Hootsuite University

I am currently teaching Digital Marketing at my university. This is a popular topic and there is a lot of demand for social media skills sets in industry. The class is full at 30 students and there were 11 people on the wait list! One component of the course includes a Hootsuite University’s Hootsuite Certification. Upon completion an passing of 8 exams, students are placed in a small, but growing group of social media consultants. Win!

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Hootsuite certification does not come easy. The certification includes multiple readings, videos, and workbooks to fill out. The course content is overwhelming, but necessary to obtain a 360 of Hootsuite’s dashboard as well as social media marketing topics.

Mostly common platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Tumblr, etc. are covered within the content. Analytics is covered in over two weeks.

So far I’ve noticed the videos are very helpful and the readings are thought provoking and short. I find videos to be extremely beneficial when learning web based platforms. I end up re-watching every video to absorb as much content as possible, there is a lot of it!

I’ll be discussing more about the course and certification here on the blog. Should be interesting!

Stay tuned for more!

Hootsuite University

Top Ad Agencies by State

AdWeek recently published an infographic sharing the top ad agencies by state. The methodology was a combination of head count, notable clients, legacy and reputation. What do you think of the list?

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Top Ad Agencies by State

Sustainability Marketing Course to Costa Rica

The last two years we have been taking our Bryant University students to Costa Rica to study sustainable coffee production. Students travel for 10 days to experience sustainability efforts hands-on. We obtain a wealth of real world knowledge by traveling to farms and learning fist-hand how sustainability practices vary in the coffee industry. Our students wrote about their experiences, posted photos, and shared photos of their journey. Check out our course blog here: Sustainability Marketing Blog

Check out our course Twitter page here: Sustainability Marketing Twitter

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Sustainability Marketing Course to Costa Rica

The Evil-Eye or Nazar

Ever feel like people are giving you the evil eye? I don’t mean the stink eye. Turkish and Persian culture suggest that people can, even unknowingly, be envious about you in some way. This feeling may at times be so strong that it may cause a disturbance in your life.


They say this can cause three bad things to happen to a person who is envied. Here is an example: You just bought a car, showed it off to a few people and received a lot of compliments. The next day you find that there is a scratch on it. This doesn’t mean someone actually did this to your car as an evil act, but it is nazar in action.

That’s why our cultures have created ways to ward off such evil un-intentions. Here are a few ways to ward off the Evil Eye or Nazar:

1. Keep an evil eye (usually blue in color) in your home, office, car, keychain….in plain sight.

2. If you think you have been nazared, break two eggs in a sealed plastic bag. This will take care of the other two bad things that would have happened to you. Similarly, if two bad things have already happened and you were just in denial the first time, just break one egg. Simple.

3. Parents: If you have a child place an evil eye in their crib. In turkey they use small safety pins with an evil eye attached. This is a very common gift along with people saying your baby is ugly, on pure intention of not nazar’ing your baby. Odd, I know. And, obviously, don’t put it in reach of the baby.

4. When you buy/lease/receive a new car, drive over a sealed plastic bag containing one egg. Again, this will ward off any evil eye.

5. Esfand seeds are burned in Persian culture. This seeds are burned over the stove and its essence is spread throughout the house to ward off evil. It smells nice, but is not easy to do without the traditional tools. Here is the prayer that is mentioned while spreading the smoke around:

Espand, remover of adversity,
The blessing of King Naqshband,
Eye of nobody, Eye of relatives,
Eye of friends, Eye of enemies,
[Bad thoughts and intentions] burn in this glowing fire (via wikipedia)

For more information, see wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esfand_svanta

6. If you think that someone over-complimented you or nazar’d you in some way, I’ve also heard you can scratch your behind (odd!).

Can you think of any others? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Evil-Eye or Nazar

Jewel Mint Mystery

Check out this promo by JewelMint below:


Has jewel mint gained so much brand recognition and trust in its customers that it can get away with a promotion like this? They are promoting a 4 curated bohemian/floral pieces guaranteed in a mystery box set for $59.98.  As the promotion states in fine print:”Absolutely no refunds, exchanges or swapping of pieces on this curated set.”

Is this a smart move by Jewelmint? Intuitive?

What are your thoughts?

