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iBlog The magazine for women influencers

Special Feature

THE 2016 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE ISSUE 40 PAGES OF THE HOTTEST HOLIDAY GIFTS OF THE YEAR

BEST 5 OF 2016 SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT TOOLS

17 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR FACEBOOK LIVE BROADCASTS

Holiday Recipes

November/December 16 Join over 200,000 influencers that read iBlog magazine!

Eight amazing recipes by top influencers your family will love!


Use our Gift Guides all year round for content inspiration or to find new Merchant Programs to partner with.

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CONTENTS 10 17 FB LIVE BROADCASTING TIPS Improve your Facebook Live broadcasts with these ideas

12 HOW TO GROW YOUR EMAIL LIST Use social media to grow your email subscriber list

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14 AFFILIATE MARKETING EVENTS How to use events to build relationships that boost business

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16 7 PROFITABLE SOCIAL MEDIA HABITS These habits are critical to profiting from social media

­— HOW TO —

MATCH TRAVEL INFLUENCERS WITH YOUR BRAND

42 WHY BLACK FRIDAY MATTERS Black Friday can benefit bloggers in many unexpected ways

Business

Dropbox

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Social Media Management

44

Why Women Do More With Less Organize Instagrams on Dropbox Female entrepreneurs have unique perspectives This platform is more versatile than you might when it comes to business motivation think, and a great place for photos 4

iBlog magazine NOV/DEC 2016

46 5 Best Management Tools G2Crowd surveys real users and puts social media management tools to the test


Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Holiday gift ideas 20

For Her

33

Tech For Home

22

Fashion

34

For Techy

24

Beauty & Health

35

For Photographer

26

Holiday Treats

36

For Pets

28

For The Cook

37

Toys For All Ages

30

Home & Decor

38

For School-Aged

32

Home Appliances

39

For Baby

Holiday Recipes Special showcase for foodies!

48 image by Rachel Matthews, A Southern Fairytale

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Potato & Chorizo Bites

48

Sweet & Garlicky Prime Rib

49

Triple Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

49

Cheesy Jalapeno Corn Casserole

50

Molasses Spice Crinkle Cookies

50

Chocolate Peppermint Marshmallow Pops

51

Brown Butter Madeleines

51

Perfect Pie Crust


The Holiday Gift Guide

W

hen you're ready to take a break from reaching new goals with your blogging business, turn to our exciting annual Holiday Gift Guide! Our team has cultivated the absolute best gifts for the holiday season, so be prepared to find many Pinterest-worthy gifts. We hope you enjoy this fun sneak peek in our magazine. Also be sure to check out iBlog’s official 2016 Holiday Gift Guide digital magazine with over 80 pages of gifts in even more categories for your holiday shopping needs!

Meet the iBlog magazine team.

While trying to stay on top of such a busy time of year, be sure to check out how you can organize Instagram photos on Dropbox. A great place for photos, this platform can do more for you than meets the eye. This is also a great time of year to tackle your email list (holiday printables anyone?) so be sure to read about how to grow your list. While the end of the year can bring stress and chaos, our goal is to bring you tools and resources to help you succeed. We hope this issue helps you tackle everything from holiday gifts to your blogging goals.

Check out the industry's largest Holiday Gift Guide by iBlog. Contact us. Advertising inquiries:

market@iBlogmagazine.com 813-551-0007

Matt Cherry

Founder & Publisher @iBlogmag

Ashley Abele

Operations Mgr & Editor @AshleyNAbele

Christine Crowell VP Marketing

iBlog magazine Corp. Office: 231 N. Tennessee Ave. Lakeland, FL 33801

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memberships@iBlogmagazine.com

Writing & Editorial inquiries: editor@iBlogmagazine.com

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Graphic Designer

Created in the USA, Copyright Š 2016 by iTell Ventures, Inc. All rights reserved. iBlog magazine is published monthly except for combined July/August and November/December issues, by iTell Ventures, Inc. 231 N. Tennessee Ave., Lakeland, FL 33801. Address all subscription correspondences to subscription@iblogmagazine.com. To change or update your email please visit your membership account at iBlogmagzine.com. Material in this publication must not be stored or reproduced in any form without permission.

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iBlog magazine NOV/DEC 2016


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Why Women Entrepreneurs

DO MORE WITH LESS

I

’ve had the pleasure of working alongside many amazingly successful women entrepreneurs over the years. In many cases, these are woman who have found ways to seamlessly balance their work and personal lives, remain strong in the face of incredible challenges, and compete against even the toughest competitors. I’ve thought a lot about how these amazing women have managed to succeed in spite of all the obvious roadblocks they’ve faced. And one of the traits or abilities that comes to mind again and again is this: these are women who are able to do more with less. I’ve found this trait manifests itself in two primary ways: being more efficient and productive with less time, and needing

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less money/funding to start or grow their businesses. Research seems to back this up. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, last year, female entrepreneurs needed only half as much money to start their business as their male counterparts. While the typical woman invested $10,000 to get her business of the ground, male entrepreneurs invested an average of $20,000. Perhaps it’s partly because of their upbringing, or maybe it’s because of a tenacity that’s just part of who they are. More likely, though, it’s a skill they’ve developed due to the expectations and responsibilities they’ve dealt with over the years. This article takes a sneak peak at some of the reasons why many women entrepreneurs are able to do more with less.


Women tend to start businesses later in life than their male counterparts Research suggests that women ages of 35-44 are most likely to launch a business, whereas men have fairly consistent level of entrepreneurship throughout all their working years. Presumably, this trend is largely due to many women choosing to stay home and raise families in their 20’s and early 30’s. They may have trained for a particular career prior to their family commitments, but after raising a family, are now ready to get back out into the workforce, or to find/create a job that allows a better work/life balance. But why does this necessarily mean female entrepreneurs “do more with less”? One reason may be that women in this age group likely still have children at home. They have oftentimes been the primary caregiver, and are unwilling to sacrifice this role simply because they’ve started a business. These are women who have less time overall, but who still have a fierce determination to start and grow a business. They may have less time to commit to their business, but they make it work by being ruthless in how they manage their time.

Society still expects women to “do it all” It’s not only internal drive and determination that leads female entrepreneurs to balance their time so effectively. As much as we may not want to admit it, often society still tends to expect women to “do it all”: to be the primary caregiver, to manage the household, to be successful in their business or career, and to do it all with grace. Despite all the talk about gender equality and sharing responsibilities within the home, the statistics are clear: women still do far more work within the home than men. While 85% of women report spending some time on household activities each day, only 67% of men say the same. Granted this has come a long way in the right direction! This can put an extraordinary amount of pressure on female entrepreneurs, especially those who are dedicated to raising a family. Yet, perhaps because of this challenge, many women entrepreneurs step up to the plate and become masters of managing their time – even when they’re being pulled in many directions all at once.

Women tend to minimize their business success, so they may push harder than they need to According to research from The Centre For Entrepreneurship and Barclay’s Bank, 62% of male entrepreneurs say their business is currently successful, compared to just 42% of women who believe their business is prospering. While this would make sense if these statistics matched the financial reality, the opposite is true. In the same survey women reported higher profits than their male counterparts.

In other words, female entrepreneurs – even those who are more financially successful than male business owners – are more likely to minimize their business success. I believe this is a major impetus for female entrepreneurs to keep pushing, keep working long hours, and to never give up, all in an attempt to achieve business success…even after they’ve already achieved it.

Women are more likely to start a business out of necessity, resulting in a “do or die” attitude toward entrepreneurship It’s widely recognized that entrepreneurs start a business with two distinct motivations: either out of necessity (because they need to, usually due to being unable to make a living), or out of opportunity (to take advantage of a business opportunity). The first, was certainly my driving force when I started my business, oh so many years ago. Desperation can breed great things! Several studies seem to indicate that women are more likely than men to start a business out of necessity. As mentioned previously, this could be because women are more likely to start a business later in life. Many female entrepreneurs I’ve spoken with share a similar story. They raised families, and now their income was needed, either to supplement family income or single-handedly support themselves and/or their families. However, their priorities had changed, and their previous careers were no longer a good fit; either due to financial limitations or a poor work/life balance. These women tend to approach entrepreneurship with determination and steely resolve: they need to make this business work, for their own sake and for that of their families. There is no other option but to succeed…even given the limited time and financial resources they have to work with.

Final thoughts Women entrepreneurs face challenges that threaten to seriously undermine their business goals. In spite of these challenges—or maybe because of them—female entrepreneurs continue to surprise and inspire us, starting and growing their businesses with less time and money and fewer resources. This makes me proud of these woman and proud to call myself a woman entrepreneur!

Kim Garst

www.kimgarst.com Instagram: kimgarst

BUSINESS


Facebook

17 tips

TO IMPROVE YOUR

FACEBOOK LIVE BROADCASTS

L

ive video broadcasting used to be available only to the big players. Not anymore, with the likes of Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook’s Facebook Live. From your smartphone or computer you can broadcast live from your home or office, and potentially reach millions of people round the world instantly! So, how can you take it to the next level?

