Arlo: Six Months

Arlo: 6 MonthsHappy half birthday to my little buddy!!!! Six months hit me hard… how has it been half a year!?!? The first few months honestly felt like they crawled by, but now it’s like WOAH! Arlo went on so many adventures this past month! We took our first plane flight which was intense but overall better…

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The Unexpected Household Item That Will Protect Your Luggage on Your Next Trip

If you’ve ever checked a bag, you know that it’s a risky endeavor that could result in all manner of destruction to your precious cargo – if you even get it back at all. While you can’t control whether or not your bag is lost by the airline, you can prevent some of the damage caused by the rough and tumble journey your bag takes en route to your destination.

This simple hack requires only one household item – plastic wrap – and just a few minutes of your time. In my case, I am mostly worried about the bow on the front of my rolling suitcase ripping off, so I’ve wrapped the plastic wrap three times tightly around the center of the bag, but you could also wrap it around the entire bag if you were really worried about scuffs or marks on the material. Bonus: no tape is required since the wrap sticks to itself. It also discourages people from tampering with your bag (or at the very least, you’ll know if someone has opened your bag). Some airports offer professional baggage wrapping services, but you’ll have to pay a fee – this is free and easy, though!

These Emoji Silisponges Are the Cutest Freakin’ Thing You’ll See Today

Applying foundation just got a hell of a lot cuter. Your favorite clear blending sponge, aka Silisponge, just launched five versions with adorable emoji faces on them. The concept is simple: there’s a face for every mood, whether you’re feeling silly or dreamy. And they kind of seem like the Korean beauty version of the Seven Dwarfs.

To recap, the Silisponge is a silicone makeup applicator that doesn’t absorb any of the product while it flawlessly blends in makeup. It’s gentle, hygienic, and easy to clean. The tear-drop shape and tip helps you blend small spaces, such as around the nose or eyelids.

Each Emoji Face Silisponge is $15 or sold in a three-pack for $30.

Keep reading to see all of these emoji babies ahead!

Break All the Social Rules: Advice from Spredfast VP of Strategy Spike Jones

In this era of social media, brands need to look at their social outreach in a different light. Which means that sometimes, you have to break the social media rules. Spike Jones, Vice President Strategy at Spredfast outlined a new type of social success at the September Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) event.

As Spike shared in his presentation:

“When it comes to social media, sometimes you need to follow the breadcrumbs.”

Why? Because you never know who you might find. Below are some of the top insights and takeaways from Spike’s presentation.

It’s not about the brand.

As marketers, we are often taught to include our brand’s logo, messaging tagline and any other branding we might have on everything we produce and influence.

Instead, says Spike, let the content be about the person. By spotlighting people and what inspires them, you will inspire others to look at your organization or company.

One example is Fiskars, makers of the orange handled scissors. They realized they were the conduit for scrapbooking. By highlighting what people were making with their Fiskars scissors, they were finding true fans.

Influencers come in many forms – Oprah vs. the Fiskar scrapbook superheroes

Not every customer is going to recognize your brand. Seek out your rallying cry and be the conduit, not the brand.

Don’t seek out influence. Create it.

Spike told the story of Jared Gaff who was very active on muscle car forums answering every question he could. Chevy interviewed Jared on video, and made him a Chevy Ignites Ambassador. Chevy did not post the video, but, instead, gave the video to Jared. The video has over 15K views, and Jared is a passionate ambassador.

Not everyone is your customer.

As social media professionals, we are sometimes asked to get likes and followers for our clients. But, don’t forget, that is not getting a customer. We need to look at who is truly our audience and speak to them.


Don’t spend all your time talking to people who don’t know you yet. Focus on fans, too. @spikejones
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Think about content differently.

Spike encouraged us to give people reasons to talk about themselves If you find passion from your fans, elevate it. This is the key behind the best kinds of rewards or fan experiences. When you elevate passion, your fans will be more willing to share it.

For example, I recently had a craving for a Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. OK, this is a common fall craving for me. When I got to the store, the line was really long, which I did not expect. I tweeted a photo of the line and Starbuck’s tweeted a fun, witty reply back.

I am a fan, and they just improved my experience by talking to me. They elevated my passion.

This works for B2B, as well. At TopRank Marketing, we connected with an up-and-coming influencer in the IoT space. He wanted to co-create content to improve his personal brand. Our work with him created a raving fan for our client and improved the following a personal brand recognition of the influencer.

How are you connecting your followers and fans to experiences?

Get more from social media.

When you are focused on getting more from your social, think about leveraging the 1 on 1 interaction. Mass audience messaging may not get you the following you need. Instead, show particular fans they are valued.

On leveraging the on-to-one generation:

  • 1:1 is growing, in every industry, every year
  • Find the right mix between 1:1 and 1:many
  • No one answers every Tweet – make sure you’re answering the right ones

The real marketing ROI

Every organization has (or should have) a crisis plan. But, Spike says, what is your ‘love’ plan? How do you get your customers and fans to love your brand?

