You Are Here: Raleigh, NC

Website development, coding, app creation, copy writing…Just some of the services we offer. Curious about how we could work together? Let’s Talk.

In August 2018 we moved cross-country from Washington to North Carolina. While we miss the PNW we do enjoy being so close to family and all the east coast has to offer including where America was built and history was made.

We went to D.C. over New Year’s Eve and Charleston (coming soon) for our anniversary but we obviously had to check out the big city just an hour and a half north of us. Raleigh is the capitol of North Carolina and is home to several well-known regions/cities including Chapel Hill, Durham and the Triangle. The Triangle is the area of three major universities (Duke University in Durham, The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh.) So the nightlife, food and amount of things to do is jam-packed. Not to mention it’s hours away from Asheville, the beaches on the coast and 20 minutes driving from RDU airport.

As of January 2019 we have been to Raleigh twice and, while I’m not a local-local I can offer some insight on the city or a quick trip.

If you want more pictures and videos follow me on Instagram and check out the highlight!

If you plan on staying the night in Raleigh try this Airbnb and we felt very safe in the apartment. It was just the right amount of space and a few minutes walk from the main strip. There was street parking available as well as covered parking garage which we always prefer.

We stayed there over October 19-21, 2018 to celebrate my husband’s birthday and to spend a day at the Triangle Oktoberfest.

Our first night in was our usual eat and drink around the main strip. There are two to three areas with great bar districts and they’re a 30 minute walk or quick Uber from the Airbnb. We mainly checked out S Wilmington Street. First stop was food at Gallo Pelón Mezcaleria.

Upstairs is their sister restaurant, Centro. If you get a chance try the Cats Out Of The Bag IPA from Ancillary Fermentation; they only make 120 per month. At these types of places I enjoy trying out the cocktails so I tried the Cucumber Caipiroska. We shared their tacos, nachos and spicy chicken sandwich which were all really good but smaller portions than you would get at a chain Mexican restaurant.

You probably sat too long taste testing tequila so get to walkin’ down the street a few blocks to The Raleigh Times. Check out their website! This 100-year-old building displays newspaper clippings from it’s namesake newspaper. They have restored and expanded the establishment several times so there are plenty of booths, table, bar space and an upstairs seating area with a rooftop if the weather’s nice.

This bar is a super cool interior and seat yourself. I had the Peach Milkshake IPA and the Blackberry Ale which were both delicious and drinkable to keep the night going. We didn’t try their nachos but heard this is one of the few places offering a late night menu. The later you go, the fewer options you’ll find.

Down the street is the Landmark Tavern which reminded me of a Irish tavern but had the trendiness of a basic hipster bar in and outside. There’s a $1 cover and we had the 2 Hearted IPA from Bell’s Brewery.

The London Bridge across the street was closed for a private event and, what looked full of Greeks; otherwise it looked like a fun, younger crowd with loud music and live events!

A popular choice from everyone who visits Raleigh is Trophy Brewing Company. Head to the corner, turn left and walk down a bit before you see their neon sign next to other random streetside stores. We were in the mood for a late-night snack by now and shared their tots and wings. The wings weren’t too good and really spicy but the tots are definitely worth ordering!

Trophy Brewing Wings and Tots

Trophy Wife and Cloudburst were probably the top beers we had from our visit. Other people have also raved about their session IPAs, the Milky Way Stout which ‘tastes like candy’, and the best nano brewery in the Triangle.

Trophy Brewing Company

On Saturday we were planning on going to Oktoberfest but first…BRUNCH. The biggest must-do while here is heading to Beasley’s Chicken + Honey. We were able to take our time getting ready and got there right before their 11 am brunch doors opened. We didn’t want to stand in line too long so we walked around and found the street closed down for a festival where artists were creating chalk art on the pavement.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you can get there right as they open to wait in line DO IT or else you’ll be waiting for a while. Even on a rainy day Beasley’s was buzzing with guests. We snagged a couple seats at the bar and ordered drinks and brunch from the menus written on the wall. Hope you brought your glasses! I don’t think you could really go wrong ordering anything on the menu but we loved their beer, cocktail Ameila’s Crush, and several more classic cocktails. I cannot remember what we ate but I’m pretty sure mine was The Reunion after looking at several strangers plates. (Ok Creeeeppp). Drew had their recommended Huevos Rancheros.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We caught an Uber for the 30-minute drive to the Triangle’s Oktoberfest. We did NOT expect to spend all day here but we did!  Pre-purchase your tickets which I believe were about $30 for all you could drink cup option but they have several to choose from. They open up an outdoor, riverside ampitheatre which is also used for concerts and your proceeds go to benefiting the rotary clubs, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and several other organizations.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

They had two large tents, a row of food and drink vendors, competitions, weiner dog races, brat and food stands, live music and performers, games and much more. (Sorry this video is sideways!) 