#1 Broadcast to Yourself

Broadcasting live can be scary and things can go wrong, so test it by just sharing to yourself You can set the privacy settings to “only me” when you broadcast to your Facebook profile. Open up the Facebook app on your mobile device, click the “Go Live” button and set the privacy settings to “only me.” No one will watch the broadcast, but when you’ve finished you can go to your profile and watch the replay.

#2 Check your upload speed

A good internet upload speed will always improve your video quality. If you’re at home or in the office, you can check your upload speed from your computer—just visit speedtest. net. There’s also an app to check from your smartphone. Upload speeds of 3 Mbps and up are great! If you have 1 or 2 Mbps upload speed, you’ll probably be ok, although the image may pixelate or become choppy. Unfortunately, you’ll struggle if you have under 1 Mbps upload speed.

#3 Embrace fear / just do it

You’ll probably get nervous before you go live the first time. This is normal and can actually be a good thing. Remember, things won’t be perfect. This is one of the reasons people love live broadcasts—the chance things will go wrong.

#4 Keep it Short

Be respectful of everyone’s time and aim to keep your broadcast to 3-5 minutes. 10

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I have seen live broadcasts that last over an hour (and even longer) but they take a lot of work and practice. Depending on your strategy, it’s better to do a shorter broadcast more often, than one long broadcast once every blue moon.

#5 Have a structure

Be aware that it takes time for people to find out you are broadcasting live and tune in. Also be aware that this video will end up being posted to your profile, page or group and you don’t want lots of silence or fluff at the start for replay viewers. As soon as you start broadcasting, I recommend saying “hello” to your replay visitors (your live viewers are unlikely to join straight away). Say what you are going to talk about. Then when your first viewers come in, feel free to say hello to them by name as they join. Do ask your viewers to share the broadcast. This will greatly increase your reach and expand the number of people watching your broadcast. You can mention that you might not be able to follow all the comments in the broadcast, but that you’ll respond to everyone after the broadcast. Don’t spend too long greeting people—remember your replay audience—they will get bored if you greet everyone! Now you’re ready to get to your main segment. Repeat your live video title and get on with it! Once you’re ready to finish, thank everyone for listening. You can remind people that you’ll respond to comments and to keep them coming. Finally say goodbye and wait another 5 seconds. This is important! There is often a lag, and if you don’t wait, the broadcast can end part way through your last sentence!

#6 Plan, plan and plan

Don’t just click the live button without planning. I recommend planning 3 points to discuss in your broadcast.

“Make a list of goals you want to achieve and come up with ideas for your live videos that align with those goals.” If you’re demonstrating a product or service, make sure it works and practice recording it. If you’re giving a tour of your office or a particular place, make sure everyone knows you are going to be broadcasting and do a test run.

#7 Be spontaneous

Although I say plan, you can be spontaneous sometimes! Be creative and embrace your humanity and make mistakes. Often this is best once you’ve practiced live broadcasts more.

#8 Craft your Live posts

Facebook Live isn’t just about the live video. You also get to announce your broadcast with a status update. Although you can edit this later, it’s best to come up with a short snappy headline that sums up what you intend to talk about. Underneath the headline, you can add a more detailed description and even mention other people or pages if you’re going to be referring to them in your broadcast. Finally don’t forget to categorize your broadcast with relevant hashtags if it makes sense.

#9 Have a Strategy

There are plenty of solid business reasons why using Facebook Live to broadcast to your audience is so powerful. It could be to connect with your audience and give them compelling behind-the-scenes content or special offers, or a way to reach your Facebook fans more quickly and effectively. Make a list of the goals you want


to achieve and then come up with a list of ideas for your live videos that align with those ideas. Whatever the reasons, make sure craft your live videos that helps you achieve your goals.

#10 Be frequent and consistent

The only way to improve the quality of your broadcasts is to keep on doing them. You’ll make lots of mistakes, but the more you do them, the better you’ll get. The more you do them, the more visible you and your brand will be to your audience. At first, you may not have that many live viewers. However, over time more people will notice you are producing these live videos and your viewership will increase.

#11 Work out the best time

At the start, try broadcasting at different times of the day to work out what is best for your audience. Think about what your audience will likely be doing at the time of your broadcast. You may need to think about time zones too.

#12 Be Evergreen

Your Facebook Live videos are evergreen content! The videos will become permanent posts on your profile, page or group timeline. You can edit your posts and add more information on what you discussed in the broadcast. This includes mentioning other pages and profiles. Not all viewers will see your broadcasts live. Most of the time, there will be many more viewers watching the replay. Make the video relevant and more powerful to replay viewers as well.

#13 Don’t forget comments

One of the most powerful parts of a live broadcast is the way people can interact with you. People love it when you mention them and interact live on air! Keep following the comments and interact with them at the start of the broadcast. Resist the temptation to reply to each comment as it comes in, but respond to it (if it makes sense to do so) once you’ve finished each point. Once your broadcast has ended, plan some time to respond to each comment in text. Some of my early Facebook Live broadcasts still get replies today—so keep responding to them.

#14 Audio Matters

We tend to think video quality is everything, but actually people can forgive bad video if the audio is excellent. Broadcast in a quiet area. Even better, invest in a lapel or handheld microphone for your smartphone. An external microphone can greatly improve the audio quality of your live broadcasts.

#15 Be creative with lenses

Why not purchase a wide angle, fish eye or specialty lens for your smartphone camera and

“Although I say plan, you can be spontaneous! Be creative, be fun and embrace your humanity and make mistakes. This is best once you’ve practiced.” make your live videos more interesting? Wide angle and fish eye lenses get more of your background into the video.

#16 Stands and Selfie Sticks

You can make your broadcasts more professional by using a selfie stick (more space and stability) or a smartphone holder or stabilizer. Using one of these devices will greatly increase the stability and quality of your videos and give you more flexibility—particularly if you are giving a behind the scenes tour.

You can use your webcam (and set up multiple webcams too), share your screen and desktop apps and add extra videos and music. You can broadcast from your computer and stream in the usual way to your page, profile or group and create some professional content such as how to videos, webinars, shows, interviews and much more.

#17 Broadcast via computer

Finally, why not take things to the next level and start broadcasting from your computer?

Ian Anderson Gray iag.me @iagdotme

FACEBOOK


HOW TO GROW YOUR EMAIL LIST Using Social Media

I

have been blogging for almost 4 years now and the one big regret I have is that I didn’t focus on building my list earlier. It wasn’t that I didn’t have a list. I did. But it was really small and I didn’t discourage signups, but I certainly didn’t encourage them and I didn’t have a good capture technique. Obviously, I learned my lesson and focused on building my list. But I was definitely behind on all the momentum I could have had. Lesson learned! So, if you have wanted to grow your email list, I want to make sure you have the resources to do so. I’m going to share with you my best tips for ways to use social media to grow your email list. Now, to be fair, having a free resource or download or opt-in product is going to be a big help. Having your website set up with landing pages and signup forms is going to be necessary. I’m not covering these things here—that’s too much for one blog post. This is only how you can use social media to drive the traffic to those resources as a means to grow your email list.

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Cover Photos This is one of my most favorite ways to build your list. You can use this method on any platform that allows a cover photo (or banner image) but it’s most impactful on Facebook because the photo can be much more interactive. You can put the message and call to action for opt-ins right in your image and encourage that action to sign up. Or, you can include your details and call to action in the caption of the photo so that when people click on the photo, they get all

the info and the link to click through. The great thing about cover photos is the ability to be creative and to express your brand style, all while driving more results for your business! Whether you use text, arrows, “buttons”, or any other features in your cover photos, find ways to let people know that you have something they want. Encourage them to follow through and sign up as a means to grow your email list.

Call to Action Button This is prominent on Facebook business profiles. Twitter lead generation cards have CTA buttons. Instagram ads have big ol’ CTA buttons (when set up properly). If there is an option to add a call to action button on your posts or profile—DO IT!


These buttons often make it easier for everyone involved. It’s a clear option for your audience and the flow is usually streamlined to make their completion smoother. And they usually save you having to do extra work with set up and formatting so that you can focus your time in better ways. When possible, or when it makes sense, have this CTA button lead to an opt-in page or form on your website so that you’re actually collecting emails quickly and efficiently.

Host a Contest or Giveaway

Promotional Posts Promo posts can be regular organic posts, or they can be ads that you run. The purpose is the same—reach targeted audiences and grow your list! A good promo post offers something of value for the audience so that they are willing to exchange their email for the great resource. You could be providing anything from a video or video series, an ebook, a webinar, a checklist, a quiz, or anything you else you’ve come up with. But make sure you consider the platform you’re using to promote your promo and keep the language and content relevant to that platform. An added bonus is if you can schedule these promotional posts to go out to your social media profiles. Spend a few hours set-

ting up your post scheduling and then you’re set for the next month or so with automated content being pushed out to grow your list.

