Tuesday, April 21

The Magic of Social Media.

A few years back my husband and I went camping at Point Lookout State Park in St. Mary's County, Maryland. If you have never been to Point Lookout I strongly recommend going. It is like stepping back in time. Right there between the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River is a treasure of a place.

(Photograph taken by Joseph C. Nowak)

A place where the grocery store closes by 6PM and everybody knows your name. A place where neighbors look out for one another. It is in Point Lookout that I encountered the true magic of Social Media. Trust.

Our first morning in Point Lookout we woke early to run into town and pick up some produce for our stay. While driving through the sleepy town we came across a roadside stand. You know the kind. The kind of roadside stand where you will find the sweetest corn you have ever had and the juiciest tomatoes. Along with the nicest old man with sun scorched skin from working the fields for hours on end. He is no doubt standing there with his plump grandson by his side. There was something off; however at this stand. At least, it felt off to me initially.

(Note: This is not a picture of the roadside stand from Point Lookout.)

The produce was carefully put out on display. Each row of tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, plums, and apples were clearly labeled with the prices. But there was no one there. No old man. No grandson. Nobody to watch over the stand or take money from the customers. No one even to deter a morally inept individual from taking their fill of tomatoes without leaving a dime. Instead, at the end of the stand was a hand painted sign. The sign was made out of plywood painted white with black lettering. In front of that sign was a small metal water pale with a few dollars inside. The scrawl on the sign read "We work on the honor system".

As a urban dweller this was unheard of. My initial reaction was to laugh at the naive belief that there will still honorable people. Then I remember where I was. I was in the southernmost point of St. Mary's County, in a community where each member was there for the next. In a place, where honor and trust are worn like a membership badge.

Social Media may be a newer concept to some. However, the only thing truly new about it is the tactics for delivery, the Media portion. The social part has been around as long as time. When participating in Social Media, it is imperative that you recognize you are interacting in a community. A community just like the southernmost part of St. Mary's County, Point Lookout. A community that demands trust. A community that will call you out if you don't honor it.

Once I had gotten over my initial "urban dweller" reaction. I was able to realize, it was a magical thing to be able to feel the trust in the community. I was just a visitor to Point Lookout, but I felt a sense of responsibility for the town and its people, just as if I had lived there all my life. Looking back on it I wish I had taken a picture of that stand. I hope it is still there, with the same sign.

Saturday, April 18


I was at Dead Freddies last night with my girlfriend, Chrysler and her boyfriend Josh. I'm not even sure how it happened, it may have had something to do with the alcohol, but we started a debate on what the things you put on the top of ice cream are called. Josh and I agree that they are more commonly referred to as sprinkles. While Chrissy is confident that they are Jimmys; with a "ys" not "ies". Needless to say we were not reaching a consensus among the three of us. So we are polling.

Please help us solve this debate, by participating in the poll below.

Thursday, April 16

Pennsylvania, a Southern State? No.

As Maryland native with southern roots, I have often been part of the ongoing debate on whether or not Maryland is considered a Southern state. The argument typically falls between, a Marylander and someone from a tried and true Dixie state with a slow drawl in their speech. Typically, the argument ends with the Mason Dixon line which essentially divides the country in two. The Mason Dixon line also just so happens to run directly along the border of Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Which is why I could not help but chuckle to myself as I was traveling North on I-95 today and was passed by this truck.

It is hard to tell in this photo, but "The Southern Company" is apparently located in Willow Grove, PA. Apparently, no one was around to slap the owner of "The Southern Company" upside his/her head when he/she was naming the company.

How is it handled when the name of the company is partaking in false advertising?


Friday, April 10

Reasons to <3 Maryland

Well maybe it is only one reason, but it takes the cake! The "crab" cake that is. Growing up in Maryland a weekend full of warm sunshine, water, chicken necks, crab pots, docks, beer, sweet tea (for the kids), newspaper, little wooden mauls, butter knives, and Maryland Blue Crabs is tradition. Just like whiskey and women were tradition for the Williams family. An open season on the tradition came rolling in this April 1st, no foolin'.

As the Baltimore Sun tells it, Maryland Waterman are holding their breath as we enter the 2009 season. Hoping and praying that the female crab population has rebounded. Most recently the Maryland Blue Crab population has continued to see hardship with each year being worse than the last. But no doom and gloom here! As a one who knows how to appreciate a good pot of steamed crabs, I have my sleeves rolled up butter knife in my right hand and a cold beer in the left. I hope you fellow Marylanders will join me for good company and good crabs!

As Richard's Seafood in Bel Air, Maryland puts it...it is a rite of passage!


Wednesday, April 1

Lessons in being unemployed: Lesson #1

The last time I was out of work I was eighteen. I have never had to looked for a job, so I can meet my responsibilities (i.e. pay the bills, feed my dogs). On March 10th I joined the ranks of the nations unemployed. Someone once told me that “everyone needs to go through the experience of being let go to truly understand the situation.” The “situation” being what it is like to be unemployed; as well as, what it is like to be employed. At that time, I thought they were just excusing a blemish in their past. I laugh at my naive reaction, now.

It has been learning experience to say the least. I've learned a few things about myself. My perspective on things has changed slightly. Most importantly though, my appreciation for those I surround myself with has sky rocketed.

A main career objective has always been to apply my knowledge and skill set to a job; in trade for the opportunity to learn new things. An opportunity I am always grateful for. Through my career I have kept my sights closely aimed to make sure I was constantly gaining this knowledge. Until now, I never realized the true gift I was receiving was not the knowledge, but the people.