It was a great family-friendly crowd and we ended up shutting the place down with some new friends we met and Uber’d back to Raleigh with.

Reserve your Sunday for RECOVERY. We went to BREW Coffee Bar which was said to be an old train station converted to serve local beer and use coffee from Raleigh Coffee Company. When we got there it was the post-church, college study venue in a strip mall. Next door was Donatos Pizza which made my Ohioan husband go crazy with childhood memories and (to be honest) pizza on the hangover never sounded better!

On our second trip in December 2018 things were a bit more tame. It was a day trip with my dad and sister while in town for Christmas. Luckily it was a sunny (but windy and cold) day to wander around downtown. If you continue down S. Wilmington you’ll come up on the corner of the Capitol building. The North Carolina State Capitol is a 19th-century Greek Revival–style building with a statue of George Washington dressed as a Roman general in its rotunda.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can walk around the grounds to view the statues and views of the city and you can enter with a brief security scan before exploring the building. There are three levels and when it was decorated for Christmas it was beautiful! They have most rooms open including detailed signs of where the NC Supreme Court, Legislature, General Assembly and the two committee rooms on the opposite wings. There’s also a small library and a geology room.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A block and a half away from Beasley’s is Sir Walter Coffee where they host a board of pay-it-forward drinks, seasonal flavors and friendly service and treats. While we just stopped in for a drink to warm up they also had a beer menu for their late-night guests.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Take your drink and wander down to the historic Raleigh City Market.

The cobblestone streets are home to some venues, pet stores, restaurants and artsy boutiques. The market opened in 1914 and through the years hosted farmers with a variety of goods. Over the years it was sold and purchased from several owners for numerous purposes but it’s still a small corner of charm in the Raleigh.

If you’ve never been to The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar you. need. to. go. It was the largest menu selection I have ever seen and they were featured on the show Tanked. Every mash-up we had was insanely delicious, top-grade burgers and sushi. The portions are pretty large and easy to share. We loveddddd it and I can’t wait to go back!

 

We will of course be back in Raleigh soon and I’ll update you on everything else there is to do as we explore the area. If you have any suggestions or places we need to visit on the east coast let us know and until next time…

 

Cheers!

Marin

Girls Weekend in North Carolina

Want to increase your social media following this year? Ask me how.

We had just moved in to our new home in North Carolina and would host our first guests the next week. Over Labor Day 2018 two of my friends, Lauren and Tessa, made the drive down from West Virginia!

We were new to the area and had much less to do than the PNW but we still had a blast! The first day we had together was spent driving out to Caswell Beach on Oak Island. We chose the Oak Island stretch because of the liquor laws and the atmosphere. There were lots of young couples and about as many families during the busy weekend. Before you go, research what the rules for alcohol are , because some don’t allow it, then pack a cooler of canned beer and head out. 

We made the wise decision of eating lunch before heading out to take beach photos. Much like Oahu. Grab a table at Shagger Jacks for some seafood, burgers and simple drinks. It’s a short drive to the beach and free parking for  beachfront access. 

If you want to stay up to date and see more, follow me on Instagram!

We had a great time laying out on the beach since the sand was super soft and surprisingly clean. We were to the left of the Oak Island Pier that’s experienced multiple hurricanes and was built/rebuilt a total of three times from what I’m aware of. We liked playing in the warm Atlantic water even though we couldn’t see much. 

After a day in the sun, grilling at home and having friends over for game night was perfect. 

The next day we wanted to take our friends on a tour of Fort Bragg (something we usually do with any guests we have in a new area) and on up to the infamous Southern Pines. Southern Pines is just south of Pinehurst which is known for their world class golf courses and hosting several events. Southern Pines is easy to walk around eating, drinking and shopping in this area. Over the multiple trips we usually visit Chapmans, The Bell Tree, Neville’s and The Jefferson Inn. New favorites include the Mockingbird on Broad for unique gifts, Betsy’s Crepes for the infamous treats, Southern Pines Growler Co. and Southern Pines Brewing Company just a few minutes down the road. We have a few places on the still-need-to-visit list including Sweet Basil

If you’re looking for any suggestions, reach out! 

If you’re worried about having fun…don’t be.

On our way home we also stopped in at the hometown star of the show, and well loved by locals, The Mill at Puppy Creek. They frequently announce live music guests and have homestyle food with a few local and domestic beers. The thing that really sells this place, however, is that it is set in the woods down a gravel drive with an old mill feel next to a river. During Hurricane Florence it was amazing to see how many people volunteered times and services at The Mill to help block the rising river from destructing the restaurant again. 

There are basically two levels to the restaurant and bar with an outdoor seating patio perfect for twinkling lights and live music. It was not only fun to meet new friends but also get an initial bachelorette party for Lauren! (Hint: The Bud Light hat.)

How we feel after hosting a whirlwind Labor Day Girl’s Weekend.