Live Videos Right now, live video is a huge impact and value-added tactic for social media. It may a Periscope video or a Facebook Live video, or even still a Google Hangout. Either way, you have an audience listening to you and watching you live. Ensure that every time you’re hosting a live video, you are including a call to action (multiple times if possible) to head over to your site and sign up. Again, it could by any variety of items you’re offering them but you want to convert those live viewers into action takers and build your list.

If you set up your contest to require an email entry, this is a really effective way to grow your list. Offer a valuable prize, set up the page on your website to cover all the contest information and entry form, and then promote this all over social media. Provide the link to your website page, use beautiful images (or videos) of the prize to be awarded, and then you can let people know how they can enter. When permitted by social media rules (some platforms are more conducive to this that others), encourage participants to invite others or tag friends on your post comments in order to help you get exponential reach and a greater number of entries.

Get Creative Sometimes, doing something completely new and random can be the biggest conversion. Post a video blooper reel with a call to action for viewers to sign up in order to see the full videos. Offer behindthe-scenes or pre-launch access to a limited number of people who sign up. Ask people in your LinkedIn group or small community to share your blog posts or promotions. Use the tools you have and the fun ideas in your mind to find ways to stimulate your audience into signing up for your list.

Jenn Herman

www.jennstrends.com Instagram: jenns_trends

EMAIL MARKETING


BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS Through Affiliate Marketing Events

A

t the time of our first event in 2004, Affiliate Marketing was still a new and emerging channel. Our CEO and GM attended the very first Affiliate Summit aboard a Carnival cruise ship for a five day cruise from New York City to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We had been in business for four years and this was a great opportunity to put a face to the other players in the space. When Affiliate Summit put this cruise together, I believe it was the first and only event of its kind. So everyone was really excited to participate to be able to have personal face-to-face conversations about this new advertising channel. Since all of our business was and is still primarily done online, there is not a price you can put on making a human connection and talking to your partners in-person.

“DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPACT YOUR UNIQUE TALENTS OR INTERESTS MAY HAVE ON OTHERS WHEN MAKING AN INTRODUCTION.” 14

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The Value of Interaction In the beginning, ShareASale participated in conferences as an attendee rather than an exhibitor. During that Affiliate Summing aboard the cruise in 2004, our CEO had the opportunity to take over a piano that was on deck. A group of people just organically gathered around as he entertained the guests with an impromptu sing-a-long. This random turn of events and unique talent that Brian has, make a big impact. I remember one now client relying to me that at the time she thought, “I don’t know who this guy is or what he does, but I want to do business with them!” Point is, don’t underestimate the impact that your unique talents or interests may have on others when making an introduction. The very things that make you uniquely you are what help others to remember their interaction with you, and likewise, how you will remember them! In 2006 I attended my first Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas with ShareASale. This was also the first year we hosted a party, while at the conference, in order to gain a bit more visibility. We quickly realized how much added value there was when we were able to essentially multiply our manpower and outreach by adding more conference visibility. So, just like that, we started to take advantage of conference sponsorship opportunities. When the partnership is right, we find sponsorships to be immensely valuable. In addition to the added visibility we receive on the exhibit floor, we really appreciate the opportunity to present or lead a session.


“WE REALIZED HOW MUCH ADDED VALUE THERE WAS WHEN WE WERE ABLE TO MULTIPLY OUR MANPOWER AND OUTREACH.” Primarily our interest here is not to hard-sell our business. But rather, we want to be an ambassador for Affiliate Marketing. Some tactics we have found to be effective in helping Bloggers learn more about how to leverage Affiliate Marketing are one-on-one consultations. Our Blogger Liaison will personally review the Blogger’s website and provide feedback on where and how they could use Affiliate Marketing in their sites to better monetize. We will also provide Merchant recommendations based on each individual Blog. We also come to each conference with a variety of resources and materials that can be reviewed and referenced after the fact.

Hosting Events Each year, we host our own Think Tank. We also participate in about a dozen other industry related events throughout the year including those specific to Affiliate Marketing, ecommerce, digital marketing, and blogging. The information for registration to Think Tank is posted on our blog at blog.ShareASale.com. Or, as the event nears, agenda and registration information will be posted to ShareASale.com/thinktank. For Think Tank, we typically try to offset as much of the cost as possible so that this can be a very affordable event for Bloggers. We want to make a low barrier to entry so the Bloggers can really get the most out of the event without worrying about budgetary constraints.

Building Relationships to Help Grow Business One of the biggest differentiators would probably be the way we design the event agenda. It is 100% focused on making connections, building relationships, and helping to grow business for all attendees. We do this in a few ways. First, we keep the attendee list pretty limited for Think Tank by design. This allows us to have functions that let all the attendees genuinely get to know each other and make meaningful connections. Also, the size gives it a more intimate feel so it is easier for attendees to break the ice and strike up conversation. Second, we try to keep Think Tank very affordable for Bloggers. Think Tank 2016, for example, was $100 to register. 50% of that registration fee was refunded once the Blogger checked in! Thank Tank 2016 also featured a new initiative where the Bloggers had a chance to earn prizes from Retailers by participating in an auction-like event where the “bids” were activity commitments. So affordable AND

there was also the chance to win great prizes! Third, a large part of the agenda of Think Tank is focused on setting up one-on-one meetings between the Blogger and the Retailers. This helps to ensure that the Blogger is able to make that personal connection and find the representative for the brand they most wanted to speak with. Finally, we do offer educational sessions as well, but we survey the attendees ahead of time. Based off the responses and preferences outlined in the survey results, we craft the sessions accordingly. We also always include a “Things we need to fix” session at the end of the conference. This is an opportunity for our CEO to be in the hot seat and take any questions, concerns, and kindly worded complaints that our clients have about the platform. There is no better way to improve your product than by asking the clients directly!

Reaching Goals Our whole goal and mission with Think Tank is to make it possible for every Blogger and Merchant to have the chance to connect and find ways to do business together in the future. We find that with this as our primary focus, it makes the event the most successful for everyone and is incredibly rewarding for us to see on a personal level. This is why we continue to bring Think Tank back each year. From a Blogger perspective, the biggest game changer can be just meeting the Affiliate Program Managers in person. Brand contacts may change over time, but if you are able to connect with the manager, they will likely be able to provide you with VIP perks that are not available to all members of the program. They can also give the Blogger insider information about what’s going on and coming up for the brand. This could include insight on new product releases or best sellers. Having that kind of information from the brand can be a game changer for Bloggers in helping them to know when and what to focus on in their posts.

AUTHOR: SARAH BEESKOW BLAY, DIRECTOR OF CLIENT SERVICES • WWW.SHAREASALE.COM ShareASale is an Affiliate Marketing Network whose technology receives accolades for speed, efficiency, and accuracy. Our objective is to provide customers with an advanced Affiliate Marketing platform.


7 Critical Habits w Social

for Profiting from Social Media ho said you can profit from social media? I thought it was all about engagement .... I can show you many graphs that show that more people are creating content than ever before and that more people are engaging in social media channels. So, social media is growing… and yes, it’s a very important part of your business. But… that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to get a return on investment for the time you put in. So, what do you need to be doing consistently to get a return from all your time investment? Here’s 7 things to start with.

1. CREATE INSANELY USEFUL CONTENT OR STEP IT UP WITH ‘YOUTILITY’ Imagine you are a financial advisor and you start blogging. The reason you are blogging is because you are told that you have to blog! So you create a 300-word post that is not particularly valuable and check that task off your list. Someone is searching for financial advice and searches Google. They come across your article, which they are totally unimpressed with, so they go back to Google. Do you think they’ll ever do business with you in the future? Maybe … but only if they don’t remember who created the article in the first place! If you want to generate ROI from social

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media, the starting point is great content. Your really do have to have content that is amazingly useful. Insanely useful content Foundrmag is a digital magazine for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. Earlier this year, they did a big launch and sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of a training course. They then wrote a blog post that’s over 4,000 words long and stepped through exactly how they did it. The content is so useful that any entrepreneur reading it will want to follow them. Creating a Youtility Jay Baer is one of the smartest marketing professionals I know and, a couple of years ago, he wrote about companies that are standing out with their content by providing Youtilities.

This is providing something that is extremely useful for their customers and, a lot of the time, this is through delivering a free product. So that’s the other extreme, where you provide something so valuable to people that want to pay for it. What about providing something that is better than just an article but not as comprehensive as an app? For example, providing an assessment tool for your finances. These assessment tools can easily be created with apps that are already available on the market place. So create quality blog posts but also think about other types of content that your competitors are not producing. This will attract your ideal audience, which leads to more opportunity for sales.


2. SHARE GREAT CONTENT OFTEN

“If you want to generate ROI from social media, the starting point is great content.”

