The Perfect Giveaway…does it exist?

“Perfect” is one of those words that has become wayyyy too overused in our society (IMO). I am so guilty of it…it’s like my go-to word to describe meals, outfits, wine, music, the list goes on…when it meets my expectations, I call it “perfect.” I like to think I live in a half-glass full kind of world; using the word seems to really just describe the feeling of “satisfied” for me. Yes, I am sure I could always be MORE satisfied, but I don’t really ever think of situations that way. So in a sense, I guess the word “perfect” may be (in my little happy place) OK. There is this $7 bottle of Cabernet that I have come to love on a Wednesday night (don’t get me wrong, I love those $60 bottles too but they are not practical). I kinda think the $7 bottle is perfect; It is perfect for the Wednesday night glass I want to have with no guilt if I don’t finish the rest that week…LOL, that never happens.

I have customers come to me all the time asking for the “perfect” giveaway. They want to know what is the latest and greatest, or best-selling, or most comfortable, or best value. It is really a hard question for me to answer, because my belief is that “perfect” means something different to everyone. What is perfect for one person is not for another; Just the same a perfect giveaway for one event is in most cases not going to be close to the same as another.

In the end, I stand behind my word that there is, in fact, a “perfect giveaway” for every event/restaurant/business…it needs to be changed over time to reflect changes in business models or Clientele, it needs to be updated based on the type of event, it needs to be revisited on a yearly basis to assess its relevance. It isn’t going to be the same t-shirt that worked for your neighbor, it isn’t going to be the same water bottle that fit your husband’s company logo…but for you, it will be “perfect”.

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Summer is coming…Refresh your promo closet!

Monday is summer. I know, it feels like it has been summer here for 2 months now. I don’t know about yall but this 105 degree heat index in early June is killing me. Please tell me it isn’t going to get worse. I have lived here for 11 years now, I realize, it is going to get worse. Silver lining, I am not pregnant and carrying 30 extra pounds this summer! Wow, that was brutal…but worth it ūüôā

So, back to the topic at hand. My friends, it is summer and there are few conferences and events to attend. The networking dies down as most families plan one (or more if lucky) vacations out of town, and all of the prospecting seems to vanish¬†for a few short months. BUT, we all know that September comes quickly, and when it is here, we wish we had spent some of our down time investing, researching, and preparing for what is to come. Why not be THE only one out there hitting your prospective clients while the other guy is on vacation? Sounds like a plan to me. So here are some of my favorite “hot” items to refresh your promo closet right now while outside it is hotter than Hades and the air condition inside is heavenly.

Waterproof Dry Bag: To be used by the pool, on the boat, or at the beach. Valuables, phones, cash money…I am sure you all have much more creative uses.C7H_group

 

Sun Shade, to keep your car “cool”, well, South Carolina cool…AKA a balmy 90 degrees rather than 100.7037_group_l

 

Sport Towel: Now this is genius for those of us who sweat constantly, keep this handy dandy in your glove compartment. My dad could certainly use one of these…sorry Dad…love you mean it!7855_group

Collapsible Cooler Picnic Basket…self explanatory. We don’t use these that often anymore because spontaneous picnics are pretty much out of the question for parents of children under 5, but cheers to all that can¬†still do spontaneous romantic picnics on the beach. One day we will be there again I hope.3579_ii_group

 

Hangover Kit…Duh. Party time! Long days on the beach with friends and too many beers (or canned Rose, my current fav)…again, something I used to be privy to but have a hard time finding the saturdays to do this anymore with two babes. And when I do get a rare saturday off, watch out! I may need 5 of these!image

 

Bluetooth¬†Selfie Button…for those selfies when you are on the beach. Document it; You will want to look at it one day and remember that you used to have FREE saturdays. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my saturdays with my little family, but they look much different than they used to!image (1)

Last but not least…Nibble & Sip. My two favorite things to do. Take this anywhere! It is sort of an amazing thing that the two can be one. No digging thru bags to find the larabar you threw in there 5 days ago.image (2)

 

Alright, that’s all for today folks! Enjoy summer, and enjoy the beach. I’ll be there, but look for the mom chasing one child into the dunes and the other from eating shells, with my can of Rose of course! Surf’s Up!

