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Mary E Robb

Millennial Lifestyle Blogger

7 Dallas Boutiques & Clothing Stores Worth Shopping At

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Finding a clothing store that fits your style, your body and your budget takes thought, time and research. For someone who is impatient when shopping for clothes and only satisfied with instant results, taking time to find these stores was not at the top of my list [does this make me less of a girl?!]. Well, I finally began my quest when I reached out to my Facebook friends for some suggestions and did some homework. After researching and visiting numerous stores in the DFW, here are my top 5! Shoutout to everyone who gave me suggestions on Facebook – this is why I’m a HUGE advocate for social media! [connect with me here]

  1. Francesca’s
  2. Accents
  3. Milk & Honey
  4. H&M
  5. Nordstrom Rack
  6. Express
  7. Target

Apartment Decorating On A Budget: My Dream Dallas Apartment

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How do I decorate my apartment on a budget?

This is the first question I asked myself after I stumbled upon the Dallas apartment of my dreams. I previously sold the furniture from my last apartment and was ready to start fresh. It was time for me to do some research and think long and hard about what exactly I wanted my apartment to convey. What is my style? Did I want to be shabby chic? Pink and classic? Clean and modern? I think I ended up with a mix of all three.

First thing’s first:

I set a budget. I had a rent budget and money saved up to buy the furniture I needed. This helped me set the parameters for my own little reality. From here, I was able to determine how much I wanted to spend per room.

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How I found the place:

I used several popular apartment search engines to look for a complex within 15 minutes from work but also 15 minutes from downtown. When I was walking through a complex I had found online, I saw a taller, newer complex in the horizon, just across the street. 5 minutes later, I found it. We toured the grounds and several units…apologies to my leasing agent – but a year is a long commitment to a 24 year old, not just financially! Most my research was done online and I found my place the same day I went out to tour the complexes in person. I’ll admit, I got really lucky.

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How I found the furniture:

Through a little trial and error, I furnished my apartment using four major furniture retailers: Weirs, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Target and Etsy. I bought a couch from Target that ended up being too small and stiff. After waiting two weeks for it to be shipped and being quickly let down upon it’s arrival, I put aside my pride and decided to take a stroll down the aisles of America’s furniture destination: Nebraska Furniture Mart. I was shocked to find a couch twice the size, three times the quality, and for the same price as the Target couch. And it was modern. The even bigger benefit? I took it home that night!

Interior features:

After working for a home builder for six months, my eye for architectural elements was enhanced. I’m in love with my complex because the designer incorporated several modern elements: single basin kitchen sink, stainless steel appliances, modern kitchen cabinets, white granite with large bar for up to four bar stools, pendant lighting, dark wood floors, wine bar, modern plumbing fixtures, under-mount bathroom sinks, ceiling fans in both living and bedroom, long and wide white tile in the bathroom, laundry chute, separate tub and shower, large walk in closet, pool view, balconies with wooden wall paneling, and my favorite – 12 foot ceilings.

Property features:

Moving into a brand new complex at only 30% capacity is always nice because the gym equipment is brand new, there isn’t a ton of noise, neighbors aren’t really a thing yet and the parking garage has plenty of space. The clubhouse is accessible 24/7, so if you’re like me and one of the only people in the world without a Keurig, you can use the one in the club house. There’s also a dog park, modern pool with cushioned chaise lounge chairs, fire pit and open parking for guests on the streets and in the garage.

BEFORE

These photos were taken the day I first saw this complex. My dreams became a reality in a short matter of two days. Job offer came in Friday, and I found my apartment on Sunday. It’s weird how timing works out the way it does. I blame God.

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AFTER

This is a starting point for me. I plan to add more pieces and decor as time goes on. I had to start completely over as I had sold 90% of the furniture from my previous apartment. I decided it was time to start over fresh, with decorations and selections I chose, not hand me downs or furniture I used in college.

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Shoutout to my best friend for the “When life hands you lemons grab the vodka and call the girls” dish towel and “Spoon Me!” spoon holder.

Shoutout to my handy man boyfriend for building all of the furniture in my home that I ordered online from Target. I would’ve been lost without you!

Shoutout to my dad for allowing me to shack up in your house for three months to save the money I needed to make this move.

Here’s a list of where I got everything and a rough estimate of how much I spent where:

Target: $2,000

  • 3 bar stools
  • 2 chairs
  • White shaggy rug
  • Modern glass coffee table + matching end table
  • Nate Berkus faux fur pillows + matching stool
  • Standing Desk
  • TV stand
  • 50″ TV ($250 on Black Friday! Worth the short 30 minutes I waited)

Nebraska Furniture Mart: $700

  • Large velvet couch with 3 matching pillows
  • Delivery: JT Clark Trucks & Inc. (Free)

Weirs: Free (thanks Dad!)