Evergreen content is content that doesn’t go out of date. Maybe you wrote a great piece of content a year ago that’s still valid today… but you’re not sharing it regularly. The problem with social media channels is that the vast majority of your audience does not see your content. Twitter shows all content to everyone, which means there’s too much content so people don’t see most of it. Facebook filters out content and only shows your content to a small percentage of fans and there are similar problems on other channels. Also, your audience should be growing all the time so you have new people following you who have never seen your great content. Create less content but make it higher quality and promote it more. You will attract more of the audience you want with content that is relevant to your target audience and that impresses them.

3. TRACK YOUR RESULTS When you share content, do you track what traffic you get to your website from it? This is not always trackable but do it when you can. You want to see what traffic is generated and its results. Curata found that their long-form content was producing three times the number of shares, eight times the number of page views and five times the revenue generated! The free approach to tracking info like this is setting up goals in Google Analytics. Or use tools like SEOmonitor or Scoopit Content Director.

4. ALTER YOUR STRATEGIC APPROACH TO DRIVING MORE TRAFFIC When you set a goal, are you more or less likely to achieve it? When you do some analysis of your content, you are going to want to see what content is driving traffic and what’s driving

results. You then need to figure out how you can generate more of this traffic. Here are a few ways you can do that: a) Re-share that content more often on social media channels b) Create more of that type of content c) Focus on getting more links to that content to help it rank organically in Google.

5. HAVE AN END-TO-END PROCESS Social media is great for building awareness and building relationships with relevant people but that’s not where sales happen. You need to build an end-to-end process that starts with a message shared on social channels. How does someone go from an update all the way through to a sale? Once you map out that process, it’s going to be easier to improve it.

6. DON’T AVOID INFLUENCERS There are many influencers in your industry. They could be thought leaders, journalists, top bloggers or many more. These people have access to the audiences you want. Without an strategy, you will not get the benefit of working with these influencers. You need to identify the influencers, build a list and start building relationships.

7. ALLOCATE TIME TO LEARNING If you’re not learning, then you’re probably not growing. Everything is always changing, which means that if you’re standing still then you’re actually moving backwards.

SUMMARY By committing time and energy to creating a great framework, your return on investment and success is going to improve. Avoid the bad habits and build a system that works for you. It will be worth it!

Ian Cleary

razorsocial.com/profit-social-media

SOCIAL


iBLOG MAGAZINE

Holiday Gift Guide 2016

T

he year 2016 is rapidly coming to a close, which also means it is time for the annual iBlog Holiday Gift Guide! We know how much time it takes scouring the internet and stores for the perfect gifts for the many people you need to shop for each year. Our team has cultivated the absolute best gifts for the holiday season, so be prepared to find Pinterest-worthy gifts for everyone your list! Browse the latest in all different kinds of categories like Toys for All Ages to snag a beginner’s

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guitar and Tech for Home to find an awesome home cinema projector for the tech-lover in your life. Check out the fish-friendly Hotel Aquarium and the deluxe Minecraft sword for the kids in your life. The iBlog Holiday Gift Guide has something for everyone and we can’t wait to see you share your favorites. We hope you enjoy this fun sneak peek in our magazine. Also be sure to take check out iBlog’s official 2016 Holiday Gift Guide digital magazine with over 80 pages of gifts for everyone in the family!


for her C

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A. Scrappy Little Nobody • Anna Kendrick • $26.99 A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by Anna Kendrick, the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect. B. Makeup Eye Brush Set • Lamora Beauty • $11.95 Set of 7 professional quality synthetic Watch eye brushes. applying, shading, and blending a variety of beauty products. C. Horned Owl Socks • The forPerfect thisforsymbol Sock Drawer • $7.50 With an attitude that says “hoo cares, it’s only fashion...” these horned owls will effortlessly up your fashion game in watch sample of our • $21.95 Combats breakouts, blackheads, and oily skin; pulls out three glowing colors. D.to Dead Sea Mud Mask 12 videos oz • Raw Apothecary unwanted toxins, excess oil, and impurities. E. Indian Sun Decal for Macbook • KWMobile • $9.90 Intricately detailed decal sticker fits featured influencer's reviews. Macbook Air 13” adds a fashionable flair while simultaneously protecting your device against dirt and scratches. Comes in multiple colors. Water and oil repellent. Easy to apply and easy to remove. 20

iBlog magazine NOV/DEC 2016


for her D B

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A. iPhone 7 Case • Caseology - $24.99 The three-dimensional pattern with a soothing texture provides a secure, comfortable grip while TPU sleeve and polycarbonate bumper keep your phone safe from falls B. Posh Stud Earrings • Danielle Nicole • $34 Earrings contain natural stones for a fashionable, earthy look. Imported. C. Floral Watch • FreeForme • $9.95 A watch with a very feminine touch, made from quality synthetic leather, Japan quartz movement, stainless steel back, and metal case. Made to order. Select your preferred band and metal colors and choose from a variety of face designs. D. Spa Tower • Waxing Kara • $48 Inside the five glass jars stacked in the tower you’ll find a honey scrub, soak, mask, honey body butter, and fragrant candle that all work together to transform your humble bathroom into a soothing Eastern Shore spa retreat. Handmade in Maryland. E. Private Show Women’s Perfume • Britney Spears • $32 Transport yourself to a place of perfection with this perfume, which features hints of sweet dulce de leche and nectarines.

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016


fashion A B

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E C

A. Open Hinge Purple Cuff Bracelet • Kate Spade New York • $168 Swarovski stone, glass stone, gold plated metal, imported and handmade. B. Degrade Check Oblong Scarf • Marc Jacobs • $125 A soft, imported accessory made of 30 percent silk and 70 percent modal for a splash of fashionable color with comfortable elegance. C. Asymmetric Hem Split Wrap Sweater • CupShe • $26.99 This asymmetric knit with buttons is a must-have for a style that is both fashionable and casual. D. Erika Wayfarer Sunglasses • Ray-Ban • $140 Imported resin frames with coated, 54-millimeter non-polarized synthetic lenses that provide 100 percent UV protection. E. Suede Whipstitch Clutch • Milly Astor • $315 This one hundred percent leather clutch comes with magnetic snap closure and a 23.5inch shoulder drop on a detachable cross body strap, and measures 7.5 inches high and 11 inches wide, fearing one interior zip pocket as well as one open side pocket, and beautiful details along its seams. 22

iBlog magazine NOV/DEC 2016


fashion A

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C D

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A. Happy Future Pendant Necklace • $58 Gift-ready necklace in "Happy Future" card featuring petite golden paper crane charm at center with an 18-inch cable chain and spring-ring clasp. The crane is a symbol of long life, prosperity and luck; wear your necklace as a reminder of all the happiness coming your way. B. Women’s Fawn Pump • SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker • $350 Chic four-inch pumps feature a pointed toe, sculpted heel, leather sole, and a contrast stripe. C. Boyfriend Sport Leather Chronograph • Fossil • $155 This quartz collection piece features original Boyfriend movement and a 38 mm leather strap. It’s also water resistant. D. Swarovski Crystal Button Stud Earrings • $30 Gorgeous post earrings are made of 14k yellow gold with Swarovski crystal embellishments and contain friction-back findings. E. Braided Vachetta Belt • Ralph Lauren $44.99 A single piece of vachetta leather is cut into three strips and then braided to give this casual belt its timeless texture.

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016


beauty & health A

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B

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A. Salon Shape 1.5 Inch Hot Air Brush • John Frieda • $39.99 Advanced ionic technology provides up to 50 percent more ions. Brush has 2 heat settings, plus a cool setting and contains titanium a ceramic-coated barrel and swivel cord. B. Skin Smoothing Cream • Dermalogica • $46 Helps smooth and improve skin texture while antioxidants help reduce free radical activity; promotes healing and helps prevent the appearance of dehydration lines while containing no artificial fragrance or color. C. Herbal Warming Scarf • $29.95 Enjoy the therapeutic benefits of heat and aromatherapy. Designed to hug your neck and shoulders, this cozy wrap is stuffed with a melange of flax seed, grains, and fragrant herbs. D. Arabica Coffee Scrub • First Botany Cosmeceuticals • $14.50 We combine best quality of organic coffee grounds with moisturizing, skin-soothing organic coconut oil and dead sea salt for an extra exfoliating kick. E. Tea Tree Oil • Pure Body Naturals • $10.95 This oil is one hundred percent pure, natural, and authentic, distilled without any fillers or additives. 24

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beauty &health A

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A. Eye Growth Serum • Art Naturals • $30 Experience thicker, fuller, stronger lashes without irritation! Natural results encourage growth, free of harmful chemicals or harsh compounds. B. Natural Silk Sleep Mask • Purefly • $7.99 Super soft sleep mask blocks light and fits comfortably with an adjustable headstrap. Lightweight for a barely-there feeling C. Lave Pumice Stone • Aisilk Earth • $7.96 This product is made of natural Egyptian volcanic pumice stone and offers a natural way to soften and remove dry, hard skin. Perfect for pedicures and regular foot maintenance. D. Ionic Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron • CHI Pro • $79.99 A versatile all-in-one ergonomic design that heats up to 392 degrees Fahrenheit. Straighten, curl, flip or style. Promotes silky shiny hair. E. Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Aging Serum • InstaNatural • $15.95The best solution to delivering instant relief to even the driest patches of skin on your face or anywhere else on your body that may require a hydrating spot treatment. With this advanced hydrating action, you’re sure to notice before-and-after results.