After I was let go from Renegade I was headed home, not really sure what to do with myself for the rest of the afternoon. Until my cell phone rang; Kate was calling to see what I was doing. Kate was the Post Production Supervisor at Renegade, and was also let go the same day. I immediately changed my course and to meet Kate for lunch. Suddenly, I realized I wasn’t alone.

Lesson #1: In this economy those people who can count themselves among the unemployed are not alone. We should recognize that and work together to reach our goals.


Monday, March 30

I have a problem

I have a problem. Well more accurately, I have multiple problems both related and unrelated. However, I am only going to talk about one. How do you overcome a fear that you haven't clearly defined?

Currently, I am working on development of my personal website jhawkw.com. As a visual person by nature, the design of the site is taking form in my head; as well as, on paper/computer. However, in an effort to govern myself I have decided that I can not; will not work any farther on the design until I have completed the copy development. Otherwise, I run the risk of launching a site with greeking in the place of the would be copy. My problem is I can not write about myself. I mean of course, I can. It is just that everything put down seems corny or pompous. So I start and stop, erase and then start all over again. It really is a vicious cycle, that is getting me no where.

In all reality what I write is not corny nor pompous. In all reality, the problem isn't in my writing or conception. The problem is in my head. One of my main skill sets is my ability to conceptualize an idea and then proceed to communicate said idea through written and verbal word. I do it all the time for clients, products, and the like.The problem is my reaction after I have written about myself. I giggle and blush after reading over what I've written; eventually scrapping it all.

I'm not sure why this is. Which I believe is why I can't get over it. I am a firm believer that facing your fears head on, is the only way to overcome them. So, how do you overcome a fear that you haven't clearly defined? Have you experienced a similar dilemma?

Please help. Otherwise, I may have to resort to putting a rubber band around my wrist and snapping it each time I start sketching or day dreaming about the design for jhawkw.com. I really don't want to do that, it hurts.


Tuesday, March 24

Hosting Options

My job recently fell fatal to the economic conditions that have become our everyday lives. (In writing that sentence I changed it from “I fell” to “My job recently fell”. I choose to do this because, despite the fact that I have recently joined the ranks of America’s Unemployed, I am doing rather well. The word “fatal” felt dramatic when speaking of myself; however, it feels appropriate when speaking about the job I am no longer performing. ) Since, becoming unemployed I’ve realized a lot of things that I over looked or took for granted before. (So many that I may dedicate a post solely on this topic.) I haven’t been “out of work” since 2001, when I first began my professional career and I haven’t “looked for” a job since 2005, when I left The Miller Group. One of the biggest things I immediately couldn’t ignore is that it is a much more competitive marketplace and finding a job isn’t as simple as looking in the classifieds and faxing a paper resume. Especially, when focusing in the marketing and advertising field; the earliest adopters of anything promotional. So over the last two weeks, along with applying to jobs I’ve been focusing 100% on giving my personal brand a face lift. One item that is part of this face lift is #6 on my 101 in 1001: to create, design and develop my professional website.

Last week I secured my domain names: jhawkw.com, juliannawittig.com, juliannahawk.com, and juliannahawkwittig.com from godaddy.com. I’ve decided to use jhawkw.com in all my branding efforts, being that it matches my twitter, gmail, and flickr profiles. All URLS will point to the same website for those people who are just doing a quick search on “Julianna Wittig” or one of my other aliases. Next item on my list is to secure hosting.

In the past I’ve always used Hosting.com for my hosting services both professionally (when appropriate) and personally. I’ve been using hosting.com for 8 years now, without ever looking elsewhere. I’ve never really had a reason before, and quite honestly they haven’t given me a reason now either. However, service offerings have changed greatly since I started using hosting.com and I’m in a place of change personally and professionally. In spirit of this place of change, I want to use a different hosting service for jhawkw.com. You are invited to join me while I narrow down my options for a new hosting service. Below are the steps I have taken to make my selection. Note: I am writing this post as I make my selection, so I don’t even know who I am going to end up with.

1. Recommendations: I employed my network for recommendations on ho
sting services. On twitter @dwplanit recommended myhosting.com and @briancrumely recommended MediaTemple. On facebook Shaun Ault recommended bluehost.com and hostmonster.com. So right off the bat I have been able to narrow down my options with recommendations from trusted resources. Resources that I can metaphorically say to: “I know where you live”.

2. Consumer Feedback: Now that I have narrowed my options to four capable solutions via the assistance of my direct network, I would like to see what everyone else is saying about these services. Once again, this is a question that twitter is perfect for answering. Simply by performing a twitter search on each of my candidates I am able to see real-time results on what other users are saying about the services I am considering.

  • #myhosting.com
    Overall positive conversations. A couple of complaints regarding service interruptions.

    Note: You have to search myhosting.com because
    myhosting has a profile on twitter for the company

  • #MediaTemple
    Overall conversations seem to be tech related. Indicates a higher usage by professionals? A couple recommendations for using other services.

    Note: MediaTemple also offers a twitter profile @mediatemple

  • #bluehost
    Mostly recommendations. A few complaints regarding service suspension and customer service.