 

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Update to an update to an update

Long time, no update…I know. Well since I wrote last, I had a sweet little boy, and he is taking up a lot of what used to be my blog time. I get chunks of time during the day when he is napping, but they are spent catching up on work emails to clients for the most part; And extra loads of laundry as well. I can’t believe how time is flying already. Wade is 4 months old today, and becoming more of a little man each day. What an amazing experience it has been thus far.

When I was thinking about writing this update and what I needed to include, although a lot came to mind, one really stood out to me. This town has so many great things going all the time, but the end of last year, I was contacted by a lady who is doing great great things in the baby world here in our own Charleston! It struck my attention because at the time I was 6 months pregnant, and now that I have had Wade, I realize even more what an amazing story she has to tell.

Olivia Daniel with Developmental Duffle contacted me last year to print some things for her. When we sat down at Starbucks, I really did not fully understand what she had to offer, but after listening, I had a greater understanding of the need. Her company puts together bags that are marketed to different infant age groups with toys that cater specifically to the milestones that children should meet in the time period. For instance, the 0-6 month bag comes with 6 toys that will help a child develop their smile, their interaction with others, explore their voice and other sounds, as well as use their hands. Each bag comes with a deck of cards that explains what milestone each toy focuses on and some games to play with each. I use each of these toys on a daily basis with Wade and feel like I can now truly say that this concept is so interesting. In Olivia’s words, so much money is spent on useless toys that babies get bored with because they are not challenged the way they should be. With these bags, you can rest assured that your child is not only having fun, but learning while doing so. With much experience and background, Olivia works with toy companies across the United States to provide the most effective and cutting edge products. I can’t say enough about this concept! Developmental Duffle products can be found¬†at¬†http://developmentalduffle.com.¬†

 

 

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Tis the Season Season’s Greetings What Season is it Anyway?

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Yes, it is that time of the year AGAIN…I can’t believe we are hearing Holiday music already and seeing lit trees in the stores. In our part of the country, this hits us even harder because it is still 75 degrees outside. It’s like we don’t even realize summer has passed (Other than our football Saturdays) and all of a sudden we have to buy Halloween Candy. It may be 75 degrees on Christmas day, time will tell; It has happened here many times before. Last year, our wedding was on December 1st, and I was more than happy to welcome the 70 and sunny weather we had on our wedding day-it was PERFECT! But this year, since I don’t have to be in a wedding dress outside for photos, I have to admit I am ready for the comfy cozy fire weather to arrive already.¬†

I absolutely love the summers here in Charleston, but THIS truly is the most wonderful time of the year for so many reasons. As soon as I see Pumpkin Spice Latte up on the Starbucks board, I am prepared for the next 3 months of excitement. Holiday Meals, Family, Gifts to buy, Santa music, decorating trees, decorating everything, the list goes on.

But what also makes this the most wonderful time of the year is the chance it gives each of us to step back and reflect on what we have accomplished over the past 9-10 months, and Thank our lucky stars that we are where we are. This has been a BIG year for many of my best friends who have welcomed new babies into their families, have opened new restaurants, and have married their lifelong friends. What fun it has been to celebrate in all of this with each of them.

It is at this time of the year that I start putting my list together of how I will Thank each person who has helped me this year-that is right, I don’t typically make a wish list for myself, I make a wish list of what I want to give to others. Each of you that knows me well knows that I HATE opening gifts in front of people, which is why I think on the flip side, I LOVE gifting others and watching them.¬†

An easy way to say Thank you and show you are thinking of someone is to send a card. My mother taught me early early in life that a hand written note goes a long way (I am pretty sure I couldn’t even sign my name before she was sending cards signed “Love, Sarah”). Sending Holiday Cards is an easy way to Thank your customers for all they have done for you over the year, and to show that you are thinking of them this Holiday Season. I challenge each of you to at least find the time to do this simple task this season. Even if you don’t have the time to address them, this Holiday Card Website can customize your card, and even address it for you! ¬†

Custom Holiday Card Website-Order HERE!

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Writer’s Block or Just Blame it on Summer?

I am going to go with “Blame it on Summer,” Because I am not at all a writer, I don’t think I can fall into the category of “writer’s block”.