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016


holiday treats Primrose Baby Ribbon Hard Candy • $11.95 Since 1928 Primrose Candy has manufactured traditional Holiday Candy. Classic ribbon shape!

Ritter Sport Schokowuerfel Naps • $3.69 Celebrate the holidays with 22 mini bars of famous German chocolate.

Benevelo Nut Gift Box • $30.99 Our premium delicacies are ready to delight guests with their stylish packaging and beautiful arrangement. Chocolate, Caramel & Crunch Gift Basket $42.95 Shaped like a rowboat, this silver-plated serving bowl lends lakeside charm with its wooden oar utensils.

Broadway Basketeer’s Fresh Nut Tray • $25.95 Two pound assortment includes a heavenly mixed array of carefully selected premium nuts.

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Golden State Dried Fruit Tray • $29.95 A wonderful, healthier version of a holiday treats tray, arranged in beautiful colors.

Winter Sweets Gift Tower • $24.95 A sampling of holiday sweets nestled in a festive container to convey best wishes.

holiday treats

Archway Iced Molasses Cookies • $4.98 Bring the old holiday flavor of molasses home with these delicious iced cookies.

Hickory Farms Orchard’s Bounty Gift Box • $24.99 Enjoy the famed flavors of Hickory Farms with the rustic elegance of this gift box.

Holiday Flavors Minis Gift Bag (100 Count) $29.95 Bite-size chocolates. Share them anytime, anywhere, from parties to the office and anyplace in between!

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016


for the cook B A C

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A. Stackable Ice Tray Set • $14.99 This stackable ice cube tray makes large, whiskey-ready cubes as well as smaller cocktail rocks and more. B. Wiener Dog Oil and Vinegar Set • $30 Oil and vinegar flow through these playful glass pups and drizzle from the tips of their tails. Elegant, useful, and entertaining at the same time. C. Rub Away Bar • Amco • $7.99 Rubbing the bar removes any odor from your hands. Great for use after working with onions, fish, or garlic. D. Wooden Spoon Utensil Set • $10 Premium Bamboo kitchen tools are safe to use on hot surfaces and will not scratch non-stick surfaces. Utensils are strong, eco-friendly, biodegradable, and made from 100 percent high quality Moso bamboo. E. Nonstick All-Edge Brownie Pan • Baker’s Edge • $36 Adds two chewy edges to every brownie so that nobody has to fight over the “best” pieces. Fits standard box mixes with no adjustments necessary. Made up of a single, continuous chamber so that batter can be easily spread from one end to the other. 28

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for the cook

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C D

E

A. Bamboo Pick-Your-State Cutting & Serving Board • $20 Display to show your state pride! Ideal for food prep, serving and entertaining. Easy on knife blades. Bamboo surface is substantially stronger than hard woods and easier on the environment. B. Space Capsule Tea Infuser • $5.99 Make your tea taste out-of-this-world! Little capsule holds loose-leaf tea for brewing. Astronaut hangs onto the side of a cup or teapot for quick and easy removal. C. Garlic Rocker • $15 Rock this elegant tool back and forth and the design’s natural leverage crushes garlic cloves instantly. Perfect for a quick mince with little effort. D. Butter Sprayer • Biem • $129.99 No chemical or artificial propellants. Nozzle designed to prevent clogging. Doesn’t overheat the butter to melt and doesn’t melt the whole stick. Melts only the butter you need and tells you when to add more butter. E. Blue Mason Jar Measuring Cups • World Market • $12.99 Great for displaying on the counter when cups aren’t in use! Dishwasher safe. Ceramic. Contains 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, and 1/4 cup. Both cute and functional.

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016


home & decor B

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E A. Mango Wood Platter with Shovel Handle • $48 Bring rustic charm to the table with this farm tool-inspired server. Great for holding fruits and vegetables. B. Creative Angled Bookshelf • Silvaria • $49.10 The premium quality MoMo Bookcase by Silvaria is created from premium rubberwood—exotic and absolutely natural. C. Decorative Balls (Set of 3) • Hallmark • $7.30 Set of three 3.5-inch decorative balls, featuring painted wood chips and shavings and gold textured ribbon. Great inside a decorative bowl. Packaged in a gift box with ribbon. D. Vintage Tea Light Lanterns • Kate Aspen • $5.15 each These charming metal lanterns with distressed finish and removable lids (for easy access to tea lights) are a lovely mantel accessory. Measures 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches by 6.5 inches (with handle). E. Now is the Time Clock • $65 A beautiful timepiece with built in motivation, this handsome, minimalist clock is crafted from the finest maple wood and bears a watermark-style phrase, “Now is the time,” reminding you to seize the day—and the moment. 30

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home & decor A B

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A. Wire Storage Basket • Spectrum Diversified • $14.64 Perfect storage solution for any room in the home. Open design lets you easily view everything in the basket. The convenient label holding plate lets you easily label the basket’s content. B. Lucky Elephant Statue Pair • $19 Beautiful polyresin feng shui elephant statues—symbols of luck—add a touch of flair to your living space. C. His & Hers Arrows • $12.99 Laser cut plywood with twine for tying. These elegant signs are an elegant way to designate areas of the home, from closets to bathrooms. D. Elle Décor Magazine Subscription • Elle • $10/year Unlimited access to your favorite digital magazines. Enjoy entire issues plus digital extras—video, audio and interactive content—that bring articles to life. E. Recycled Wine Barrel Side Cabinet • $900 Made from a wine barrel, this cabinet features a storage shelf, a removable maple serving tray, and casters. Great for entertaining and serving as well as keeping books, magazines, or personal items that require a quick hiding space.

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016


home appliances A C

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A. Addwash™ High-Efficiency Front-Loading Washer • Samsung • $849.99 The AddWash feature lets you add items partway through the wash so nothing gets left behind. The Samsung front load washer’s Super Speed option cuts down on the time of each cycle. B. Breakfast Sandwich Maker • Hamilton Beach • $24.99 Ready in 5 minutes, cook delicious breakfast sandwiches in the comfort of your own home. C. AM07 Tower Fan • Dyson • $399.99 Cool the whole room with this bladeless tower fan that features high-velocity airflow. The included remote lets you control airflow settings from a distance. D. Artisan Series Tilt-Head Stand Mixer • KitchenAid • $429.99 Make your favorite appetizers, cakes, cookies and other baked goods with this versatile tilt-head stand mixer. Easily match your kitchen décor by choosing from a wide variety of colors. E. Stainless Steel Immersion Deep Fryer • T-Fal • $79.99 Powerful 1700-watt deep fryer with 3.5-liter oil capacity and 2.65-pound food capacity to offer friends and family all their favorite fried food. Stay-cool handles. 32

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tech for home A

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A. Fire Tablet • Amazon • $49.99 Enjoy millions of movies, TV shows, songs, Kindle e-books, apps and games—including Netflix, Facebook, HBO, Pandora and more, in new vibrant colors. B. Lune Light • $160 A simple tap on this luminous LED ring will transform any room with a dazzling display of colored light. Sleek modern style. C. Home Cinema Projector • Epson • $1,099 Enjoy a true cinematic experience at home with the easy–to–use, wireless Home Cinema 5030UBe. Stream Full HD 1080p content in seconds without the need for messy cables thanks to Wireless HDMI. D. All-in-One Touchscreen Desktop • Lenovo • $726 Refresh your home PC with the slim and sleek Lenovo C50 Touchscreen All-In-One. The 23” Lenovo C50 combines 4th generation Intel processor technology with excellent entertainment features and the convenience of 10-point multi-touch. E. Kevo Bluetooth Smart Lock • Kwikset • $229 Your smartphone is now your key! Get modern touch-to-open convenience with the 2nd generation Kevo.