  • #hostmonster
    Overall banter about service. No real hearty recommendations or complaints.
3. Feature and Cost Comparison: Next I compare the features and costs of each service. There is a plethora of options out there when it comes to hosting services. I need to make sure the option I choose is the best solution for this project. Although this site will be for professional growth and brand establishment it is a personal website. I don’t anticipate insanely high traffic demands or the need for especially large amounts of data storage space. I will be handling the design, production and testing of the website myself; so I’m not interested in any free site builder options.
  • MyHosting Cost: $6.45 a month
    My Hosting Features: Linux (Debian) platform, 5 GB disk space, 50 GB data transfer, 250 email accounts with spam filtering, 5 domain name aliases, Free web-based Site Builder, PHP 5.2.9 and Perl, Free MySQL 5.0.32 database 9

  • Media Temple Cost: $20.00 a month
    Media Temple Features: 100GB premium storage, 1TB network transfer, Host up to 100 domains, 1000 email accounts, Clustered architecture, Rails & Django Containers, MySQL SmartPool v.2, FREE Urchin Analytics, Money Back Guarantee.

  • Blue Host Cost: $6.95 a month
    Blue Host Features: UNLIMITED Hosting Space (NEW!); UNLIMITED File Transfer (NEW!); Host UNLIMITED Domains!!!; 2,500 POP/Imap Email Accounts; SSH (Secure Shell); SSL, FTP, Stats; CGI, Ruby (RoR), Perl, PHP, MySQL; 2000/2002 Front Page Extensions; Free Domain Forever!; Free Site Builder (NEW); 24/7 Superb/Responsive Sales/Support

  • Host Monster Cost: $5.95 a month
    Host Monster Features: UNLIMITED Hosting Space; UNLIMITED Site Bandwidth; Host UNLIMITED Domains; Unlimited Pop/Imap Email Accounts; SSH Access (Secure Shell); SSL, FTP, Stats; CGI, Ruby (RoR), Perl, PHP, MYSQL; Front Page Extensions; Free Domain Forever; Free Site Builder; Best Support in the Industry
4. Customer Service: Last but not least I take a look at the Customer Service offerings of each service. One of my biggest pet peeves is when working with a internet based company that only deals with service requests through FAQs and tickets submitted via an online form. Now, I certainly expect that each service is going to boast “Award Winning” and “Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed”. Which means I am going to have to read between the lines to ensure I am purchasing the customer service I will expect.
  • Myhosting: 24/7 Phone Support, Online Chat, FAQs, Email Support, and Call Back Request. Myhosting also has a presence on twitter as I mentioned previously, @myhosting. More and more companies are continuing to embrace this means of communication. I am glad to see myhosting adopting twitter; however, their account was just created at the start of sxsw this year and their tweets are regarding their sxsw participation. Hopefully, they evolve their usage to include customer support.

  • MediaTemple: Our Promise and 24/7 Support. MediaTemple also has a presence on twitter, @mediatemple. A pretty active presence, these guys are using twitter to its fullest for customer service. They are interacting and engaging with their users; becoming part of the solution.

  • Blue Host: Ticket System, Knowledgebase, 24/7 Phone Support & Live Chat.

  • Host Monster: Ticket System, Knowledgebase, 24/7 Phone Support & Live Chat.
5. Decision & Reasoning: My network was able to provide me with four capable options for my needs. I could have simply chosen the cheapest option or the most complex and went from there. However, I did not. I wanted to make sure the one I selected was going to meet and maybe exceed my needs as a consumer. In the end I've decided to go with myhosting.com. The reviews they have received were positive for the most part, their features and price were exactly what will meet my needs, and they show the potential for adopting proactive customer service techniques.

MediaTemple appears to be a great solution to meet the demands of a robust corporate website. I will probably refer back to thier service the next time I'm working on such a site.

BlueHost and HostMonster both lost points because if you look at thier customer support pages, it appears they may actually be the same company just branded as two different companies. I don't know this to be true, but there was just too many uncanny similarities. Check it out for yourself.

Well I hope I havn't bored you to death. I know this hasn't been the most entertaining post. I just hope the information, helps you make a hosting selection in the future.


Saturday, March 7

The Economy, Responsibility and Twitter

I come from a generation where the great depression is made up of story tales of hardship, togetherness, and struggle told by my elders. I don't remember it and I can't fathom it any more than I can fathom the story of sleeping beauty or the renaissance. So I turn on the switch to the analytical part of my brain to make my own determinations of the theatrical media reports.

During the Great Depression, in the United States, the percentage of the population that was out of work rose to 25 percent of the workforce at its highest level. This number translated to 15 million Americans being without work. But times are very different in 2009, then they were in 1930. The population is larger, there are more women and men leaving for work everyday, jobs have changed and technology has changed. According to my calculations (I am no mathematician), for the US unemployment rate to reach 25 percent again, 35.5 million people will need to be out of work. So where do we stand? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the number of unemployed persons increased by 851,000 to 12.5 million in February, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent. Not good, not comfortable, but you know what? I don't think the sky is quite falling either.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that everything is fine. It is not. We've had it pretty darn good since the end of the depression and even better still in the more recent years. But as the english proverb goes, "all good things must come to a end". Things are not going to be as easy as we've grown accustomed to, we are going to have to work a little harder and be a little more responsible for ourselves and our own. Responsibility should and will take on a whole new meaning for us, that is if we are doing it right. So I ask you, what are you doing about it? Are you sitting around waiting from someone else to fix it? Are you talking about how bad things are? Or are you taking control of your own mindset? Are you talking with people like yourself? People who are empowerd to change things, people who can change things?