If you’re familiar with anyone in a military or long-distance position you know how important it is to visit them and make an effort to explore a new place. We have lots of places left on our list but we are excited to get out and see the east coast! Please leave your suggestions below. 

Cheers!

Marin

Want to increase your social media following this year? Ask me how.

Day Trip: Paradise and Mt. Rainier

Need a writer or a hand with your social media strategy? Schedule your FREE Discovery Session now! 

If you’re familiar with Washington, you’re familiar with Mount Rainier
This stunning beauty is iconic whether you’re seeing it from I-5, on the  daily dog walk in my neighborhood, at the end of the parade field on Fort Lewis or visiting for the weekend. 

One of the many views of Rainier. This one from Madigan Hospital on Fort Lewis.

While my all-time favorite trip was hiking our way through the Olympic Peninsula, this is a close second.

Paradise is about 5,400 feet on the south slope of Mount Rainier in Mount Rainier National Park. This area includes Paradise Valley, Paradise Glacier (which is the source of the Paradise River), meadows, wildflowers, wildlife and much more.

I enjoyed the visitor’s center as well as how accessible the area is for all modes of transportation and ages of people. This was one of the most crowded, busiest places we had explored which made it feel very touristy instead of a sweet escape into wilderness but the further up you hiked, the more desolate it was. The only possible frustration here would be parking. There are several lots and roadside options (which we chose to do) so be prepared to drive around a bit and take the first spot you see if you don’t mind a small pre-hike warm up! 

Besides a fantastic view one of my favorite things about being on top of a mountain is the wind that silences out any other noise, the feeling of being on top of the world and the change of scenery as you climb from concrete parking lots to grassy meadows to sandy outlooks and rocky peaks. 

Paradise is so appropriately named because of this. Our friends were able to see a bear, deer and beautiful fall colors. Check out her Instagram and these photos she took! 

On August 20, 2017 we hiked halfway up Mount Rainier yesterday and agreed it was one of the MOST beautiful place we’ve been. To get there you’ll need a National Park Pass (free for military) or $30 per vehicle (includes all passengers, good for seven consecutive days.) You will get a map but follow signs for Paradise Road. The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is the busiest visitor center and is open year round. Next door is the Paradise Inn. Enjoy the views on the way in!

This area of Mount Rainier National Park is basically a glacier-covered volcano but it’s also home to the park’s most popular trails. We opted for the longest of the three options known as  Skyline Trail: 5.5 miles RT, 1700 feet elevation gain. 

View of Mt. Rainier through Paradise on the way down. 

While we didn’t see bears or deer we did see enough marmots they could consider renaming the mountain. Despite the endless warnings not to step on the grass there were still visitors climbing over to mess around. Hike Guides would consistently reprimand them and hikers coming down from the summit were passing us on the way down. After climbing the initial two miles you’ll get to Panorama Point which gives you an amazing view and an outhouse style toilet available to visitors (hilarious for jokes.)

As we kept climbing we wove in and out of grooved rock formations, gravel pathways, large rock navigation, snow and a few creative jumps across frozen creeks to maneuver where we wanted. We stopped a few hundred feet from where people were changing for the base camps to summit. In a matter of hours we had started in a sunny, hot August day and ended in a near-freezing winter wonderland. It’s the coolest experience! 

The end of Skyline Trail on Mount Rainier

Where was your favorite place to visit in the PNW? Leave it below in the comments and make sure to add Paradise to your next trip.

Cheers!

Marin

Need a writer or a hand with your social media strategy? Schedule your FREE Discovery Session now! 

The Mountains Are Calling: Mount Si

Looking for someone to handle your social media? Need a guest writer? Ask about our services. 

Sigh…

Si what I did there? 

Okay. I’m done. Mount Si (pronounced sigh) was our last big hike we did before leaving Washington. As any other Sunday we headed out on July 8, 2018 around 11 a.m. to climb a mountain.

From a previous hike at Rattlesnake Ledge, another must do!, we had seen and heard all the rave about Mount Si. Si is in the Snoqualmie Area and is 8 miles round-trip. As far as elevation goes you’ll get a gain of 3,150 ft in under four miles. The highest point is 3,900 ft. From using our WTA app I found out this mountain was very important to the Snoqualmie people.

“In the legends of the Snoqualmie people, Mount Si was the body of the moon, fallen to earth through the trickery of the fox and the blue jay.”

 

This was a dog-friendly hike so we were taking our German Shepherd/Saluki Mix, Argo, and Drew’s pack. It was the ideal hiking day; maybe even a little too hot: Clear and 72 degrees. As soon as we got near the infamous peak and sheer edges were showing off for us. It’s intimidating to view this driving in but soooo satisfying when you’re driving away. Feeling like a badass=addicting. 

Post-Hike IG story. Can you see Argo’s tired head waiting for ice cream?
IG: @marinslocalcollab

It’s important to note that they have a parking lot but you might find it difficult to find a spot. If it’s a great day expect to create a spot like we (and many others) did. They also have a bus option to shuttle in and out if you don’t want to bother driving. They also have bathrooms and a water spout at the trailhead.

