and ready to mingle socks, but no matches. I'd like to think they are all hanging out here, waiting to be reunited lol. Anyways, I decided to treat myself to some new socks, but let me first say that if you're planning to check out the link, give yourself at least 20 minutes to browse because once I opened that Pandora's Box O Socks, I was SUCKED IN.

After sorting through tons of options, I decided to buy these awesome alien socks. What you can't see in the product picture is the red planet on the other side, so close but so darn far as Mark Watney discovered in one of my favorite books of 2016. Anyways, they of course have mens socks and shorter socks for those not rocking the knee-high look. Let me tell you a little secret, my work attire nowadays is a comfy tee, leggings, and socks (bra optional...😏) since I work from home and why not be cozy? 

 

So what do you think?!

Comment below with feedback and/or YOUR ideas on fabulous gifts for the holidays!

How Blogalicious8 Changed My Life In The First 60 Minutes

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Blogalicious8 knocked my socks off and changed my life in the first HOUR of the conference during Stacey’s “#Multipassionate: How to Align Your Passions Into A Cohesive Brand Strategy.”

I currently own a social media company in DC called Starlight Social and being my own boss is lovely and such, but I realized in Stacey’s session that social media isn’t my true passion. During the session we did an activity with popsicle sticks, gumdrops, and little umbrella, here's a pic of mine:

"Helping solopreneurs setup their business systems"

"Collaborating with people"

"Helping others learn to be more efficient with their time"

As you see, social media was not on my passion popsicle stick, which really surprised me, especially since it didn’t even come to mind when I was making my sticks! So through this simple exercise I had an epiphany that I need to pivot my business and develop a plan for monetizing this newly found passion.

My working pitch is: "I help ladies quit their day jobs to pursue their passion and set up systems and structure for business success." Holla! 💁🏽 Anywho, thanks Stacey for being such an inspiration! 

Now, let's talk about the rest of this fabulous conference. I cannot believe how much I've learned in just 2.5 days so far! Here are my favorite nuggets of advice and hilarity:

MY NOTE NUGGETS

  • Ask your family and friends: What do you think I really enjoy? What makes me excited and my eyes light up?

  • “We gotta full-ass it guys!”

  • Ditch the titles! Create a motto or a mission statement, don't just state your name and company when people ask what you do

  • Share content that SOLVES A PROBLEM for your readers

  • The best light for taking photos is during something called

  • Create ideal client "avatars"/profiles with tons of detail so you know exactly who you are writing/selling to and why

  • "Ask yourself. Am I the expert or am I the story?" - Ramon Ray

  • We wear so many hats, but it's crucial to remember to keep yourself on the list!

  • "Digital perception is REALITY, so make sure your online presence isn't busted..." - Ramon Ray

  • Wells Fargo Works for Small Business® has free small biz resources and advice!

MY VISUAL NUGGETS

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What were your favorite #Blogalicious8 Nuggets?

Comment below!

Event Recap: cove Knows How to Throw a Party

Wow, I had SUCH a blast at the cove 14th Street Re-Launch party! From the moment I walked in I knew it was going to be a fun night due to the ample swag, drinks, live music, and delicious food.

THE SWAG

Swag paradise

Swag paradise

I am a huge fan of swag, as long as it's not....junky. I can tell you that cove had their swag game on fleek! They had high-quality t-shirts, pens, hardcover notebooks, portable cell phone chargers, wine glasses, AND alcoholic freeze pops. Um, yes please! I'd like to note that the portable chargers were actually really good quality, there are a lot floating around that can barely hold its own charge, let alone charge a phone! Nice work cove, very impressive!


THE FOOD

Yum!

Yum!

Noms really do make or break a party and the catering from Soss Bauce was fabulous! I thought the meatballs stole the show! One of the best parts about their service were the friendly staff and the fact that they brought enough food to feed tons of people. I can't tell you how many events I've been to where they run out of food or drinks, that's the demise of a party because that means people are headed out! Nice work Soss Bauce!


THE MUSIC

Photo with the artists!

Photo with the artists!