My point is you can read the news reports on the american economy. Reports with words like grim, destroyed, wrenching and brink. Or you can start being selective about what your reading and who your talking to. I'm not using google for the same purpose anymore. Google no longer gives me what I need or what I want. It is just a tool to aggragate and display information posted by whoever and whomever. Instead, I'm listening and talking with a whole new network on twitter. A network that is optimistic and sharing ideas, successes and lessons learned.

According to Twitter's homepage the service is defined as "A service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? However like all tools, Twitter is what you make of it. You have to follow the right people, you have to offer valuable information, you have to be transparent and honest. If you are complaining to your network and talking about what lunch was for the day; your going to hear people complaining and telling you about their newest aliment. You will get back what you put in. Below is snapshot of my favorite things that my network shared with me this past week. I hope they inspire and make you smile, as they did me.

@prnewswire Editor who had earned 6 figures until she was laid off last year now interns to become tech-savvy http://burnurl.com/xokiHn

@AgencyConfesses Friday Ad Haiku: Responding to a-holish blog comments http://tinyurl.com/b82plv

@george_murphy RT @city_paper DC takes one more baby step toward admitting that Baltimore is, like, totally the cooler city: http://tinyurl.com/akdbpj

Lost it, Found it, Not going to lose it again! Here is a blog post from @rohitbhargava that I found worthy. http://is.gd/c9Ja

@mashable It's #followfriday! The usual reminder of how #followfriday works: http://tinyurl.com/cz545c

@adamostrow Reading "MySpace is Toast" - http://burnurl.com/lIzsuF ... nice to-the-point headline!

@CocoOnTheWeb The most impressive 27-year old you’ve never heard of? Barack Obama’s speechwriter: http://tr.im/2k3k

@mashable Reading: "The Power of Social Networking to Save the World (from zombies)" http://bit.ly/105EJb

@mashable Reading: "A Twitter Basics Primer" http://tinyurl.com/b83yay

@MrTweet Which great organization or individual should @MrTweet feature next? Tell us: http://bit.ly/1SaYrZ (RT if you know great folks!)

@jhawkw “The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.” — Chinese Proverb


Wednesday, March 4

Glossary of Terms: Search Engine Marketing

Below is a glossary of terms that were originally published in SES Vol.3, Issue 1 for search engine marketers. I found these definitions clear and consise when explaining things to the general public, and thought you may too!

advertising network: A service where ads are bought centrally through one company, and displayed on multiple websites that contract with that company for a share of revenue generated by ads served on their site.

algorithm: The technology that a search engine uses to deliver results to a query. Search engines utilize several algorithms in tandem to deliver a page of search results or keyword-targeted search ads.

anchor text: The clickable text part of a hyper-link. The text usually gives visitors or search engines important information on what the page being linked to is about.

click through rate (CTR): The rate (express in percentage) at which users click on an ad. This is calculated by dividing the total number of clicks by the total number of ad impressions. CTR is an important metric for Internet marketers to measure the performance of an ad campaign.

content network: A group of websites that agree to show ads on their site, served by an as network, in exchange for a share of the revenue generated by those ads. Examples include Google AdSense or the Yahoo Publisher Network.

content advertising: Advertising that is targeted to a web page based on the page's content, keywords, or category. Ads in most content networks are targeted contextually.

cost per action (CPA): A form of advertising where payment is dependant upon an action that a user performs as a result of the ad. The action could be making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or asking for a follow-up call. An advertiser pays a set fee to the publisher based on the number of visitors who take action. Many affiliate programs use the CPA model.

cost per click (CPC): Also called pay-per-click (PPC). A performance-based advertising model where the advertiser pays a set fee for every click on an ad. The majority of text ads sold by search engines are billed under the CPC model.

geo-targeting: Delivery of ads specific to the geographic location of the searcher. Geo-targeting allows the advertiser to specify where ads will or won't be shown based on the searcher's location, enabling more localized and personalized results.

Googlebot: Google uses several user-agents to crawl and index content in the Google.com search engine. Googlebot describes all Google spiders. All Google bots begin with "Googlebot"; for example, Googlebot Mobile: crawls pages for Google's mobile index; Googlebot-Image: crawls pages for Google's image index.

inbound link: An inbound link is a hyperlink to a particular web page from an outside site, bringing traffic to that web page. Inbound links are an important element that most search engine algorithms use to measure the popularity of a web page.

invisible web: A term that refers to the vast amount of information on the web that isn't indexed by search engines. Coined in 1994 by Dr. Jill Ellsworth.

keyword: A word or phrase entered into a search engine to return matching and relevant results. Many websites offer advertising targeted by keywords, so an ad will only show when a specific keyword is entered.

link bait: Editorial content, often sensational in nature, posted on a web page and submitted to social media sited in hopes of building inbound links from other sites. Or, as Matt Cutts of Google says, "something interesting enough to catch people's attention."

link building: The process of getting quality websites to link to your websites, in order to improve search engine rankings. Link building techniques can include buying links, reciprocal linking, or entering barter arrangements.

meta tags: Information placed in the HTML header of a web page, providing information that is not visible to browsers, but can be used in varying degrees by search engines to index a page. Common meta tags used in search engine marketing are title, description, and keyword tags.

pay per click (PPC): See cost per click (CPC).

quality score: A score assigned by search engines that is calculated by measuring an ad's clickthrough rate, analyzing the relevance of the landing page, and considering other factors used to determine the quality of a site and reward those of higher quality with top placement and lower bid requirements. Some factos that make up a quality score are historical keywords performance, the quality of an ad's landing page, and other undisclosed attributes. All of the major search engines now use some form of quality score in their search as algorithm.

