I’ll admit, I’d never tried Red Bull before I got this Klout Perk so I was pretty excited to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. I’m not sure what I expected, but it tasted a bit like candy. This Klout perk was such a hit I barely finished my first can before the rest disappeared. Damn interns! But, since they were chugged down before I could even give them a try worthy of blogging about, someone owes me a 4 pack! This was a Klout Perk.
Yesterday, I shared that we decorated gingerbread houses and had a wonderful time. It was a great way to start the month of December and a great way to get into the holiday spirit. Shortly after our gingerbread decorating adventure, we strolled over to the waterfront to watch the Morehead City Christmas Flotilla. It was the perfect weather, chilly but not too cold – just cool enough to make you feel like the holidays are coming! We all had a great time and look forward to adding this to our annual holiday traditions.
Here are a few photos from our evening at the Morehead City Christmas Flotilla –
Life along North Carolina’s Crystal Coast is already proving to be magnificent.
There were so many great boats decorated in such festive ways. I wish I could have captured them all. Maybe next year. Hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as we did.
Be sure to check out our cute gingerbread houses and if you’d like to follow along with all our adventures in our new home town, you can follow along by checking out my blog posts on the Crystal Coast.
Today was another day for the books! The kids have been saying that they miss Florida but when I ask them what they miss, they always share memories – not places.
I explained that the memories you make travel with you wherever you go. Then I reminded them that we’re making plenty of new memories here in North Carolina, too. But, that they will still have all of their old memories of Florida.
Decorating Gingerbread Houses for the Holidays
We certainly haven’t been bored! Since moving to the Crystal Coast, I’ve made sure to look for fun events we can do together as a family to really get the kids engaged and help them fall in love with their new hometown while making new memories. Our latest adventure, decorating gingerbread houses.
We drove over to Alex and Brett’s Bakery, in downtown Morehead City, to decorate Gingerbread houses.
My sweet friend, Daisy, came along for the fun, too. I’m happy to say that she made some great memories right along with us since it was her very first time decorating a gingerbread house.
The staff at Alex and Brett’s were so sweet. They made sure the kids had a wide variety of candy available to them and kept replenishing it whenever they ran low. Most of the candy made it on to the houses but some made it directly into their mouths. Kids will be kids.
We all had a great time and made some precious memories together. I think we did a pretty good job on those gingerbread houses, don’t you?
On To The Next Adventure
If you’d like to follow along with all our adventures in our new home town, you can follow along by checking out my blog posts on the Crystal Coast.
Have You Ever Seen Bigfoot?
Not Bigfoot, the mythical creature, Bigfoot the monster truck!
We’re really getting into the swing of things here in North Carolina as we begin to build a life along the Crystal Coast. We went to see BIGFOOT for the grand opening of the Jacksonville, NC. Family Tire store! The kids had never seen a monster truck up close and personal so it was pretty exciting. After we arrived and had taken a few photos, Bella made me laugh out loud when she turned to me and said “Ok, when’s the show?” Turns out, that was what all their excitement was about. They thought there was going to be a giant monster truck rally of some sort where cars were going to be crushed. Don’t feel too sorry for them. They still had a good time. They got an autographed photo from Bigfoot’s driver and they got to drive a simulated race car. All in all, it was a fun day.
From Bigfoot to Mario Andretti
Earlier in the week, we went to the same location and they met Mario Andretti and got autographed pictures. It was a real treat since both of them are big fans of the Disney movie Cars. Now, that’s pretty cool. How many kids can say they’ve met Mario Andretti AND seen Bigfoot, too?
Family Tire, a Family Owned Business
Family Tire is a local family-owned business so, in the spirit of supporting small businesses, I’d encourage you to shop locally if you have tire needs. I’ve appreciated the family-friendly events they’ve created.
Jacksonville Family Tire
204 Yopp Road
Jacksonville, NC 28540
I had this crazy idea in my head to just pick up and move. That’s right, to quit complaining about the sucky school system, the snotty school administrators, the teachers who thought they could bully, the crappy traffic, the lack of parking everywhere, the crime, the litter and the overall attitude you get from the majority of people in Miami and actually DO something about it.
Yup, I was sick and tired and I’d had enough. So, Memorial weekend I packed up the kids and took a spontaneous trip to the lovely east coast of North Carolina to check it out. I’d been thinking about getting away from what Miami had become for a while and knew I wanted to move somewhere that had four moderate seasons, plenty of green spaces, a more wholesome environment and was family-friendly. I’d been looking at real estate in a few states and figured the long holiday weekend was as good a time as any to check out some of the homes I’d liked, along the Crystal Coast.