  • Bedroom TV Chest
  • Tall dresser

Etsy: $550

  • Custom made headboard

World Market: $250

  • Pictures
  • Bedside table
  • Lamps
  • Rugs
  • Picture Frames

Francesca’s: $100

  • Picture holder #Blessed
  • Coasters “Life of the party” “Drink Me” “On The Rocks”
  • Dish Towel
  • Spoon Me spoon holder

West Elm: $250

  • Pillows
  • Mirrored Trey
  • Symmetry Objects

Other: I already had bedding from my previous apartment which I bought a year ago at Home Goods. I also already had the chair in my bedroom. A handful of accessories were also carried over, most likely from Home Goods, Target or Hobby Lobby.

Grand total: I spent somewhere around $5,000 total for this move. That included moving fees, deposits, furniture, accessories etc. That’s a steal. I used Groupon for the movers. I got the first two weeks rent for free plus 1 month of rent free (divided by 12) to lower my monthly rent payment. I recommend finding brand new complexes when looking for an apartment because they typically have amazing deals to fill the place.

Ask me anything in the comments below, tell me how you made your dream apartment become a reality 🙂

Mexican BBQ Pork Tacos

 

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What’s better than a freshly cooked meal you don’t have to prepare upon arrival at your humble abode after a long day’s work?

Yeah, I couldn’t think of anything either.

My $10 investment two black Fridays ago continues to gift again and again. The handy dandy good ole crock pot serves as my go to dinner during busy work weeks. I spent 5 minutes making my dinner today. Two of those were spent this morning plugging in the crock pot and throwing in the ingredients.

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Mexican BBQ Pork Tacos

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Prep Time: 5 Min.

Servings: 6 (2 tacos per serving)

Ingredients:

  • Hormel Marinated Pork Filet (Kroger has buy one get one free RN)
  • 1 can of Dr. Pepper
  • BBQ Sauce – pick your favorite
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • Frozen Corn
  • Butter (ICBINB Substitute)
  • Sour Cream (Light)
  • Pico De Gallo
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Mission Low-Carb Tortillas
  • Slap Ya Mama Seasoning

Morning Prep:

In the morning, reserve a few minutes to add the pork, Dr. Pepper, half a bottle of BBQ sauce and can of tomatoes to the crock pot. I didn’t strain the tomatoes which made the pot more watery which is what I was going for. I set the crock pot to 10 hours so it would cook slowly all day and be ready once I got home.

Evening Prep:

In the evening, take a large serving fork and pull apart the pork. Instant pulled pork tacos are underway. Next, pull out your tortillas and add the pork, sour cream, cilantro, pico and cheese. Take a small bowl, add the frozen corn, butter, cilantro and seasoning and heat in the microwave 1.5 minutes. I like to heat the tacos 30 seconds to melt the cheese and warm up the tortillas. And you’re done!

Who Will Win The Bachelor?

Ben Higgins. Season 20. 2016. Lauren B.

Lauren B

That’s the short of it, my prediction of the final rose recipient. Just go to :20 in this video below. First impressions are everything and I could tell in the way Ben reacted when he saw Lauren B. that he would be choosing her.

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I may not be a professional matchmaker yet, but I have a lot of confidence in my decision. My top 3 (in the slight chance I may be off) are Lauren B., Olivia and Caila. Olivia because she’s a beautiful TV anchor with a lot more to offer than just good looks. Stalk her Instagram here. Caila because she’s also a quirky, fun, playful, borderline dorky software sales rep like Ben. All three of these women seem to fit Ben’s style. He needs a woman with a down-to-earth personalty who has a sense of reality. He seems less drawn to the flashy, ditzy, Instagram model, bottle service hopping twenty-somethings. Not to say that no men like women like that – trust me, I know some do. But these three I have chosen appear to be above the other women in that they haven’t been sucked into the Hollywood reality-scripted-TV-persona that many of the other women have already portrayed.

You might ask why this matters and who cares? Well, let’s just say post-grad life (it’s almost been two years) becomes less exciting when it comes to extracurricular activities. I don’t get home until the sun is down (cross off any fun outdoor activities) and bar hopping during the week, [despite the instant FOMO I feel deep in my soul every time Drake tells me I should be going up on a Tuesday], is just not in the books for me anymore. So to make my week more exciting this winter, I chose to follow a dating reality show on my Mondays because it’s fun to make fun of people, it’s fun to play a guessing game, and it’s fun to be right. Which I will be when Lauren B wins the Bachelor!!!

Wanna become a super freak and fill out a fantasy draft for this life changing show? Go to the link here, let’s compare players. That’s enough for now. PS Tell me who you’re guessing is going to win!