return on investment (ROI): The amount of money an advertiser earns from their ads compared to the amount of money that advertiser spends on their ads.

search advertising: Also called paid search. An advertiser bids for the chance to have their as display when a user searches for a given keyword. There are usually text ads, which are displayed above or to the right of the algorithmic (organic) search results. Most search ads are sold by the PPC model, where the advertiser pays only when the user clicks on the as or text link.

search engine marketing (SEM): The process of building and marketing a site with the goal of improving its position in search engine results. SEM includes both search engine optimization (SEO) and search advertising, or paid search.

search engine optimization (SEO): The process of making a site and its content highly relevant for both search engines and searches. SEO includes technical tasks to make it easier for search engines to find and index a site for the appropriate keywords, as well as marketing-focused tasks to make a site more appealing to users. Successful search marketing helps a site gain top positioning for relevant words and phrases.

search engine results page (SERPs): The page searchers see after they've entered their query into the search box. This page lists several web pages related to the searcher's query, sorted by relevance. Increasingly, search engines are returning blended search results, which include images, videos, and results from specialty databases on their SERPs.

social media: A category of sites that is based on user participation and user-generated content. They include social networking sites like Linked-In or Facebook, social bookmarking sites like Del.icio.us, social news sites like Digg or Reddit, and other sites that are centered on user interaction.

spider: A search engine spider is a program that crawls the web, visiting web pages to collect information to add to or update a search engine's index. The major search engines on the web all have such a program, which is also known as a "crawler" or a "bot".

title tag: An HTML meta tag with text describing a specific web page. The title tag should contain strategic keywords for the page, since many search engines pay special attention to the title text when indexing pages. The title tag should also make sense to humans, since it is usually the text link to the page displayed in search engine results.

universal search: Also known as blended, or federated search results, universal search pulls data from multiple databases to display on the same page. Results can include images, videos, and results from specialty databases like maps and local information, product information, or news stories.

web 2.0: A term that refers to a supposed second generation of Internet-based services. These usually include tools that let people collaborate and share information online, such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies.

Hope you enjoy!


Saturday, February 28

Photoshop 3.0

Most people who met me after 2001 are surprised to find out that I have an artistic side. In actuality, it is this side that keeps me sane. Before I entered the workforce I swore that I would end up at graphic designer. Apparently fate, had different plans for me however.

Anyway in honor of reminiscing, I wanted to share a design I completed in 1998 -1999. This illustration was based on a image found in National Geographic and was completed 100% by using Photoshop 3.0 and plenty of time and patience.


Thursday, February 26

Foreign Humor

Typically I can appreciate foreign advertising. There always seems to be a satisfying delivery of humor and/or sex appeal that balances right on the edge of going to far. See my blog posting Just Admit You Love Advertising for a classic sample. However, this recent spot from El Cielo for Claro makes me a little uneasy.

Maybe it is because my American brain associates gerbils and little boys with the scandals and horror stories at local hospitals and in tabloid articles. Or maybe it is because I typically only see the cream of the crop when it comes to foreign advertising.

Any which way, this spot was definitely foreign for my tastes. Now, the hamster dance I would have been able to associate with.


Wednesday, February 25

Meet the Dogs

I recently received a joke from someone that spoke of a wife's love for her husband versus a dog's love for his best friend. I'm not going to try and re-tell it; I would just butcher it. It finished with something on the line of telling the husband to lock his wife and his dog in the trunk of his car, wait 4 hours and then let them out. He would then be able to tell which one loved him more, by the one that would be happy to see him. A dog's love and admiration is everlasting; which is probably why I have four of them. I'd like you meet them...

A. Grips
aka. Grippers, Pippers, Fatty Patty, Yellow Butt, Feather Butt

Grips is my alpha dog. She is the second oldest and The Queen.
She runs her house with a firm paw. Taking a passive approach to her
alpha status. Letting her brothers "think" they are alpha. But let them
step out of line, and she will be first to put them in the place. A true woman.

B. Sprocket
aka. Spicket, Sprocket the Piss Rocket, Sprocket Tucker.

Sprocket is my baby. He is the oldest and often reminisces
about the time when it was only him. There isn't a day that goes by that I can
almost hear him saying to me, "Mom come on lets just get our own place.
Remember how nice it was when it was just me."

C. Pegs
aka. The Bitch, The Devil Reincarnated, Piggy,
Piggy Wiggy, Piggers, Peggy, Little Miss Piggy.

Pegs is the second youngest at 3 years and weighs in at around 50lbs.
She is our spoiled brat, she doesn't hold the nickname The Devil for nothing.
If it wasn't for the fact that she is our hunting dog I am sure
we would have taken her to that famous farm that all bad dogs go to.

D. Drake
aka. Drakers, Snookems and Larry.

Drake is the youngest and the largest. He is our problem child.
Drake is the result of a broken puppy hood. After spending time in a abusive
home and then some time as a stray he ended up at Lab Rescue.
He was supposed to just be a foster dog for us. However, he quickly stole
my husband's heart and everything else since. Including 4lbs of raw
pork loin. While Drake is a fear bitter he is the sweetest dog on the earth.
Just don't show that you afraid of him or anything else for that matter.