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016


for the techy C

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A. Stainless Steel Mesh Smartwatch Band • Penom • $11.99 Top stainless steel mesh loop in an elegant silver color. Dress up your Apple Watch, fit for all 38 mm versions. B. Lightning to USB Keychain • Merkury Innovations • $19.99 Charge and sync your Apple devices in premium style. Rubberized, extra durable 3-inch Lightning-to-USB cable is built to last C. AirPods Wireless Headphones • Apple • $159 Automatically on, automatically connected, with one-tap setup for all your Apple devices. Quick access to Siri with a double-tap and more than 24-hour battery life with quick-charging charge case. Experience rich, high-quality audio and voice and seamless switching between devices. D. Indoor LED Smart Herb Garden • Click & Grow • $58.89 Grow fresh herbs at home with zero effort. No green thumb required! Contains everything you need to enjoy fresh herbs all year round in your Smart Herb Garden. E. Multicolor LED Bluetooth Smart Bulb • Lucero • $29.95 Personalize your lighting with a color palette of 16+ million colors. Dim and balance light via app. 34

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for photographer A

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A. Camera Mode Dial Cufflinks • $50 These fun and quirky cufflinks are 3/4 inch in diameter with a gunmetal-plated base and back closure. Show off your photographer style even in formal settings. B. 5-in-1 Camera Connection Kit • Apple • $39.98 This item can connect your iPad with your digital camera, PC or MAC, USB Connector, Keyboard, SD/Micro SD Card, USB Card Reader, AV and so on. Direct connect to iPhone and camera to get pictures and video. Send pictures and video to iPad through Micro SD card. C. Lomo Instant Camera • $119 This petite instant camera is loaded with features to create one-of-a-kind photos the old-fashioned way. D. Protective Wrap • Domke • $14.89 Wrap around lenses, tools, or anything else that needs protection. Bright yellow color for easy organization and quick ID. Large 19-inch square size. E. Vintage Camera Bookends • IMAX • $65.69 These stylish bookends add vintage charm to any bookshelf, with an aged, metallic finish. Each bookend features a different camera style and adds sturdy support to your book collection.

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016


for pets

B

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A. FishHotel Aquarium • Umbra • $40 Stackable aquarium with striking modern design. Glass bowl with removable ABS plastic façade and asymmetrical windows. Can stack other FishHotels for tall condo-like appearance. B. 3-Way Cat Tunnel • Prosper Pet • $20 With 3 spacious tunnels, built-in crinkle crackle paper, peephole & bell toy, this popular tunnel chute gives your kitty more ways to have fun. Provides hours of exercise & self-amusement. C. Rainbow Foam Fetch Ball (3 Pack) • Dogloveit • $8 Made with non-toxic high quality foam material, light and soft but very durable, 100 percent safe for all pets. D. Shark Cat Bed • $99 Test your cat’s fearlessness with this handmade bed, made to look like the jaws of a very hungry shark. E. Dog Calming Treats • Complete Calm • $23 A game changer! We present to you our dog calming treats that have been clinically proven to naturally aid in alleviating stress, dog separation anxiety, nervousness, stress-induced behavioral problems, and/or social anxiety. 36

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toys for all ages

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A. Razor RipStik Ripster • $39.93 Shorter than the original RipStik. High tech polymer with removable deck plates. Slip-resistant concave deck platforms and high-grade urethane wheels. Rubber padded steel torsion bar. B. Cards Against Humanity • $25 Over 13 duodecillion (13x1040) possible rounds with 6 players. Professionally printed on premium playing cards (460 white, 90 black) and includes game rules and alternate rules. C. Date Night Bucket List • $18 This kit for couples features a variety of prompts for new “date night” ideas. D. Squier Affinity Stratocaster Beginner Electric Guitar • Fender • $199.99 Alder body with gloss polyurethane finish. Maple neck with 9.5 in radius maple fingerboard with 21 medium jumbo frets, 3 single-coil pickups, and synchronous tremolo bridge. Master volume with 2 tone controls with 5 position pickup selector switch. E. Edgewood Hybrid Bike • Diamondback • $350 More efficient than your comfort bike, more comfortable than a road bike. Relaxed contact point features combined with smooth-rolling 700c wheels.

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016


for school-age

B

A

D E

C

A. Star Wars Millennium Falcon Building Kit • LEGO • A wonderful toy for young Star Wars fans! Build a smaller version of the famed Millennium Falcon with fun LEGO bricks. Complete with realistic embellishments and a secret compartment B. Barbie Careers Eye Doctor Doll and Playset • Mattel • This toy set brings everything into focus with an adorable toddler patient to examine! Place the patient in the examination chair with its vision station to get started. Signature style and realistic details. C. Minecraft Deluxe Diamond Sword • $19.99 Full-size Minecraft Deluxe Diamond Sword. Heavy-duty EVA foam and plastic details. D. LeapTV Dance and Learn Active Video Game • LeapFrog • $10.97 Puts your child in the game with body motion for countless hours of dancing fun. The educator-approved game is designed by LeapFrog learning experts. E. Dragons Love Tacos Hardcover Story Book • Adam Rubin • $10.62 A New York Times bestselling phenomenon, this deliciously funny read-aloud will make you laugh until spicy salsa comes out of your nose. 38

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for baby

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B

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E

D

A. Sloth Pals Mobile • $50 As soft as it is seriously sweet, this mobile brings a lazy touch of storybook style to your little one’s nursery. Bright and cheerful, each figure is hand knit by Peruvian artisans. Handmade in Peru. B. Medical Forehead and Ear Thermometer • $33.20 Clinical Thermometer. Unmatched performance with revolutionized calibration technology. Calibrated for medical use. Delivers temperature readings with unfailing accuracy and speed. C. Mustachifier • $10 These hirsute pacifiers will quell a wail while giving new parents a much-needed chuckle. D. Happy Mat • ezpz • $22.99 One-piece silicone placemat suctions to the table to reduce tipped bowls and plates. Easy to clean with warm soapy water or in the dishwasher. Perfect for mealtime with infants and toddlers 6+ months. Made of 100 percent food grade silicone. E. Star LED Projector Baby Night Light • InnooLight • $8.99 Sooth baby with four LED Beads of warm light, blue light, green light and red light flicker in multi-color light mode. Projects floating star shapes throughout room.

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016


HOW TO

Match Travel Influencers With Your Brand AN INTERVIEW WITH HIGH PROFILE TRAVEL BLOGGERS

L

et’s say you have a product that is ideal for travel ... hiking boots, maybe, or one of those folding toothbrushes, a pair of awesome hiking pants or the most durable suitcase in the world. You want everyone to see it in action, watch it hit the road, and also be able to get honest and genuine feedback

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from the influencers who are both using and showcasing it. In short, you need travel influencers. Who better to tell your brand’s story than an influential traveling power couple who can write and take great photos and showcase that toothbrush to thousands of followers that have grown to trust them? Well, these people do exist.


Travel Bloggers With a Ton to Share with Brands Meet Hannah and Adam from gettingstamped.com: two thirty-somethings that busted out of the corporate world and decided to travel the globe, all while writing about and photographing everything they see, do and use. Over 100,000 people see where they go, what they pack and how they use it every day. Smart marketers are probably thinking that they want the chance to showcase your brand in such an authentic and organic experience? We recently talked to Adam, of Getting Stamped, and he told us exactly how to do it.

Choosing Products for Authentic Fit As with all types of influencer marketing, being authentic and complementary are key components. If it isn’t something they would use, forget it. And think about it, unless a blogger is a true brand fan, it’s not a post that would do your brand any good anyways. Bottom line, always use authentic brand fits as your first filter when vetting. Adam says, “Brand and blog mismatches are one of the biggest causes of failure with influencer campaigns. Many bloggers don’t see the downsides and take the projects anyways. This can cause blogs to lose credibility and can also cause brands to waste marketing dollars, it’s a lose/lose.” In short, don’t stretch. The blogger will feel uncomfortable trying to include the product, and the audience will sniff that out. If another influencer can better integrate your product into their lifestyle, it’s a better choice…even if they have fewer followers!

“In short, you need travel influencers. Who better to tell your brand’s story than an influential traveling power couple?”

Following that train of thought, it makes sense to have, say, your new toothbrush in a list of must-haves, rather than an individual review. Featuring one item on its own can seem a bit forced. If you include it in a list, or a kit of travel essentials, it has context and its utility is much more obvious….and it will almost certainly get more clicks. If you want interactive feedback and engagement with the consumer, it’s sometimes best to be a part of one of these lists. Adam explains it like this: “We always try to give some real inspiration on why someone would want or need a product by talking about it in context or wearing/using it in some great photos.”

Power of Relationship Building Really getting to know the influencers is one of the more overlooked aspects of this type of marketing. See on their blog that they’re heading to the Maldives? Maybe hold off on shipping them the flannel shirts and send the bikinis instead; it’s much more likely to be appreciated and, most importantly, used and reviewed. Likewise, thinking through their travel plans and sending something versatile that is likely to be used every day would make that campaign that much more effective. One of Adam’s favorite campaigns did just that. “If I had to pick just one memorable successful project, it would probably be the “7-day Stretch” Campaign with PrAna. We had to wear their pants for 7 days and take Instagram pictures and share our experience. We took the pants on a road trip full of hiking and outdoor activities that paired well with the brand and our style. It felt natural and unforced and we got plenty of great shots and a bunch of comments on the clothing in the pictures and posts.” Don’t ever underestimate the value of creativity in the campaigns that you set up and in the way that you are engaging your influencers on a community level. Ask your influencers questions. Try to get a feel for the things that they like and what they need. The return on this simple investment of time and effort can be incredible. The travel lifestyle has a lot to offer this type of marketing. It includes exotic locales, gorgeous settings, and the unique opportunity to showcase your product as an indispensable commodity. In the hands of folks like Hannah and Adam, your single piece of gear becomes essential in the eyes of thousands. Check out their site at gettingstamped.com, and who knows? Maybe a folding toothbrush is all they need.