On the way up you have an opportunity to learn about the Snag Flat and how the mountain survived logging, mining, fires, and other natural causes. The trail you walk actually was once a 4×4 track. 

Finding squirrels and chipmunks

By the time we started our hike up it was 12:45 p.m. With a few stops to enjoy the view, catch my breath and dog breaks we reached the top at 1510 (or 3:10 p.m.) 

From the top we could see beautiful Mount Rainier, Snoqualmie Valley, Seattle, and the Olympics. If you look down and around you you can also see small wildlife.

We took turns holding the dog while the other navigated through jagged rocks to climb even further to the peak. If you’re able, go a little bit further up. The view changes with every few feet and you get closer and closer to a 360 view. The true summit is called Haystack.

In early spring, climbers getting ready for Rainier come here with weighted packs. Conventional wisdom says if they can reach the end of the trail in under two hours, they’re ready to conquer the state’s tallest peak. 

WTA

The top is mostly rocks so don’t expect shade for your lunch or snack break. I recommend lots of water, a hat and crouching down under the tree or large rocks you’ll find for shade. 

We started heading down at 3:45 p.m. and were back in the truck by 5:30 p.m. I remember how much my knees HURT so wearing proper hiking gear, layers and good boots will make a world of difference. No, we never used poles. 

As I shared on my Facebook and Instagram (FOLLOW ME FOR REAL TIME UPDATES!)

Conquered Mount Si today and HOLY KNEES AND CALVES this was no joke! 8 miles in 5 hours. We gained about 1,000 ft in elevation per mile and reached the elevation 3,500 ft. Perfect hiking day with clear views of all the cities and #mountrainier ! 😍
.
.
.
#mountsi#climb#hike#explore#adventurer#getoutdoors#optoutside#pnw#themountainsarecalling#mountains#workoutcomplete#sundayfunday#upperleftusa

This kicked my ass!

Not only was it a steep and slightly challenging hike there were a lot of people on the trail (100,000 per year hike this trail) and I was at the battle of some health issues that would last a few months. But, as with all of our hikes, I was impressed that I was capable of handling something like that in good time and the view is always worth it.

Don’t let this scare you away though! Novice hikers are just as welcome and enjoy it just as much. We had so many friends who denied (and continue to deny) exploring the areas we live in. If you just get out and try you will be in awe. You have no idea what you’re missing until you go see it for yourself. 

Cheers to getting outside and moving today!

Marin

Looking for someone to handle your social media? Need a guest writer? Ask about our services. 

Say It To My Screen: The Impact Testimonials Have On Small Businesses

Special Offer Now Live! Expires October 31, 2018

Don’t wait, click to activate!

You’re sitting there, starving for something to eat but you definitely won’t be making it. You click open a new tab and start searching for delivery, clicking anything over four…ok, settle for three stars. You start skimming through reviews to see who actually has the most authentic street tacos and if there’s a photo; even better, you’re going there.


You’re driving down the long winding road you take to get home every day, singing every word to that song you just can’t stand and DA-DUNK you’ve hit a pothole and hear the dreaded rumbling of a flat tire that (of course) had to bend your frame and throw off the alignment.

Time to look for a trusted shop who will accept your insurance, replace the broken pieces without overcharging you and get it all done in a timely manner. Bonuses include filling your tank or washing up. How do you know what to expect?

By reading client reviews!


lyneda testimonial


If there’s anything we’ve learned by living in a mega-connected world it’s that every person has the ability to speak their mind. Some welcome; some not so welcome.

The first place a client is likely to go after being overcharged for their manicure, a shotty job on their plumbing or an expensive wedding earring that broke like a twig on the big day (…….) is to the vendor’s social media page. Here you can leave an in-depth review on your experience: the good, the bad, the ugly.

 

Why are businesses so eager to ask if your pet had a great time at their vet appointment if they know it could potentially lead to a nasty, exposing comment?

 

Because word-of-mouth is the number one referral. What you’ve turned out to subconsciously view before taking any considerable purchasing action is to hear from others like you.

People who also had the same combo skin and were looking for a great facewash.

People who also went to that movie theatre and found gum under their seat.

People who are on the same path to a similar fitness goal and worked with that trainer.

There is comfort in numbers and there is comfort in knowing what to expect.


rogge testimonial


So how do you, as a business owner, provide your customers with an experience they’ll want to rave about?

 

The more ‘stars’ and/or higher ratings you have will bump your business to the top of a potential customer’s Google search. The higher up you appear, the more click-throughs you receive, the more business you close, the more sales you make. The more attention others can draw to your business, the better.