Monday, February 16

Neighborhood Bars

When my husband and I were buying our second house the neighborhood bar was right up there with a bathroom in regards to "must haves". A necessity, for those of us that grew up watching Cheers "Where everybody knows your name" and where no family gathering was complete with out a room full of drunken relatives.

So in honor of those places that make you want to put a beer bucket on your head, I have compiled a list of my top places to throw back a cold one, in Maryland. Enjoy!

  1. Bruce Bitner's Cafe & Grill
    Located in Harford County on Rt 22 across from the community college. Bruce Bitner's embodies the true meaning of a neighborhood bar. Not only, does everyone know your name they have a killer burger, wing, and beer special from 1 - 4 on Saturday and Sunday.

  2. Cross Street Market
    Located on Cross Street in Federal Hill. While, technically not a bar this is my all time favorite place to throw back a 22 oz beer and eat my self silly on sushi, raw oysters, Alaskan crab legs, and shrimp. Not to mention the patrons of Cross Street are such an diverse group there is always a new and interesting character to meet.

  3. Harborside Bar & Grille
    Located on the harbor side (hence the name) in Ocean City. Chock full of drinking establishments for the pleasure seeking patron, Ocean City has much to offer. Harborside always proves to be a favorite drinking hole, ecspecially with their honor of being the birth place and home of the Orange Crush.

  4. Looney's Pub North
    Located in Bel Air, MD. Looney's North is the prime establishment to listen to a local or not so local band, while catching the game on any one of their many many televisions. Not to even mention their St. Patty's Day Celebration. I didn't move for two days after St. Patty's day and two shots of Jameson Whiskey one year.

  5. Nick's Fish House
    Located at the Baltimore Yacht Basin. Nick's Fish House is the perfect stop on a weekend excursion. While I can't say I've ever stayed long at Nick's I always enjoy the time we spend there. The atmosphere can't be beat plus no matter what I always seem to run into good friends.

  6. Riverwatch
    Located in Middle River. Riverwatch will always be my neighborhood bar at heart. At the Riverwatch you can see a couple in their sixties bumping and grinding on the dance floor, or during the warm season you can finish out your weekend with boats, bikes and live music. Any which way you can't go wrong with the Riverwatch.

  7. Ropewalk Tavern
    Located in Federal Hill, Ropewalk Tavern is a must visit. The Ropewalk's offering of beer choice is only shadowed by it's offering of cigar choices. This bar is complete with loft, piano, wooden Indians, and the ability to get your M.B.A. Master of Beer Appreciation.

  8. The Emerald Tavern
    Located in Parkville on Harford Road. The Emerald Tavern is another bar that has the neighborhood thing down right. Thursday's is wing night and I've never been inside and haven't ran into the most unexpected people. They put on a pretty killer St. Patty's celebration too.

  9. Torino's Bar & Grill
    Located in Bel Air, Torino's Bar & Grill holds my official neighborhood bar status. Not only do they offer $1.50 Miller Lites on Saturdays, but they offer karaoke on Friday and kick ass food any other day of the week. If you visit I recommend their micro brew called One and Done. I drank one and was definitely done.

So I raise my glass to Neighborhood Bars, without you life would be a whole lot less interesting. Plus, I wouldn't have a reason to put a bucket on my head.


Monday, February 9

The Perfect Weekend

The perfect weekend is like beauty. It is in the eye of the beholder. This past weekend came pretty close to perfect for me. Certainly there is some things I would adjust slightly to make it actually perfect. For instance, the warmer climate would be permanent and not just a tease.

Either way, though this past weekend had the makings of greatness. Ingredients included one lazy Friday evening, followed by on restful Saturday morning with a desperately needed clipping of the dogs nails. Then an evening with good friends who you don't get to see enough and one bad ass movie. (Even though, I fell asleep.)

Then on to a Sunday, that starts around 2 in the afternoon, some time in front of the computer finishing up #67 on my 101 in 1001 for @CSTINEBUSY, a quick visit to the grocery store and Little Ceasars, and then pizza and tv.

Yeah, pretty close to the perfect weekend. Definitely in the top.


Thursday, February 5

Maybe One Day I'll Explain

Monday, February 2

Random Useless Pieces of Information (25 to be exact)

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1. My cousin that I am closest to lives 2758 mi. away & it has been like that since I can remember.
2. I grew up telling everyone I had a brother named Bubba & I still do. Bubba was our yellow lab.
3. I have a highly addictive personality that is most certainly genetic.
4. A sure fire way to get me to do something is by telling me I can't.
5. Senior year of high school I completely rebelled, & I wouldn't change those times for the world.
6. In third grade I had to go to special classes to learn to read at my grade level.
7. I have been addicted to reading since.
8. The first time I was black out drunk was the last day of eighth grade. Off goldschlager.

9. The 1st day of 5th grade I wished for a sibling, the last day of 5th grade my sister was born.
10. There was a trampoline, horseshoes, a swimming pool and pit beef at my wedding.
11. I have really bad balance. I attribute this to my height vs my small foot size.
12. I was one of 3 captains of my varsity cheerleading squad.
13. I cheered from the time I was 7 till
my senior year when I rebelled and quit the team.
14. I am always late. Always.
15. I started eating raw oysters before most kids eat solid food.
16. I smoked my first cigarette during "Take you child to work day".
17. I really enjoy waterfowl hunting; especially down in the marshes of Maryland's Eastern Shore.
18. I was born with a full head of black hair and rat tail (
the hair style) down my back.
19. I spent a year and a half as a distributor for Slumber Parties.
20. I have 7 Tattoos and plan on eventually getting a quarter sleeve.
21. I keep a Webster's II New Riverside Pocket Dictionary in my desk, and refer to it often.