When I first arrived, not gonna lie I went straight for the bar in the back room. When I finally made my way back to the main space in front with the view of 14th street I was completely tuned out from everything except the singing in front of me. My first thought, dang that guy can SING and those other guys are really holding a nice beat.

After asking around I found out that the singer is Joe Maye who, no biggie, SANG AN IMPROMPTU DUET WITH CHRISTINA AGUILERA ON THE VOICE! A rad local group called BOOMscat combined with Joe Maye made for epic musical performances throughout the evening. Thanks so much guys!


THE SPACE

14th Street Location

14th Street Location

Some of you may know that I used to work for WeWork, that massive coworking company who tout their "community of creators" but let me stop right there and call out their bullshit. They don't know much about building community, but they sure do know how to get in legal trouble by violating various labor laws...you know what, I'll write a blog post about this later and maybe include a Q&A with my attorney on the sinking ship that is WeWork.

Anyways, if you're looking for an AUTHENTIC community of creative individuals, cove is 100% the top place in the city to work, collaborate, and learn. All of my interactions with the staff at multiple locations have been superb and their spaces are beautifully design for productivity and work breaks. If you've never visited a location or need a place to work, whether you're a freelancer or work for a company that allows some flex days, cove has you covered with different membership levels to meet your need. Please note that I did not recieve compensation or perks or anything, this is my personal opinion and I love them :)


THE PEOPLE

Me, Edgar, & Kerilynn!

Me, Edgar, & Kerilynn!

I loooooove socializing and I pleasantly surprised to find a lot of friends and colleagues at the cove party! I saw Karen GordonBen Horton, Ricardo Chavez, Ken Rub, Edgar Ndjatou, Kerilynn VigneauLyzette Wallace, Brandon Luong, Garrett Bauman, and more!

Special shoutout to cove managers Gabrielle Moise, DC Marketing Manager, and Misha Branche, DC Community Coordinator who worked hard to make sure we all had a blast at the re-launch party!

How a Cookie Taught Me the Value of Twitter

I'm going to be 100% honest with you, I used to hate Twitter. I thought it was confusing, useless, and simply another outlet for our world's narcissistic tendencies. I didn't see any value to using it and never even thought about how a business could possibly use it to grow their brand. 

All of that changed on February 3, 2013. I was watching Super Bowl XLVII at my friend's house, but I was really bored; I'm not really into football so I was mostly there to socialize, nom on some themed snacks (I brought these hideous but tasty cupcakes, don't they look like little poops? ), and watch the entertaining commercials. All the sudden the lights went off in the stadium and we're all like, "uhhhh what just happened?" 

Everyone hopped on their phones to text friends and families and someone said Twitter was "blowing up". Since I had used Twitter once before to live tweet during a Bachelor episode (don't judge, everyone has a guilty pleasure and plus I wasn't at my girlfriend's house so I had to talk to someone about the crazy dates!) I hopped on to see what was going on since I figured Twitter would be faster than the news channels.

I was scrolling through the frantic fan tweets and came across this gem:

It made me laugh...and then it made me think. As I was watching the number of RTs soar and how many people were "Favoriting" the tweets, remember, this was before the ⭐️ became a ❤️, I slowly realized that with a single tweet Oreo reached thousands of people! They weren't even heavily promoting their brand, they were make a timely comment on a major national event and users LOVED IT.

As you can see above in the tweet, this was retweeted RT well over 16,000 times. 16,000 people took action on it, but that number didn't even include the people who giggled and kept scrolling through their Twitter feed! Since Twitter moves at lightning speed, I was really surprised so many people were interacting with the tweet since they only sent one out. Not only that, but it became one of the most memorable ad moments of the game (sorry companies that spend millions on a commercials air time!).

Finally, it became clear that Twitter was here to stay and a HUGE game-changer for small businesses in nonprofits since, instead of spending tons of money on print ads, they could simply have someone on their team come up with witty and timely tweets that cost zero dollars. I remembered working at my old job Vocus where we sold PR and marketing software to small business and realized why the clients would swoon over the Twitter tools section.

Amazing that less than 3 years later I now own a social media company right?