Kristen Matthews

www.convinceandconvert.com @KristenWords

BRANDING


Affiliate

WHY B BLACK FRIDAY MATTERS

lack Friday has now become a global phenomenon. Online sales that day put every other day of the year to shame. In fact, Adobe estimated in 2015 US sales that day alone totaled $2.7 billion. Here are some lessons shared by Affiliate Window to help you plan your posting schedule for Black Friday, Nov. 25, 2016.

CYBER MONDAY IS DEAD

to Bloggers

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Relatively speaking anyway. Black Friday started outperforming Cyber Monday in 2014, and the trend continued in 2015. Black Friday 2015 claimed 42% of the 4-day weekend’s sales, compared to only 23% for Cyber Monday. Some causes may be retail fatigue, as many sales ran for four days, so there was less reason to wait until Monday to shop online.

TIME OF DAY MATTERS Shopping peaked between 6-7 am within each time zone, with strong performance


“By using affiliate links, not only will you earn commission on whatever products you recommend, but also on any other products consumers buy from the same merchant.”

in the small hours as well. This especially involved big ticket items, with shoppers perhaps worried of limited stock availability. Many consumers were primed to start shopping as soon as the day began, however, with an atypical spike right after midnight that was so significant it outpaced Cyber Monday until lunchtime that day.

CONVERSION PATTERNS DIFFER 86% of total transactions converted within the same day of the click; with 80% occurring within the same hour, up from the 85%/77% norm. Especially important for bloggers was content sites converting at almost 75% on the same day, including 69% within the same hour. Normally content sites are used primarily to do research and tend to have a much longer conversion time period.

SMARTPHONES RULED

THE VALUE OF BLACK FRIDAY TO OTHER COUNTRIES

From a sales percentage basis, Black Friday plays a huge role in many, but not all, countries. It is especially active in Brazil, Denmark, the UK, Norway, the US and Italy, but not as important for Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Poland, Germany or the Netherlands. Overall transactions tracked across 80% of the world that day with sales generated in 156 different countries. At one time the first Monday in December was called Manic Monday in the UK, as that region’s largest holiday shopping day; Manic Monday gave way to Cyber Monday then ultimately yielded to Black Friday too.

TAKEAWAYS FOR BLOGGERS

Though smartphones have continued to grow in importance year round, in 2015 Smartphones morphed from a research tool to a converting device, even overtaking tablets as the top mobile device performer. Though normally smartphones converted at 3.5% during 2015, on Black Friday the average conversion rate was 10%, higher than that day’s average of 7% for all device types. Average order value was also higher on smartphones than on desktops or tablets.

CONSUMERS TREAT THEMSELVES

Private research conducted by Affiliate Window revealed that half of consumers planned to take advantage of the deals on offer by purchasing gifts for themselves. Telecom and tech companies scored best on Black Friday. Think of it as the day when shoppers buy themselves new TVs or phones, boots or that coat they’ve wanted all year that is finally on sale.

Make sure the mobile version of your site is easy to navigate and click through to advertisers. Test it on all types of devices to ensure it works. Put up the articles early, so that your cookie is already in place in case consumers read your article before Black Friday, then go directly to the merchant that day to shop. Remember, most merchants have 30 day cookies. By using affiliate links, not only will you earn commission on whatever products you recommend, but also on any other products consumers buy from the same merchant (usually at a higher commission rate than what you’d receive on Amazon.com too. If you get a fair amount of international traffic, make sure you’ve prepared for that with the right offers and links. Highlight any deals, especially coupon codes, offered by advertisers.

Some More Black Friday Statistics During the peak hours, sales hit 600/minute, with clicks as high as 379,000/hour. Affiliate Window recorded 6.2 million clicks that day, which is nearly 3 times the volume of a typical Friday. Department stores drove 19.2% of the sales volume. Clothing was the second most popular category. Consumers love coupons. About 30 percent of all transactions involved the use of coupon codes

Think about all of these characteristics of Black Friday and how to incorporate this knowledge into your post, so you can get your part of the $7MM+ in commissions earned by affiliates that day through Affiliate Window.

Jeannine Crooks AffiliateWindow.com @Jeannine_Crooks

AFFILIATE


Dropbox

Sue B. Zimmerman www.suebzimmerman.com Instagram: theinstagramexpert

DROPBOX ORGANIZATION For Your Instagram Photos

I

f you’re anything like me, you probably have hundreds (or thousands) of pictures stored in your phone’s camera roll. I get it—you’re always trying to capture the most #InstaAwesome photos for your Instagram marketing strategy. But what happens when you’re struggling to decide which photo to post? Don’t waste time scrolling through your feed trying to find the best shot. If you want to post with intention, which you always should, then you first need a plan. Dropbox can be a part of that plan. 44

iBlog magazine NOV/DEC 2016

By organizing your photos in a way that makes them more accessible, you will be able to save yourself and your team from many future headaches. My team and I have found great success with Dropbox, using it for cloud storage as well as photo organizing. While it is certainly true that there are other platforms you can use, the most important thing is that you take the time to create a plan that makes sense for your individual business. Here are three tips on how you can organize your pictures in Dropbox.


“Dropbox’s mobile app provides a user-friendly platform where you can easily access your folders on your mobile device.” 1. Start a fresh folder each year While it might seem obvious, creating separate folders each year encourages greater organization. Decide on a time each year to revisit your business folders, clean up and reorganize. Organizing folders by year means that old unrelated projects are not sitting in the folder creating a distraction. Every January, Morgan, the Director of Operations on my team, goes through Dropbox and creates new folders for the new year. Inside that year, each team member has their own folder, their own filing cabinet for the year. She then goes through and pulls in files from the previous year that would still need to be in the new year.

2. Number the folder you want to see first In Dropbox, if you add a “1” to the front of the file name, the file will shoot to the top of the list. If you are someone like me with a lot of different files, this is an awesome trick. The file that I put a “1” in front of is “Social Media Content”. This is the folder that holds all the photos for our social media platforms. When you click in, you will see a folder for all the social platforms, but today we are going to specifically peek into Instagram.

3. Organize your Instagram folder by theme If you follow a strong Instagram strategy, then most likely you’ve chosen a theme or schedule of the type of images that will be included in your Instagram account. For us on @theinstagramexpert, we follow a color theme. We post multiple times in a row with photos that feature the same color, then transition to the next color. Due to this theme, it is easiest if we have our photos in folders labeled by color. This way, when we are ready to feature pink in our posts, I am all prepared with images for this and I don’t have to wander my camera roll for them. The folders also allow us to see when we are low in a certain color, which helps to narrow the goal during a photo shoot.

4. Create a “used” folder You want to ensure you don’t make an Instagram faux pas and reuse a photo that was recently seen on your feed. Make it a habit to drag and drop the photo you have posted into a used folder when you are done. This helps show you the level of your photo supply.

You’re organized. Now let’s post! Dropbox’s mobile app provides a user-friendly platform where you can easily access your folders on your mobile device. To use an image from your Dropbox folder to post on Instagram, you have to export the image. To export your images, simply click the three small dots in the top corner. Your photos will then be saved to your camera roll, and you can post as you normally would.

“By organizing your photos in a way that makes them more accessible, you will be able to save yourself and your team from many future headaches.” DROPBOX


THE 5 BEST

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT TOOLS

OF 2016*

*(rated by their own users) G2Crowd has analyzed hundreds of detailed reviews from users of the top Social Media Management software. Here are the winners based on the 7 most important criteria. #1

USER SATISFACTION

#2

99/100

98/100

How satisfied are the users of each software (based on a scale of 1 to 100).

96/100 95/100 93/100 buffer

#1

#2

PRODUCT DIRECTION

Vendors’ ability to meet the latest trends and features (based on a scale of 1 to 10).

9.6

9.0

8.3

9.2 9.1 9.0 8.5 8.3

#2

buffer

Is the software easy to setup and operate (based on a scale of 1 to 10). #1

9.5

#2

9.3

SUPPORT

Ability of each company’s customer service to resolve questions and issues (based on a scale of 1 to 10).

8.8 buffer

#1

EASY-TO-LEARN (MAINTENANCE)

8.8

buffer

8.6 8.3 8.0


#1

USABILITY

#1

9.3

Ease-of-use and ability to improve productivity (based on a scale of 1 to 10).

#1

MEET REQUIREMENTS

9.3

9.3

8.6

8.5

8.5

8.4

8.3

8.3

buffer

#2

8.7

Ability to meet business needs (based on a scale of 1 to 10).

#1

buffer

#1

G2 CROWD RATING

#2

4.6 buffer

4.5 4.4 4.2 4.1

The average rating from G2Crowd users (based on a scale of 0 to 5).

226 181

NUMBER OF RATINGS

Number of customer reviews on which this ranking was based.