Jewel Mint Mystery

Drinks and Appetizers…how to create a great spread for guests

Over labor day weekend, we decided to invite a few friends over for some drinks and appetizers before heading to watch Waterfire in Providence, RI. We decided we didn’t want to do a full dinner, but preferred finger foods instead. I scoured the internet for ideas…not just on what to make, but what sort of variations are needed to make a balanced spread. This was NOT easy. No where did I find a well-described method on how to create a set of appetizers for a party. I thought we could have a theme, that’s easy (Mexican, Asian). But I wanted to do something different. Here is a list of items we made, and a photo to get your taste buds watering….

Let’s start in the lower left corner. Chips (mixed colors) for dipping in some sort of salsa, maybe a smoked pepper, but not the normal grocery store kind.

Guacamole: You can get this package ready to go from Trader Joe’s. Follow the package directions and you will LOVE it. Make sure you add the whole lime, it makes a difference and avoids discoloration. I added one avocado for a total of 3 and it seemed to be great for 11 people.

Dates stuffed with goat cheese/pistachio spread. I sliced and pitted the dates and mixed goat cheese and crushed pistachios to stuff the dates. A nice mix of sweet and savory.

Caprese salad. Easy to make. Sliced mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, layered. I mix sugar with balsamic vinegar, simmer until the mixture sticks to your spoon, let it cool a bit, drizzle over your salad.

(For those that care, this is an Arte Italica serving piece. Click here to check it out. It’s Gorg! I want to collect them all).

Salmon Appetizer. I toasted a whole baguette of french bread to make the salmon app. Spread goat cheese on the toasted sliced bread, layer with a small piece of smoked salmon, place capers on top, drizzle with honey, YES HONEY. SO GOOD. Unexpected and amazing. LOVE.

Cucumber Appetizer. I found this awesome white bean and basil hummus at Trader Joe’s. I used the zip lock bag method to pipe it onto slices of unpeeled cucumbers. I added one pistachio on top of each. Cute, easy, healthy.

I cannot forget the marvelous flatbread PIZZAS my husband made from scratch. We had cheese/curry, spinach/sweet basil chicken sausage/red pepper, and two more kinds (I can’t keep track). These were all made with wheat flour and fresh ingredients. He even made the tomato sauce. These were fun for the crowd because every time a pizza came out of the oven, everyone wondered what kind it was. I can’t believe I don’t have a photo of them!

We had meatballs and gravy for those that craved a little more protein. I placed this in a two sided dish for easy dipping. I didn’t want this to be a focal piece of the table since the pizza and salads were the stars.

Cake. We decided to use Trader Joe’s Vanilla White cake to make this. My husband added some tahini paste, walnuts and bit of goat milk to it. We topped the cake with cream cheese frosting (made of lite cream cheese, 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract), layered with sliced strawberries and covered with our new Bon Appetite cake cover for added pizazz.

Other items we added were pickles, black and green pitted olives, and a few chutneys to provide more toppings and sides for the crackers and cheese (with grapes), and bread slices.

We served a yummy red sangria as well, which I highly suggest. Having a drink of the night is nice because you end up spending less time making drinks and more time socializing. Make it early, make a lot, and sit back and relax. The recipe we used was from my dear friend Ida, and it’s a secret. You’ll have to ask her for it!

Overall, the best way to create a spread is to have a main course, two salads, some finger apps, and desert. A mix of sweet and savory adds to the flavor profiles. Using similar ingredients overall (such as pistachios in the date spread and pistachios on top of the cucumbers) adds to the ease and consistency of creation and flavor. The table will look great if you have coordinating serving pieces. They don’t have to match, in fact, ours don’t. But they GO together. I tried to create some symmetry with the plating and used color pops with the food, because we eat with our eyes before our mouths.

We ended the night with more visual pleasure at Waterfire…

Drinks and Appetizers…how to create a great spread for guests

Say hello to Your new Yelp Elite Blogger

Remember when I was concerned with how many Yelp reviews it takes to become Elite? I now have my answer.  I recently became an Elite 2012 Yelp member (Friday? and thanks!). It took me 20 quality reviews, 15 photos, and check-in’s for 2 weeks. I believe I also received a nomination early on to catch some Yelp attention (thanks, kel!). I’m proud to say that my commitment to Yelp has paid off as I will now be invited to their yummy events. Viva Yelp and good food! Check out some of my reviews below…

This graph gives you a glimpse of how particular I am about restaurants. Here is a review I wrote for a great restaurant, and one for a not so pleasant one:

Great Review:

Bad Review:

Hmm…closed? I wonder why!

Hope you enjoyed reading some of my reviews….visit www.profshar.yelp.com to read more! And follow my blog for more updates…Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Say hello to Your new Yelp Elite Blogger