One key strategy to your ‘love’ plan should include plugging it into every part of the company. Your employees are your best ambassadors. Learn how to leverage them.


People want to connect with people, not companies. @spikejones
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If you never call your PR firm to implement the crisis plan, just think about the money you’ve saved because your ‘love’ plan worked.

Spike ended the with these key tips on encouraging people to engage with your content:

  • Feed their Ego
  • Give them Info(rmation)
  • Touch their Emo(tions)

Then, find a way to meet offline and give them something to talk about.

Refocus social on the customer

The key to true social engagement is moving toward a personal conversation. Brands need to find people to rally for them as true ambassadors. Your love plan needs to include true personal conversations that feed your ambassadors/fan’s ego, share information and touch their emotions.

Everyone wants to believe in something bigger than themselves. What is your social rallying cry?


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These Birth Flower Tattoos Might Make You Forget About Your Zodiac Sign

If you’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo of your zodiac sign, you may want to consider birth flower tattoos while you’re at it. Like a birth stone, there are 12 different flowers that each represent a month in the year. They’re such a pretty way to honor the month you were born, and so many unique variations are possible. Check out some inspiration ahead to get started!

Personal Growth Often Requires Supportive Environment

Personal Growth Often Requires Supportive Environment

New research suggests highly motivated people who possess a strong desire for personal growth need supportive relationships in order to accomplish their goals.

The “I-through-We” perspective views the social tendency to connect with others, and the individual tendency to strive and grow as individuals, as not being mutually exclusive. And, in fact, the viewpoints may augment and magnify each other.

In a series of studies, University of Michigan researchers used data from samples from the United States and Japan to determine if personal growth is an outcome of an individual’s traits or the positive relationships they have with others.

In one study, about 200 participants were randomly assigned to one of three relationship conditions: supportive, nonsupportive and neutral.

In the two main conditions, some had to consider a person in their life with whom they felt comfortable (or not) and did not worry (did worry) about being abandoned by them. The neutral group had to consider an acquaintance for whom they did not have strong feelings.

Participants then read a hypothetical scenario in which they had to choose between a higher-paying job with high familiarity (Company A) or a lower-paying job that required learning that would help their long-term career development (Company B).

Among those in the supportive relationship condition, 65 percent selected Company B, whereas 40 percent of those in the nonsupportive condition chose the same company. Fifty percent of the neutral group picked Company B.

Participants who thought about a supportive person were more willing to choose a job that promoted personal growth, even at lower pay, in part because they had more self-confidence, the study indicated.

Additional studies analyzed people’s perceptions of the support received from family and friends to determine personal growth tendencies in two cultures.

Using data from the Survey of Midlife Development in the United States, more than 3,800 participants in a different study rated the support received from family and friends. The questions included: “How much does your family (do your friends) really care about you?” and “How much can you open up to them if you need to talk about your worries?”

Participants also rated their willingness to develop their potential and grow as a person, as well as self-confidence.

Researchers discovered people who reported their relationships to be supportive had a greater willingness to grow personally and felt more self-confident, the study showed. The results were similar in the data from another study — the Survey of Midlife Development in Japan — which sampled about 1,000 people.

“The more supportive people judged their relationships to be, the higher their personal growth tendencies, even in a culture that puts more emphasis on the collective rather than the individual,” said David Lee, Ph.D., the study’s lead author.

Overall, the findings support the “I-through-We” perspective, which means the social tendency to connect with others, and the individual tendency to strive and grow as individuals, are not mutually exclusive and may augment and magnify each other.

“In other words, relationships do not necessarily conflict with but help sustain one’s personal growth,” said Dr. Oscar Ybarra, U-M professor of psychology and of management and organizations.

The findings thus address both the importance of distinguishing yourself from others by fulfilling personal goals, but also being a good group member by fulfilling social obligations and cultivating supportive relationships.

“Building positive social connections with others should put people in a good position to receive social support that is instrumental to personal growth, as well as allowing people to strike a balance between two fundamental values: to strive and connect,” said Lee.

Source: University of Michigan/EurekAlert

The 31 Most Magnificent Gowns Michelle Obama Wore While in the White House

Since she arrived in the White House eight years ago, Michelle Obama has slipped into about 31 occasion gowns. As you can imagine, they’re all pretty memorable. While our former FLOTUS keeps a few favorite designers in steady rotation – Jason Wu, Michael Kors, and Tadashi Shoji included – she’s not afraid to get experimental, even in a fancy dress.

Michelle never played it safe at state dinners or celebrations, surprising us with a bold color or print and often even an accessory like coordinating elbow-length gloves. Read on to reminisce about her most regal style moments now that she’s left her post. We’re sure she’ll be around again soon, making us swoon over yet another elegant number.