I think it was raining last time I posted…must be something about being stuck inside all day, needing a break from work but can’t go outside to walk the dog…guess I will write…

Just wondering if anyone else’s summer has been as crazy as ours? We totally overbooked ourselves this summer. All fun trips and we have had the opportunity to catch up with many great friends, but we can’t seem to slow down. I know, this is the time in our lives when we should be jet setting off everywhere we can. I guess it is much easier to leave every weekend when you DON’T live in an amazing city like Charleston, that could practically be a vacation every day of every week of every year, right? We are lucky to say the least…that is why I can’t complain about these crummy days we have every once in a while. God has to punish us somehow when we spend every weekend doing this…

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So if you are traveling as much as we are this summer, below are some necessities (I think…) I feel like one of those magazine articles in IN STYLE where they feature “What is in her carry-on bag?

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Before Disaster Strikes!

I have been running around in this rain all day long. If you live in Charleston, or have visited the Holy City in the past month, you know what happens to our city when it rains. Streets flood, everyone forgets how to drive, people get stuck at work, people get stuck at home, the grocery sells out of milk…OK, that last one was probably a little bit far-fetched. BUT, funny as I sit looking out my office window at this gloom of a day, I stumble upon an article in my latest Promotional Products Business Mag titled “Before Disaster Strikes!” The article takes us through an important subject that most businesses do not spend much time preparing for or even thinking over; Disaster.

In our neck of the woods, that is most likely to refer to Hurricanes, Hurricane Season, or any of their derivatives: Tropical Storm, High Winds, Flooding, Thunderstorms. I heard a few days ago on the weather channel that we have now hit the record for number of named storms before July. The third named storm historically comes on or later than August 13. So, I guess this article on Disaster Preparedness is well-timed for many this week as some of us watch Chantal’s approach.

Some highlights that I got from the article:

1) Make sure you have insurance coverage

2) Have a generator on hand-you may not use it much, but when you need it you will be glad you have been storing it forever

3) Protect your files and your data

4) Make a plan-even if small, employees need to know what the expectations are from the company

And for today, here is a promotional product you probably wish you had on hand:

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The way to the heart…

There is this saying that goes something like: “The way to a man’s heart is food”; I have only been married to my husband for 6 months, and I already know this to be true. But, don’t discriminate…I would also agree that The way to a woman’s heart is food, at least mine. My husband would definitely cook (Probably not bake) if I let him, and when he does, everything is mouth watering; but for the most part, I wear the cook hat in our house. So I am usually cooking things that will satisfy my heart (my husband rarely complains about what I decide is for dinner-bless him!)

Friday night, I was browsing a blog when I came across a yummy oatmeal cookie recipe and decided to channel my inner Julia Child to make..not really, these cookies were the easiest thing and I already had the ingredients on hand so I did not have to go out in the rain either! I wanted to share the recipe, because they definitely made their way into mine and my husbands bellies Friday night as well as our hearts! 

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 very ripe medium banana

1/3 cup canola oil

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, or as needed

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal or rolled oats

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chocolate chips (vegan, if desired).

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray two baking sheets with oil. In a mixing bowl, mash banana well. Add oil, sugar and vanilla, and mix with a strong fork. Add flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, and mix until just moistened.

2. Add oatmeal, walnuts and chocolate chips. Using your hands or a sturdy spoon, mix well, making sure oats are well moistened. (If dough is very slippery, add one or two extra tablespoons flour.)

3. Using clean, wet hands, re-wetting as needed, roll dough into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball, about 1 1/3 inches in diameter. Flatten slightly and place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: About 2 dozen cookies.

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Speaking of food making its way to hearts, I wanted to share a recent promo item I did for a customer in North Carolina. IMC, International Market Centers, leases space in Highpoint and Las Vegas for Furniture Markets. They wanted a fun but inexpensive giveaway for their Spring Market a few weeks ago-an item that would appeal to multi-gender and multi-generational employees. We landed on customized caramel popcorn-what a better way to say Thank You and win over hearts! The customer wrote me after market was over and said that the popcorn was a huge it and that everyone loved it! I kind of had a sneaking suspicion they would!

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