151 135 buffer

81

Seriously Social is a popular social media blog run by Ian Anderson Gray. The articles explore the latest social media tools, hacks and tips in order to help marketers and business owners make the best decisions and to be more eective and productive. http://iag.me G2 Crowd scores Social Media Management Software products and vendors based on ratings and reviews gathered from real users, as well as data aggregated from online sources and social networks. The best Social Media Management solutions are determined by customer satisfaction (based on user reviews) and scale (based on market share, vendor size, and social impact). Purchase the full report to easily compare all aspects of social media management products, eďŹƒciently select the best product, get the best deal, and set realistic budgets: https://www.g2crowd.com/categories/social-media-mgmt


Potato and Chorizo Bites

Sweet and Garlicky Prime Rib

INGREDIENTS

INGREDIENTS

8 small Chorizo, Caseiro or Portuguese (Mexican won’t work well) 2 pounds Idaho® fingerling potatoes (i used white, purple and red) 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon paprika ½ teaspoon chili powder (add more if you like more heat) ¼ cup Piri-Piri or Peri-Peri Sauce 1 lemon cut in wedges 2 green onions, sliced thin Toothpicks to hold the appetizer together

DIRECTIONS: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8.

9.

Preheat oven to 375º Remove casing from chorizo and slice into ¼ inch medallions. Slice the fingerling potatoes into ¼ inch slices. Using a toothpick, alternate skewering the chorizo and potatoes. Approximately 5-6 pieces on each toothpick. Mix olive oil, garlic powder, paprika and chili powder. Roll each of the potato and chorizo skewers in the olive oil mixture until well coated all the way around. Place the potato and chorizo skewers on a sheet pan and bake at 375º for approximately 45-50 minutes or until the potatoes are crispy on the outside. Remove from oven and arrange the skewers on a large platter with a small bowl of piri-piri sauce. I use mild but many times will use milk piri-piri and hot piri-piri when entertaining. Sprinkle with green onion slices and garnish with lemon slices and sprinkle additional lemon juice prior to serving.

5-pound Certified Angus Beef ribeye roast (Prime Rib) 1 cup brown sugar 4 tablespoons paprika ¼ cup powdered garlic ¼ cup kosher salt 4 tablespoons black pepper

DIRECTIONS: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large plastic bag. Shake, shake, shake until well combined. Generously rub the dry mixture all over the prime rib. Pat it in there so that it gets in all the grooves. I like to add an extra layer over the fat. Place on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan and leave in the refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 450º F. Roast uncovered for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325º F and roast for 2 hours for 2 hours for medium rare. ** For best results, download the Roast Perfect App and follow directions. Perfection every single time. Transfer roast to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

MORE RECIPES AT sundaysuppermovement.com 48

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Isabel Lessing www.familyfoodie.com


Triple Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

Cheesy Jalapeño Corn Casserole

INGREDIENTS

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds fresh Florida strawberries, hulled and sliced ½ pint heavy whipping cream, whipped for topping 2 cups all purpose flour (can be half whole wheat flour) 2 tablespoons granulated sugar + extra for top sprinkling 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 2 teaspoons baking powder + ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon kosher salt ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes, COLD 1 cup low-fat buttermilk + extra regular milk to brush on top 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract ½ cup mini-semisweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons butter 1 fresh jalapeño or part thereof (to your preference), minced 2 tablespoons onion, minced 1 clove garlic, minced 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder 3/4 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon black pepper 3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, about 12 oz or 340g 4 cups or 540g fresh or frozen corn kernels 2 eggs 1 cup or 240ml milk

DIRECTIONS:

DIRECTIONS:

1. 2. 3.

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Spray a baking sheet, set aside. Combine buttermilk, chocolate syrup and vanilla. Refrigerate. In food processor with blade, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to mix. 4. Drop in COLD butter pieces. Pulse till pea-size crumbs form. 5. Combine flour and buttermilk mixtures. Add chips. Stir once. 6. Fold dough a few times on floured surface. Pat to ½” thick round 7. With a 3 ½” round cutter, push straight down into dough. 8. Use scraps till dough is gone. Place shortcakes on baking sheet. 9. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 12-15 mins. 10. Remove from oven. Transfer shortcakes from pan with spatula to wire rack. Cool 15 minutes. Assemble (see photo).

Renee Pajestka

www.reneeskitchenadventures.com

1.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Use one tablespoon of the butter to sauté onion, garlic and jalapeño in a small saucepan, over a very low heat, just until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat. Cool. Preheat oven to 350°F. Use rest of butter to grease casserole dish. Toss cheese, flour, mustard powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add in the corn and mix well. Set aside. Beat eggs and whisk in the milk and the sautéed vegetables. Pour milk/egg mixture in the corn/cheese mixture; stir well. Pour combined mixture into buttered casserole dish. Bake in your preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until puffy and golden on top. The middle should be ever so slightly jiggly when you take it out and will firm up as it cools.

Stacy Rushton

www.foodlustpeoplelove.com

RECIPES


Molasses Spice Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Marshmallow Pops

INGREDIENTS

INGREDIENTS

¾ cups shortening ½ cup granulated white sugar ½ cup dark brown sugar 1 egg ¼ cup molasses 2 cups all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon roasted cinnamon ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg ¼ teaspoon ground cloves ¼ teaspoon allspice 1 cup white sparkling sugar crystals (for coating)

INSTRUCTIONS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Beat shortening at medium speed until fluffy; add sugars and combine at medium speed. Add egg and molasses, combine. Separately combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Whisk together. Add flour mix to shortening mix ½ cup at a time. Mix on low. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour and preheat oven to 375°F Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper Roll chilled dough into ¼” to ½” ball, then roll in sugar crystals Space 2” a part on cookie sheet and Bake for 8 - 10 minutes Cool for 5 minutes. Cookies will firm as they cool.

1 (10 oz) bag of regular, not miniature, marshmallows 1 (10 oz) bag Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers 1 (10 oz) bag candy cane pieces / equivalent crushed candy canes 1 bag of lollipop sticks – cut each stick in half

DIRECTIONS: 1. 2. 3. 4.

5.

6.

Melt the chocolate according to the instructions on the bag Dip one end of the stick in the melted chocolate and stick it into the marshmallow. Dip the marshmallow about ¼ to ½ way into the chocolate – shake lightly to remove excess chocolate. Dip the marshmallow in the candy cane pieces – you can roll, spoon, scoop, or apply the candy cane pieces in whatever way is easiest for you Set on a parchment lined surface to harden. These can sit in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process, but beware the moisture level in the fridge. Serve immediately, or wrap in individual baggies for gifts

Bonus: Crushed walnuts or toasted coconut are other options for dipping instead of candy cane pieces. Use your imagination and have fun!

MORE RECIPES AT asouthernfairytale.com 50

iBlog magazine NOV/DEC 2016

Rachel Matthews

www.asouthernfairytale.com


Brown Butter Madeleines

Perfect Pie Crust Recipe

INGREDIENTS

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces) 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 4 large eggs a pinch fine-grain sea salt 2/3 cups sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ½ cup flour 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon salt ½ cup shortening 8 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon ice water

DIRECTIONS:

INSTRUCTIONS

1. 2.

Preheat the oven to 350 Melt the 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a small pot over medium heat until it’s brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma, roughly 20 minutes. 3. Strain (using a paper towel over a mesh strainer) - you want to leave the solids behind. 4. Cool the butter to room temperature. 5. Beat the eggs and salt with a whisk attachment until it doubles or triples in size - approximately 3 minutes. 6. Continuing to mix on high speed, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Whip for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and ribbony. 7. Sprinkle the flour on top of the egg batter, and gently fold in. 8. Now fold in the butter mixture. Only stirring enough to bring everything together. 9. Spoon the batter into the molds, bake the for 12 - 14 minutes (7-10 minutes for smaller cookies), or until the edges of the Madelaine’s are golden brown. 10. Remove from oven and un-mold immediately. 11. Optional: Dip one side in melted chocolate

MORE RECIPES AT ashleemarie.com

1. 2. 3. 4.

5.

6.

7.

Mix flour, sugar and salt. Break shortening and butter into small chunks. Cut into flour by chopping vigorously with pastry blender (or with the pastry whisks of your Bosch). Drizzle over ice water, using spatula cut in water until mixture looks evening moistened (or continue to mix with your pastry whisks in the bosch). You may need to add more ice water. When pressed together dough should look rough, not smooth. Divide dough in half and press into a round flat disk, wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins, or freeze. Roll out and fit to pan, fix rim, and refrigerate at least 30 mins more. If baking crust: preheat the oven to 400. Place foil over pie and fill with weights (rice or beans will work). Bake for 20 mins. Lift out foil and weights, prick bottom with fork and return to oven 5-10 mins more. If filling the pie and baking further: mix 1 Lrg egg yolk and a pinch of salt. Brush the inside of pie, return to oven until glaze sets, 1-2 mins more.

Ashlee Prisbrey www.ashleemarie.com

RECIPES


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