  1. Provide an experience they’ll want to talk about. A meal, a service or a simple exchange is all about the experience. People are craving connection and experiencing something shareable. What stickers, backdrop or colors can you use that are photo-friendly? What fun hash tag can they include on that photo? What is a unique way to bring the check to the table? Can you provide a surprise to the service that you don’t advertise? (A car wash, a gas fill, an air freshener, items to hang the photo, a welcome home sign, a journal with a thank you note, etc.) If you need help brainstorming some creative ideas, let’s talk.
  2. Provide the social proof. Get legit! Every business is out for a certain purpose; usually to help, to entertain or to please in some way. Even if you have ONE review it’s proof that you’re in business and someone actually went there. Instant trust and often a deciding factor. Photos and videos you provide are meant to be aesthetically pleasing but coming from the smartphone of a client is the raw, real image of what to expect. ALWAYS respond and thank someone for leaving a review.
  3. The gift that keeps on giving. When asking someone how their experience was, thank them for coming and ask them to share their experience online. Some people offer a giveaway or another small gift as a way to say thank you. DO NOT BUY the review but incentivize. For example, if someone gives you a kind review, interact with them in public and automate a thank you email with a 10% off coupon for their next visit. They will keep spreading the word about you and you’ll reap the benefits of repeat and new business.
  4. You don’t get what you don’t ask for. Similar to #3, people need to be told what to do. If you don’t ask for referrals, if you don’t ask for a review, if you don’t make it clear what you want then they’re probably indifferent to leaving a review, regardless of the great time they had. Every bit of feedback you receive, positive or negative, is feedback you can use to improve your business. Once you ask is it easy for them to find and use? I’ve started leaving great reviews for companies but they wanted me to keep going and going and copy/paste my review on multiple platforms…it’s too much. Have them review you on Facebook and you can copy/paste it to your website.
  5. Get the employees in on it. Like a bonus structure but without the pushy perfume lady. Make it easy for customers to see your employee’s name and be able to shout them out online. It brings a personal touch to your company, makes the client feel like they can come back to see a friend and praises the employee for a job well done which will add fuel to the fantastic customer service fire. Encourage employees to leave a review online. You can add a light-hearted competition, a day off or another perk for every milestone of reviews.

Do you know how to respond to negative reviews? Not many people do.

Ask me how.


Donze testimonial


How, can we as customers, leave a constructive review?

Whether good or bad you might still want to talk about it. Unless there was a glaring issue, I usually avoid leaving a poor review. In many cases that is someone’s job or how they’re paying for their daughter’s dance lessons. There’s no reason for me to ruin their dream because it wasn’t the best food I have ever had.

How can we help these businesses out?

  1. Leave a review. Sounds simple but even just sliding the stars to the right without copy is better than nothing at all!
  2. Be specific. Can you include a name of someone who helped you? Did they have ‘good beer’ or did they have ‘the best IPA I’ve ever had! Try the Piggyback Peach when you visit this brewery.’ These keywords help the business’s SEO by pulling up the most relevant keywords. The more matches of closely related search and content pairs up to provide the best result. If someone is looking for the “Best restaurant for girls night out” and you wrote a review saying “Best spot in town for a girls night out” it’s like the internet angels are singing.
  3. It’s a visual world. Include photos and videos of what makes this place unique or what you most like to look at. If you order drinks based on their cool-factor, post a photo with the type of drink you’re enjoying. A beautifully plated meal. A well-lit back patio with live music. The menu. The ambience or the outside of the building. Help patrons get an idea of what to expect and what to look for.

Is your business taking advantage of this branding opportunity? Do you know what your highest performing SEO keywords are? I can help.


ashleylayton testimonial.PNG


Having said that, if you’re still leaving a ‘negative’ review make sure it’s filled with constructive criticism. Businesses then have a chance to respond, apologize or compensate. Pay attention to how they respond.

  1. Did you talk to the business? Things happen. People have off days. If possible, talk to the business before you go public. The service experience doesn’t end once the transaction goes through. If you’ve given them a fair chance to reply and correct the problem then give credit for their attention to fixing the problem.
  2. Keep to the facts. What happened, not what you interpreted. Did you just not like the shade of white she painted your walls or did she do it ‘because she was lazy’? Is she really bad at haircuts or just botched yours because ‘she thought you wouldn’t tip’?
  3. Keep the emotion out of it. If they were providing a personal service such as a lawyer, doctor, masseuse, wedding planner, etc. and acted in a blatantly unprofessional manner then this is important to report. Say what you need to say while realizing slander and libel are very real things.
  4. They’ve lost my business. So? If they lose the $20 you’d spend on the next visit would they really go in the red? If a stranger is reading your review and has no clue who you are is that helpful to them or is it just dramatic? A simple “I won’t be returning” or “I might go back here in the future but only as a last resort” is more helpful for patron’s to decide how they stack up against competition.

 

If you want some help on receiving or publishing reviews, remember a phone call is always free.

 

Cheers!

Marin

Don’t forget to share and take advantage of the October Promotion!