22. I love cooking but hate doing dishes.
23. I learned to tow a boat while still getting my driving miles for my license.
24. My favorite place to go crabbing is Kent Narrows.
25. I've been told I am explosive, impulsive, a bitch and more. All of which are true.

Wednesday, January 28

Just Admit It. You Love Advertising.

Advertising, it is one of those things that everyone loves to hate. The 30 second commercial is often an uninvited interruption to a suspenseful story; fictitious or reality. If you have ever watched Deal or No Deal you know exactly what I mean. However, we would be foolish to abolish advertising and the 30 second commercial in our lives. For both bad and good advertising, provides mountains of entertainment and is often featured as the main topic of water cooler conversations. I'm not just saying this because I'm in the Advertising industry either.

Take for instance this recent spot for Heineken. It is highly entertaining and been causing quite the buzz on the internet. It was brought to my attention not by a peer in the industry, but a engineer. Who, I wouldn't classify as the typical advertising geek, but definitely someone who can appreciate a good alcoholic beverage and witty humor.

Or you can take for example the ShamWow! infomercials that have been seen everywhere! Personally, this infomercial is like nails or chalk board, I imagine it is for a lot of people. You know what, though? In the last week alone I have heard the local DJ talking about the "ShamWow! Guy", I've over heard a patron at the local bar talking about the "ShamWow! Guy" and it has come up in conversation at the office. I wonder if the impression the infomercial is making, is translating to sales?

So as CK points out in this Get To The Point newsletter. Use your DVR, but use it wisely. You don't want to miss out on the latest buzz.


P.S. This Sunday it is expected that 100 million viewers will tune in to watch the SuperBowl. Many will be tuning in not for the game but for the shock and awe of the 2009 debut ads. To prepare yourself, you should spend sometime reminiscing with the 2008 Superbowl Ads.

Tuesday, January 27

Avoiding The Afternoon Crash

You've experienced it. You've ate lunch so your belly is nice and full; maybe you are even working on something that is somewhat mundane. Next thing you know your eye lids are getting heavy and you are fighting to stay away. Hopefully you haven't had to tell your boss the old "I was just resting my eyes" excuse.

Thankfully, I have a serious caffeine addiction that causes me to suffer from a self induced case of insomnia. My problem isn't getting sleepy during the day, but rather not falling asleep until the wee hours of the morning and then dragging myself out of bed in time for the start of the day. So when I was asked what my solution was for the mid day crash, I was pretty much stumped.

Of course, though that got me thinking. What can you do to avoid the afternoon crash? True to form my thoughts started gravitating to things that would probably be frowned upon more than falling asleep at your desk: Mid-day Quickies, Afternoon Shots, etc. Now while, all of those things may seem like a great time your boss most likely will not approve.

We need work appropriate solutions! A quick visit to Google (I know...Google is evil) brought up suggestions regarding nutrition, exercise and sleep habits. All of which are pretty boring, obvious and require personal commitment. I was deflated, but not defeated. If nutrition, exercise and sleep are the key components to avoiding the afternoon crash; there has to be solutions that can be considered fun and exciting.

Bthesite.com has a interesting recommendation on one of thier recent blog posts; Sexercise me. While this blog was not written to avoid the afternoon crash, it combines my idea of afternoon quickies and exercise. So, I am recommending their suggestions as not only a way to go "harder, longer, stronger" in the bedroom, but at work as well.

Any fun and exciting suggestions you can find?


Monday, January 26

Google is evil

Google is evil.

Fine. I may be over reacting just a little and maybe it isn't all Google's fault. Google is just the messenger, anyway. All I am trying to say is that Google and the information age, have completely changed the way we live our lives and the amount of information we intentionally and unintentionally share. There are no more secrets.

Where is the mystery now?


Friday, January 23

What you see is what you get

I classify myself as a intermediate newbie when it comes to Social Media as a means of marketing. Every time I feel like I've had a break through with this new means of marketing, I find something else that completely knocks me back a few paces. I am not alone though. This marketing with social media is so new, it is changing faster than the technology industry is. Yeah there are people out there that claim to be "experts" and they are peddling "expert advice" for a charge. I'm calling bullshit on these people.

Yeah there are people who may be more advanced in their knowledge of Social Media. But if anyone claims to be a "expert" turn and run! This medium is just too new for anyone to be that educated on it. It is changing daily and over confidence in this arena can be costly. Take for instance this story that, my colleague shared with me yesterday. James Andrews from Ketchum was on his way to FedEx to talk with the corporate communications folks about social media. Needless to say this expert blew it, before he even got there.

I am currently working on launching a systematic social media initiatives for the agency I work for. Our social media initiatives have been very organic in nature in the past. However, I am seeing more and more clients paying attention to what we are doing. I've even noticed a influx of professional relationships who are not only becoming friends of Renegade's Fan Page on facebook but are also friending me directly. This new dynamic that is developing in which my personal friends are being mixed in with my professional contacts, got me thinking...should I sensor?

No, I shouldn't! What you see is what you get. As I read today in my Get To The Point Brief "In all of our excitement over social-media tools—and how they work for us—we shouldn't forget what Twitter and Facebook mean..."