North Carolina Coastal Living
Once we arrived, the kids got a taste of coastal living. My cousins live right on the beach in Emerald Isle. What a treat!
The kids loved waking up in the morning and having the beach right in their backyard. In fact, they loved it so much that they went to the beach more times in that one weekend than they had ever been, in the entire time we’d lived in South Florida. (You know what I mean if you’ve ever tried to find parking in South Beach close to the actual beach – or in Ft. Lauderdale) Plus, they loved getting to see their aunts and cousins. It was looking like moving to North Carolina wasn’t going to be a hard sell.
Doing it Dayngr Style
In true Dayngr-style, that weekend I found a house we all loved, made an offer and planned the big move as soon as the kids got out of school on June 7th. Miraculously, we closed on our house June 26th (less a month after seeing it) and packed up our sweet, small, South Florida bungalow and it the road. We had one goal. Make sure we were in our new house in time to celebrate Bella’s birthday, before the 4th of July.
Making Our Deadline
The good news was, we made our deadline and we did it just in time to celebrate Lola’s birthday and have an Independence Day celebration. The big party was a great way to kick-off our new life in our new home and it was a great excuse to spend some quality time with my family. The only bad news was that not everything went as planned with the big move and my orchid died on the way. Other than that, everything went smoothly.
A little crazy, but life is short, right? Go for what you want!
I made Blueberry Cobbler! This is my very first Blueberry Cobbler ever and the first of many I hope, in my new kitchen. I was happily guided through it step by step by my cousin, a North Carolina native, and cobbler expert.
My recipe calls for fresh blueberries so I haven’t tried this with anything else. If you do, let me know how it works out. I’m sure it would be just as delicious.
Now, I’ve never been known as a food blogger and I’m not sure I ever will be but if I could make this, so can you! Here’s all you need to know to make a super simple blueberry cobbler you will actually want to eat (and maybe share).
Super Simple Blueberry Cobbler
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 4 cups fresh blueberries
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place butter in an 8-inch square baking dish.
- Melt the butter in the preheating oven, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Mix flour, sugar, and milk in a bowl until combined; pour batter over melted butter. Scatter blueberries over the batter.
- Bake in your preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, it takes about 1 hour.
That’s it. Super simple, even a food-loving, recipe-flubbing blogger like me can do it.
Do you have a good cobbler recipe? If so, drop it in the comments or link me to your post. I can’t wait to try yours!
See that beautiful house? Yes! It’s mine!
This was supposed to be one of those “Yay! We’re moving to North Carolina today” posts, except we’re apparently not moving today thanks to a huge screw up at U-Haul and another no-so-shocking bad customer service experience at Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Hialeah.
U-Haul Your Butt Back Home Little Lady
I don’t know exactly where the mix up occurred but my friend made a reservation for a U-Haul truck and when she showed up at U-Haul there were no trucks available. I’m not a moving specialist, though you’d think I would be by now (Moving from FL to VA and then VA back to FL and now to NC) but if you make a reservation, aren’t they supposed to honor it? Isn’t that kind of the point of making one? Anyway, I made a reservation and no truck was to be had. The thing that burns me about that though, is that this is South Florida, so it’s hard for me to believe that U-Haul seriously couldn’t find a truck at one of their numerous locations to give to us. Believe it, because they had no solution for us but to … wait for it … make another reservation for Monday. LOL. I think not.
Thwart Me Not
Not one to be thwarted by something as silly as a U-Haul screw up I called Budget. Nothing available, but that’s understandable since we did not have a reservation there. It’s June, and apparently, people are moving – just not us and not today.
Adventures with Enterprise Rent-a-Car in Hialeah
Still determined to move TODAY, I called Enterprise Rent-a-Car only to discover that an internal miscommunication that occurred last year, which I’d spent countless hours on the phone between their corporate office, regional manager and local office clearing up – was never actually cleared up. Again, another internal miscommunication by Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Regrettably, the corporate office didn’t take ownership of the issue either and work to clear the mess up with the local office. Their resolution was to have us call back on Monday, regardless if a Monday resolution was too late for us. That’s big corporations for you. This issue was well documented (I’ve referred to it several times when I’ve had to speak to them) and could have easily been looked up and rectified so we could have had an immediate resolution, had someone actually cared about the customer experience and customer service. It was such a huge letdown.