$50 off your service by activiating here.

Expires October 31, 2018

Cross-Country Road Trip: Part One of Three

Ah, yes, PCS season. Can you just smell the cardboard box and endless pizza for every meal?

This summer was the first move my husband and I did together and it was a full PCS from the Army. We drove two cars with our belongings and dog from Washington state to North Carolina before settling into home number two.

I wanted to share our cross-country road trip for the hundreds of questions I see about where people should go or what they should do. It will also be fun to look back on our trips and showcase the food, drinks, hikes and sights we experienced along the way.

If you would like to see a separate piece on how to prep for a PCS or move, let me know in the comments!

We spent weeks prepping our house for the move so by the time the packers came to load up our belongings it felt like a relief to get things moving. They took two days to pack our household goods and load them into the truck. We slept on an air mattress for another two to three days before starting our cross-country road trip.

Leaving our first home together was surprisingly emotional for me (maybe not so surprising?) as it marked several big milestones in our relationship. If you’re following me on Instagram you would have seen the tribute.

**We still can’t find the GoPro from the move so enjoy my phone’s photos!**

www.mylocalcollaborative.com


Friday, July 20: Lacey, WA to Bend, OR

We always had Bend on our bucket list because it was an adventurer’s paradise but we never made the long drive with so many other things to do near us. A cross-country move made perfect sense to stop down and it was more dog friendly than our Coeur d’Alene route. At 11 a.m. we left our WA home for Bend, OR. There were a few stops and traffic but we made it to our hotel at the time Google Maps said (5:30 pm.) The drive gave me more SW desert vibes than I was expecting. Once we got into Portland we had constant views of Mount Bachelor and Mount Hood and others in the range.

If you missed our Portland trip, check it out here.

Our route took us through Mount Hood National Park  which looked like it offered amazing hikes and winter sports.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We chose to stay at La Quinta’s as often as we could because they were relatively cheap/same price as other hotels once you add on the dog fine. They ‘served breakfast’ and definitely varied in quality but a good option for consistently knowing what to look for and include your dog at no extra cost! We also racked up a ton of points once the trip was over which can be used for free nights.

Once we checked in at La Quinta in Bend we noticed they had nice rooms even for dog rooms, good breakfast, dog treats upon check-in, and an outdoor poop bag and grass area. This was one of the more expensive hotel locations we stayed at as well. (Summer in a major destination and during a state tournament.) We drove a few miles into downtown which we didn’t mind and walked the streets and a loop around Drake Park. This path takes you over a bridge, large grassy areas and serene views for how busy it is right along the Deschutes River.

 

Stop into the Bend Brewing Company for some food and drinks: DOGS AND KIDS WELCOME! They have a cool indoor and patio area if you’re looking for AC but we went outside in the grassy area where they had some picnic style seating and cornhole with views of the river. They had two outdoor tents for beer and food. Our tacos were definitely not amazing but we had to leave because Argo got a little bad toward the end… Anyone else deal with insane rescue dogs with issues?! Great.


Saturday July 21. Day Two in Bend, OR
Time to walk off those beers! We drove out to Tumalo State Park (Bring $5 to park.) to walk the Deschutes River Trail. There were a few other people out hiking but not much wildlife…except for a little snake that popped out in front of me and scared me. Yeah, Drew isn’t letting me live that one down.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Even though it’s not a difficult hike it is very dusty with some hills and rougher terrain so I suggest hiking boots or tennis shoes. The Bridgwalk gives you clear views of the river on your left and right before coming up on private properties. Keep your dogs on the leash and on the trail is all they ask.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We noticed lots of families hanging out at picnic areas for their weekend celebrations and playing in the shallow, calm parts of the river if you wanted to cool off after hiking. In total we walked about 1.5-2 miles.

 

If you plan on (and you should) check out the gorgeous Tumalo Falls LISTEN UP! This took up a good chunk of our time and it looked like several other people experienced the same confusion. If you follow your GPS you WILL get lost. If you follow these directions then you’ll be better off. Ask your hotel/Airbnb or local friends for directions beforehand.

Directions to Tumalo Falls. www.mylocalcollaborative.com

You’ll know you’re in the right place when you’re at a long, gravel road. It’s very bumpy with some potholes but not impassable in smaller cars. Arrive at the payment box and grab the $5 day pass to hang in your window. Drive up the road to see if you get lucky for a spot. We did! There are bathrooms, trash cans and billboards at the top for guests and there will be two different paths to choose from. If you’re facing the bathrooms take a left for the outlook. You can go up the outlook trail which is about 1/4 mile; fairly steep. Take this all the way up to the top railings for awesome shots from above.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

As you work your way down go on that small dirt unmarked path that will be on your left. It’s a very narrow and tricky trail to get you “behind” aka right next to the waterfall.