Wednesday, January 21

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

I started in the Advertising Industry early. Earlier than most. While my high school classmates were partaking in the freedoms and wealth of knowledge that college life offers, I came down with mono and had to withdrawl from my classes. That was in November of 2000, by March of 2001 I was working in a Baltimore Agency as the Receptionist/Advertising Assistant. That is after I did a short stint as a short order cook. My second day on the job, the CEO sat me down and said "Julianna this is a business you will either love or hate. There is no in between. If you find that you don't like this business, you need to let me know." I'll never forget that conversation. I was scared to death. Here I was this 18 year old kid, and I just had entered the real workforce. At that moment it became all too clear to me; I had a lot to learn. Six months later, I knew exactly what he was talking about. Advertising is a industry that you will either love or hate, there is no "It's okay."

Advertising chose me. Sure, after high school I was pretty sure that I would pursue a career where I could be a graphic designer. Advertising is certainly the main industry to be in for that kind of work. I never ended up in the graphic design position though. Hence, why I say Advertising chose me.

I never gave much serious thought to the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" It is one of the questions that I now ask everyone I interview. It is a question that really gets people to stop and think about the path they are on. Especially when you are asking a grown adult. I love advertising. I do, however, ask myself at times "If money wasn't a issue what would my imagination lead me to do?"

A good friend reminds me often that anything is possible as long as you have Money and Imagination. So I ask you, What do you want to be when you grow up? or If money wasn't a issue what would your imagination have you do?

Here is a short list of my possibilities:

  1. Elementary School Art Teacher
  2. Beach Bum
  3. Philanthropist
  4. Wetlands activist
  5. Creative Brothel Owner
  6. Motorcycle Dealer

Monday, January 19

Keep Things Simple

I'm not one to get wrapped up in the ritual of creating New Years Resolutions. Mainly because I'm also not in the habit of setting myself up for failure. Most often I find New Years Resolutions to be exactly that - failures. I think this comes from the forced nature of having to choose a resolution for the New Year. Just like a drunk or drug addict, we aren't going to resolve to make the change until we are ready. If I am waiting until the New Year to make a change, then I really don't want to make a change in the first place.

That being said, I am announcing that moving forward I am resolving to Keep Things Simple. Now you could call this a New Years Resolution, but I would argue that it shouldn't be labeled as such just because of proximity to the beginning of the new year. Plus I plan on making a conscientious effort to Keep Things Simple from now on. The calendar has nothing to do with my resolve.

Why do I resolve to Keep Things Simple? As I reflect I see a pattern occurring more and more often these days in both my personal and professional life. I keep over complicating things; unnecessarily. This over complication I find brings on difficulty and stress that I would otherwise avoid if I just Kept Things Simple. Not to mention the additional work (time and energy) I create for myself.

So, I guess call it what you will...a New Years Resolution, a Promise, a Decree, a Deceleration. Just whatever you call it, please wish me well. It won't be easy.

Friday, January 16

Baltimore Ravens 2008-2009 Season

In honor of Purple Friday I have posted a bunch of pictures to my flickr account from last weekend's Ravens Titans Game!

Now it is time to kick some Steeler _ _ _!

Thursday, January 15

We are all addicts

30.1 million viewers tuned in on Tuesday night for the season debut of American Idol. A 10% drop, according to the Associated Press from the 2008 season. My initial reaction is good, maybe America is becoming wiser. Maybe, we are spending less time high on the good old "Boob Tube". Then reality sets in, I find this video:

Proof that America isn't getting any better with it's addiction to Media. Nope we are just finally starting to hit rock bottom!


P.S. Was anyone else appalled that the person who runs wardrobe for American Idol let Ryan Seacrest dress on last nights airing like a faded picture of my father from the 70s?

Tuesday, January 13

A Productive Time Of Year (Series 1 of 5)

It is that time of year (at least in Maryland) where everything slows down a bit more that usual. The only thing that stills seems to speed up is time. The months go by faster, the days are shorter, so on and so forth. This always seems to create a inner turmoil for me. It confuses me in a sense. Not like "I can't tell if that is a boy or a girl" confusion. More like one minute I am totally relaxed and smelling the roses and the next minute I'm thinking to myself "Oh shit, where did the time go. I am so behind on xyz."

I feel like this confusion is reflected in how I communicate and act. Those around me must think I am somewhat of a manic. Case in point...this blog post. I started this post to let you know that since starting my 101 in 1001, I've never felt more accomplished. So maybe it is a focus thing...maybe I loose focus in the winter.

I am going to stop rambling now and share with you my latest accomplishments in regards to my
101 in 1001. P.S. I'd love to hear how yours is coming along :)

5. Read 10 books in 10 consecutive weeks (4/10)

So on Friday December 26th I started reading Twilight. (Yes, that is the book about the vampire that all the 12 year old girls are going gaga after.) So, I am ashamed and proud (there is that confusion thing again) to admit that I couldn't put it down. In fact, I finished it by 4pm on the 26th and went right out to the bookstore and bought new moon and eclipse. Well by January 3rd, I had finished the whole series. That's 4 books in 8 days.

Since finishing the Twilight series, I have started reading the Sookie Stackhouse books and Shock Doctrine. I've also bought The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty and Islands of the Blue Dolphins.

Note to Self: After I finish my Productive Time of Year Series I should write some book reviews.

Friend or Foe?

So tell me...do you come in peace? Or are you on some sort of reconnaissance mission?

Yes, I mean you.


P.S. I don't bite. Well maybe a little. ;)