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  • Roasted Beets for Easter

    We hope you had a great Easter weekend with your family and friends.  We gathered at Grandma Parke's house today to celebrate with the family.  One thing I always look forward to is Grandma Parke's decorations.  Her decorations are always great.  Every table had a centerpiece with some "Easter grass" in different colors with lambs, birds or eggs.  Too cute.



    Easter decorations Easter Centerpieces

    On Easter, everyone brings a dish to share.  This year, I brought roasted beets with yellow peppers and strawberry onions.  It's super easy and I love the color combination.  To make this dish,  just cut up the beets, yellow peppers and onions in cubes, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Season with salt to taste, and broil in the oven for about 20-30 minutes.  I turn them half way through.  If you try the beets, and they taste like dirt, then they are not done.  Cook them for a bit longer until they taste sweet.  That's how you know they are done.  ;)


    My plate consisted of ham, smoked pork (made by Matt), broccoli salad, squash casserole, broccoli casserole, and my roasted beet dish.  Can you tell I love veggies?


    While everyone was eating, Piper decided the pool needed some cleaning.


    And Hayden was ready to help!

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    Jordan brought a delicious strawberry pizza made with a shortbread cookie crust.  It was delicious.  After dessert, it was time for some Egg Hunting!033113_7 033113_8 033113_9 033113_10



    Happy Easter from our family to yours!

  • Looking for a Social Media Conference?

    2012 was the year I became a "marketer" for the Market.  I had already created Facebook and Twitter accounts for the market, but neither of my college degrees prepared me for Social Media.  As a result, I attended three social media conferences in 2012, one of which inspired me to start this blog.  Two conferences had the feel of a social training event.  The vibe and atmosphere of the events encouraged networking and sharing of ideas between participants.  The other conference was geared more towards retailers and the social media training was nonexistent.  Ironic to me  because "social" was part of their tittle.

    And now for the FTC disclosure: you should know, I have been invited to attend Social Fresh in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Having had such good and not so good experiences at these social media conferences I had to find out more about Social Fresh 2013.  Social Fresh is a social media conference coming to Tampa on April 18-19, 2013.  This social media event will take place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel located at 4500 W Cypress Street, Tampa.  Hotel rates for the event are $139/night with special promotion code SOC.

    What makes Social Fresh 2013 the Social Media Conference to attend?

    With over 49k followers on Twitter and 23k fans on Facebook, my interest was peaked.  What do these people know about social media training?  First, let's look at the history of Social Fresh.  Social Fresh was founded by Jason Keath in 2009 as a social media training company.  Their website offers free and paid materials all related to social media training.   The Social Media Blog was just listed as the #1 Social Media Blog by the Social Media Examiner.  Their flagship event is the Social Fresh one day social media conference.  Social Media Today listed Social Fresh 2013 as one of the best 12 social media conference to attend in 2013.  As a hopeful "soon to be" small business owner, I was glad to see that 14% of their past attendees were business owners/partners and 11% were small business owners.  So far so good.

    Secondly, we all like choices.  Choices are nice when you are trying to decide what to eat a restaurant.  However, when you are attending a conference, making choices between speakers is a completely different thing.  I always get that feeling in my gut that no matter what I've chosen, I've picked the wrong one.  Luckily for people like me, Social Fresh is a one-track social media conference.  No more worrying whether you picked the wrong speaker or not.  Win win.

    Lastly, the caliber of speakers and the presentation topics surely have great promise.  I'm looking forward to hopefully meeting Ted Rubin from Collective Bias (previously with e.l.f. cosmetics and OpenSky).  Ted Rubin is the most followed Chief Marketing Officer on Twitter.  Clearly, he is doing something right.  Other great speakers I'm looking forward to are Adam Kmiec (Campbells), Morgan Johnston (JetBlue) and Kevin Vine (DunkinDonuts).

    In addition to having world known speakers, what makes a great conference is the networking opportunities.  Social Fresh has scheduled networking receptions both nights of the conference.

    For more information check out Social Media:

    Website: www.socialfreshconference.com

    Facebook: www.facebook.com/socialfresh 

    Twitter: www.twitter.com/socialfresh




  • Processed Free March, are you in?

    Through Instagram, I found Laury Raiken who writes The Fitness Dish blog.  During the month of March she is doing a challenge called "Processed Free March".  There are no giveaways for this challenge.  Her goal is simply to raise consumer awareness about what real food looks like.  If you know me, then you know I was definitively interested in participating.


    The "Processed Free March" challenge got me thinking.  Are we "processed free" at home?  The quick answer would be no.  We are not completely "processed free".  With two little girls at home, there's bound to be some Fruity Pebbles and Oreos in our pantry.  My husband's love for Diet Coke and our love for pork easily takes our household out of that classification.  We still drink mostly cow's milk; although I make my smoothies with almond/coconut milk.  I love white rice, so I limit our intake by cooking quinoa or millet.


    Processed Free March Poached Eggs, sweet potato and berries.

    So for this challenge, my goal is to add more veggies and fruits to our meals.  My definition of processed foods really means "fast food".  The food you get from a drive through.  Now, please understand I do occasionally eat a cheeseburger from McDonald's   And yes, my daughters love the chicken nuggets happy meals too.  But to us, going to McD's is a treat, it is a "fun food day".   Prepared foods that come out of a box with instructions or out of the freezer section would also qualify as processed foods.  I'm not talking about frozen or canned veggies.  Eating frozen or canned veggies is better than not eating any vegetables at all.



    The point of this "Processed Free March" challenge is not to focus on the things you can't make at home because you have too much on your plate already.  To me the point of the challenge is to see where you can start cutting unhealthy foods out of your diet and adding healthy foods instead.  Try a new vegetable, visit a new grocery store, check out a new cookbook.  There are so many ways to include real foods in your diet.


    Here are some good sources to get you started:

    Fruit and Veggies More Matters

    Healthy Living Blogs

    Simple Green Smoothies


    Are you in?  With fifteen days left in March, will you join us in the "Processed Free" March Challenge?  Upload your pictures on our Facebook page with the #ProcessedFreeMarch or add the hash tag to your pictures on Instagram!


    Are you "Processed Free"?

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