It was so loud and powerful you will get the wind and spray from the falls but the rocks and power of it are amazing for an 80 some-foot waterfall. It was about 45 minutes for the entire time we were exploring.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On our way back into town I had my gas pumped for the first time at a Shell. Apparently this is a law in Oregon but I have never experienced that before! We visited Crux Fermentation Project for some beer and food. We weren’t the biggest fan of the beers we tried but we enjoyed the outdoor seating area, yard games and food and drink stands outside. Again, kids and dogs are allowed with their families; at least outside.

We grabbed some brats from the food truck “Dats Brat” which were really good after a long, hot day and no food. Head back to the hotel for showers before driving out to Spork for supper. We placed the order inside and took a quick nighttime walk around that neighborhood while we waited. Their take on Asian/Mexican fusion was DELICIOUS and the interior looked like it would be fun for the night. If you’re looking for recommendations we ordered the chips and salsa, carnitas sando and spicy fried chicken with kimchi.


Sunday, July 22. Day 3 in Bend

We arrived at Tumalo Creek Rentals by noon and decided to rent a canoe for two hours for $70 which was enough time to reach the bridge landmark and come back. Argo did pretty well in the middle of us but he tried a couple times to step out and get the ducks or geese swimming in the river. He also liked drinking the water my oar would push back which was hilarious. If canoeing isn’t your thing here were lots of canoe, kayak and floaters and a very small waterfront dog park.

After turning in the canoe we walked around town where there were plenty of places to eat, drink and shop. We went back to Drake Park to walk around and visit the downtown area again. Argo got his first bath today in the hotel and the water basically ran black. With a wiped out dog, Drew and I went to the Deschutes Public House . If you have ever been to a Deschutes location you’ll understand what is offered here. It is a few minutes drive from the original brewery if you’re wanting to check that out. This location had great service and food and the outside was beautiful. I really LOVED their Earl Grey and Pacific Wonderland beers. We drove back to a beautiful sunset against the mountain silouhette before relaxing in the hotel and booking our next few days.


Monday, July 23. Bend to Twin Falls, ID
This hotel is right next to a Dutch Bros so we made a run before heading out by 10 a.m. heading for Twin Falls, Idaho. This drive was a really long stretch of nothing. Desert and dry grass.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We didn’t have to stop for gas until Vail for gas and I noticed this area was covered with signs that said ‘Onion Country.’ I didn’t realize this but they ship over 1,000,000,000 pounds of onions a year. About an hour later you’ll drive through Boise. We arrived in Twin Falls at 6 p.m. where stayed at a La Quinta. This was probably the nicest room we stayed at on the entire trip.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The room keys offered a free appetizer from the nearby Outback Steakhouse so we placed carry-out and made the short drive over to Centennial Waterfront Park while we waited. This park is the overlook while you see driving over the Perrine Bridge and it reminded me of Fern Gully. It was stunning to look at a lush, green canyon at the base of a desert!

This Snake River Canyon boasts a sophisticated green golf course and area on the inside for a meal with a view. From inside the valley you get a clear, full view from the top of Perrine Bridge where Evil Kennievel’s unsuccessful jump took place.

As you’re driving into the canyon, look to your left for the insanely impressive Perrine Coulee Falls. There are cement blocks you can climb over to admire the views or you can crawl carefully through the mini forest to get a view. It reminded me a lot of Latourell Falls in Oregon.


Tuesday, July 24: Twin Falls, ID to Salt Lake City
Breakfast was best here, too!! We woke up with a little bit of bed head…

15 mins from the hotel was Shoshone Falls. This was absolutely beautiful! A must see, it’s nicknamed the Niagara Falls of the West but they are higher than Niagara Falls.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The falls were formed from glaciers years ago and they now appear as multiple waterfalls stacked on top of each other. It is only $3/vehicle and they have restrooms and a concession stand for visitors. There are several lookout points for adults, kids and pets to enjoy.

A short drive up is Dierkes Lake but they don’t allow dogs.

It was about 3 to 4 hours driving from Twin Falls to Salt Lake City, Utah. There was a weird rain and windstorm that freaked me out a little but once we got back into the city I was okay. At that point it was definitely one of my more stressful days of driving…little did I know (HA!)

If you’re not already subscribed make sure to type in your email and you’ll never miss a thing. We have some awesome promos coming up so if you, or someone you know, wants to link up for marketing and branding help, reach out!

Cheers!
Marin

KEEP READING: Part Two of Three

 

Get More Social Media Engagement

In college, I majored in Journalism and Mass Communications. I was guided into a Public Relations degree, interned with an award-winning advertising agency and later played the role of a Marketing Manager. When it comes to mass communications and digital marketing, it’s not just the Millennials who are using social media for their benefit…all businesses should be maximizing their efforts. Every day I see people failing in this 

Social media provides a 24/7 connection at no cost to provide stories to establish connections and persuasion to sell and purchase products. While reading my latest JMC Update publication I came across some helpful, and very useful, social media statistics. The full magazine is available here but let’s look at the page I mentioned. I am going to walk you through the stats you can decide which platforms work best for your goals.