I thought the days of bad service and dealing with bad attitudes at this Enterprise Rent-a-Car location in Hialeah were behind me when the manager was no longer there. Boy was I wrong. The girl on the phone, who I won’t name here, but will share with the corporate office, couldn’t brush me off fast enough. She didn’t want to help or even deal with us at all.
After persisting, she took my number and stated she’d call me back in 20 minutes. Of course, she never called. When I called her back, her response for not calling me was that she was in the office alone and it was very busy. Hey, that’s understandable but isn’t a customer calling in as important as important as one that walks in? That’s the question I’ll be asking because that wasn’t the impression I was given today.
Enterprise Rent-a-Car Really Doesn’t Care
Here I was, once again trying to give Enterprise my business after the last nasty incident and again, they were giving me a hard time. Clearly, I’m an idiot.
But my friend shared this with me and it made me laugh and it will make you laugh as well: Seinfeld – The Car Reservation
So, we’re still in South Florida and working to find a solution to get our stuff loaded and get out of here in time to before I have to be at work on Monday and celebrate Lola’s birthday.
Wish me luck!
This was Bella’s first real paragraph from First Grade. I’m so proud of my 6-year-old. I can’t believe she’ll be in Second Grade in August. Where does the time go?
Do you keep photos or hard-copies of your kids’ writing and school work? If so, how do you keep it organized and how do you select which items to keep and which ones to toss?
I had the pleasure of attending two panels as a part of Social Media Week in Miami. Miami has a flavor like no other city and those in attendance for “Locally Social with Republica World” were as diverse as the city itself.
“Locally Social with Republica World” panelists (Arlene Linares, Patricia Guarch, Josie Llado, Susset Cabrera, Danny Rivero), moderated by Will Freyre discussed how a local approach to social media can build your brand within the local community and lead to great success. From food to fashion, the Miami scene is thriving and social media plays a huge role in bringing the community together to experience it for all its worth.
Create Culturally Relevant Content
With South Florida being a popular tourist destination, @RepublicaWorld commented on communicating with tourists and non-Miamians, but their advice could work for any local business, “Know your audience. Mix it up and create culturally relevant content.” Excellent advice, indeed. The audience, on the other hand, debated the official language of Miami. Was it English, Spanish or Spanglish?
Danny Rivero, who handles social media for local station WLRN, reminded us all that social media is ever-evolving when he stated, “Social media is something you can never master, but rather need to adapt to.” Whether your business is large or small and has local customers or international ones, you’ve got to continue to learn about new platforms as they emerge to see if they have value for your business.
While discussing which social media platforms the panelists found most useful, Pinterest seemed to be the one people were the most interested in. Though Pinterest has been noted as driving more traffic than Google, many in the audience had yet to embrace it, or fully understand its usefulness. They were, however, extremely curious to see how it could be used for business and if the “Locally Social” panelists were using it.
The conversation turned to Facebook and whether or not businesses should open up their Facebook page walls for all to post or close them for admin only posts. The general consensus was that open Facebook walls, though requiring more work to maintain, were the best way to go if you wanted to facilitate community and conversation. Some suggestions for preventing spam were to set ground rules upfront so that the community knows what will be allowed and what will not. With @MiamiNicePopUp adding that “If it’s not slanderous, then anything can go for the sake of discussion.” Removing negative posts was listed as a BIG no, no. Instead, it was suggested to turn negativity into an opportunity to open up dialogue – when possible – and to be transparent.
If attendees doubted the power of social media’s impact on a business, they quickly changed their minds when @Versailles revealed that 99% of reviews on Yelp for Versailles Restaurant come from out-of-towners. And, that since opening a Yelp account, traffic to their site has tripled. That’s powerful!
- Social media is always evolving and you need to be in a state of constant learning.
- Be open and transparent.
- Allow for open dialogue and conversations but set boundaries in advance.
- Personalize your responses.
- Know your audience. Mix it up and create culturally relevant content.
- Mobile is where it’s at and your site better accommodate it.
- Yelp, and other geo-specific sites are worth looking into.
All in all, it was a very informative session and the panelists did a great job covering a variety of topics and answering audience questions.
Is your business tapping into its local market socially? Is your business using sites like Instagram, FourSquare and Yelp? What advice do you have for businesses looking to use social media in their cities?