Why is this important?

  • 6 out of every 10 people in the U.S. will use social networks this year and the average person spends more than 5 years of their life on social media.
  • Businesses are hiring pros to focus on potential outreach and increase their revenues via free or low-paid services.

jmc update

  • 93 percent of Pinterest users use the platform to make purchases or plan future purchases.
    • Pinterest is best for those selling a physical or visual product. This is a great place to share your finished interior design photos, pretty cupcakes or recipes, decorated dorm room, candles and much more. If you’re an engagement, wedding, newborn or other special occasion photographer you have a huge potential to watermark and upload your photos for sharing.
    • The biggest key in any of these products is linking back to your website! If they are actively engaged and like what you’re doing but you don’t guide them back to help serve them, shame on you turning customers away. You can easily automate this through your website and a software like IFTTT. By connecting all of my initial automations, I can now see each blog with an image included shared on my board. People are saving them and reaching out for business.
    • Include plenty of keywords so you show up in searches. If you need any help with these, please let me help you!

  • 200 million people use Instagram stories per month. Plus, top brands post 4.9 times per week on Instagram.
    • I personally prefer using IG stories to Snapchat stories. You can also go live and interact to your audience, save to your highlights and directly poll your viewers.
    • If top brands are encouraged to post 1.5 times/day or about 4.9 times/week that doesn’t sound like it adds up too much, huh? I suggest researching your top demographic, scheduling or posting at the times they’re most likely active online to make the most of your engagement. By staggering times and days to test your results you will see what your audience is wanting and when.
    • Start by posting once daily in your theme and a pattern that will appear cohesive and beautiful to viewers.
    • Even if you’re a personal brand, switch to a business profile. You will see your stats live and have the potential to grow where you want to.

IG STORIES TRICK: There are a few requirements to use the See More swipe-up feature including having an IG Business account and at least 10k followers. If you have neither there are a few loopholes. Reach out if you want to learn the workaround.

  • 100 million hours of video content is watched on Facebook daily. 79 percent of American internet users are on Facebook.
    • You know how the videos on your timeline will start up without you pressing play? A majority of the time you will continue to watch the video and automatically be transferred to one similar. By going LIVE on Facebook you have the chance to engage with your audience. The best way to do this is to notify them the day before or day of so they know what to look forward to. If you have something to share immediately, the best way to be authentic is to…be authentic! Go live, don’t worry about correct grammar or the best lighting. Be as clear in your messaging and this video will live on in your network’s timeline.
    • Creating visual content that encourages people to share or prompts them to take action will expose you to new audiences. With 79 percent of users on Facebook, it’s a pillar that can (and should) be included in every social media campaign effort.
  • 67 percent of Americans report getting their news from social media.
    • No wonder this last election stirred up so much controversy. Using Facebook, Google searches or other online platforms as a news source is commonplace. If you can create news, write an article or share/create something newsworthy then you’re well on your way to fitting this niche and making yourself relevant.
    • Did you know NEWS stands for notable events weather and sports? Make stories newsworthy by including pieces after your hook and before your CTA that include recent events or happenings especially.

  • U.S. social network ad spending is expected to hit $26,007,137,644.75 in 2018.
    • The best form of advertising is word of mouth and referrals. This cuts the corner of having to achieve a know, like and trust factor with potential clients. People are well-aware of ad spending and targeted marketing when faced with certain topics or searches. To avoid being blocked, create your own posts. Look at what works well and replicate or boost for a few dollars. I wouldn’t boost a post that didn’t include a CTA asking to purchase a product or service.
    • You looking for someone to help with your ad targeting? I’ve got a girl. Let me know if you want to connect with her.

  • Posts with emoticons receive 33 percent more engagement than those without.
    • Emoticons, or emojis, offer a visual and creative way to express your message to followers. It’s the best way to reach a casual, informative, playful or expressive message. For example, Domino’s Pizza tweeted pizza emojis in the shape of a larger pizza emoji and used this to help their campaign Domino’s Pizza Anywhere.
    • Use GIFs, emojis or other fun communication to engage your audience.
  • The average internet user has 7.6 different social media accounts.
    • Sounds like a lot right? If you include your email or digital accounts and how connected you more than likely are this will add up quickly. I personally have Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter (not active), Pinterest, WordPress, and two email accounts. So this stat is fairly accurate.
    • If you’re looking for a way to reach the largest audience possible, post on every platform (automate sharing to make this easier) but pay special attention to your followers. If someone comments, comment back. Like their comments. Respond to messages or share testimonials. This is the most powerful resource you have.

 

You have an idea and the facts to stand behind what platform you choose to pursue. If you haven’t read my blog post on creating quality content head back over to the blog page after this.
Cheers!

Marin

You tired of reading about engagement and you want your own REAL results? Let’s work together.