XXXO~

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Lauren B

A Very Mary Christmas

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As I hid tucked away in a study closet, I realized one thing. This weather sure does not feel like Christmas. The moment our phones buzzed with the “tornado warning” message in sync with the tornado sirens outside, John was ready to herd Zoey and I to the downstairs “safe room”. They say over time dogs inherit the personality of their owners. I like to think it’s more situational – but on this day, I’ll admit… both the dog and I showed signs of similarity as we were corralled to the first floor closet. Sarcasm came from my mouth “there’s not even a tornado outside, I don’t see it” while befuddlement and mass confusion shook from Zoey’s hind legs as she darted from corner to corner before John finally captured the animal. Once we made it to our shelter, we locked ourselves in. After a short sixty seconds went by, the drama ended as we were relieved to hear a silence outside, the tornado alarm slowly fading away. Relief was felt for half an hour before round two.

The second tornado warning was taken more seriously. At least by me. My heart fell to my stomach as my fear level went from a mild 15% to a more appropriate for any normal person in this situation 60%. My thought process started to hinder as the idea of a tornado happening became more of a reality. I started rationalizing the tornado in my head “well, today was unusually muggy, humid and way too warm for comfort. Mid-70s on the day after Christmas? Could this be the beginning of Armageddon?” By this time, Zoey was panting loud and couldn’t keep still as the entire back half of her body was shaking in fear. John grabbed a flashlight and here we were again, this time streaming WFAA from my new pride and joy/Christmas present (thanks Dad-told you I needed it!) Luckily, we survived the theoretical Plano tornado. Others weren’t so lucky.

We’ve been involved with several events lately as the holiday season is coming to an end. The weekend before Christmas included six events – Friday night was a birthday party and ugly sweater party. Saturday, my mother and I united to engage in an annual tradition of having lunch at North Park and picking out some last minute Christmas presents. Saturday evening was my work Christmas party at a new, badass bowling ally in Plano. Sunday afternoon was spent with my little as we enjoyed a free BBBS event at Top Golf hosted by the Dallas Maverick’s Raymond Felton. And finally, Sunday evening, John’s mom took us to to see the Trans-Siberian orchestra at the AAC. *takes breath after this long run on sentence*

All the hustle and bustle of researching gift ideas, ordering presents online, shopping at malls, attending parties while maintaining your normal life took it’s toll on me this year. I almost started to forget the true meaning behind Christmas.

Then there were those three days at work just before Christmas Eve. Can I just say it’s nice to not have to fight traffic commuting during the holidays? But really – these days were breathing days as I’m getting caught up and all trained up at my new job.

Christmas Eve

Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day events were not any less crazy. Christmas Eve morning I fought my way through Central Market grabbing the ingredients I needed for our lunch. I took a risk and made a Pinterest inspired ham and cheese casserole for John, John’s Dad, my Dad and I. If you know me, you know I won’t cook anything if it takes more than an hour. Very easy to follow recipe and a HIT, especially with hungry men. It’s so delicious- Hawaiian rolls filled with fresh deli maple ham and your choice of cheese topped with a butter sauce (worcestershire sauce, butter, dried onions).

We exchanged gifts with our dads (thanks dad for my present-I’m putting it to use now writing this blog 🙂 and spent time enjoying each others company, sharing stories and eating good. Good as in yummy, yummy as in carbs… the not so healthy ones. But that’s the point of the holidays right? No boundaries.

Next we shuffled our way to Southlake to spend time at my mom’s house. She had spent the entire day preparing our meal. A talent I commend her for that I did not inherit. Maybe one day 🙂 Her food is always amazing. We were served filet mignon with a mushroom sauce, four cheese potato casserole, asparagus and homemade popover rolls. So delicious. Thanks Mom!

The next event of the evening was attending the Christmas Eve candlelight service at our family church. A wonderful combination of music and scripture reminded us of the true meaning behind the season.

We ended the night unwrapping a couple of gifts. Zoey was being especially cuddly, so we had to snap a picture of my princess-angel-face for the books.

 

Christmas Day

This was my favorite day. We were served yet another fabulous meal (Mom shoutout!) for breakfast, pic below. We opened presents and ended the morning with a walk to the park with the dogs. There’s a pretty little park with a small wooded area near my mom’s house with land and horses. I love walking around that area in hopes the horses will be right up on the fence. We let Zoey off her leash so she could run around. She looked like Bambi gallopping through the meadow as she was hopping and frolicking around like she’d never been set free before. Then she stopped- a dead stand still as if someone had just frozen her in a game of freeze tag. Knees locked, ears tall & tail vertical, pointing to the sky. She found the horses.

-And that’s all that happened. There was a fence that stopped her dead in her tracks, no herding or nipping happened. Moving on!

Next, we drove out to McKinney to spend time with Johns mom and grandmother. We were so happy to be able to spend time with his grandma as she just broke her hip and had to get a hip replacement over Thanksgiving. Luckily she was home and we were able to have our Christmas with her in her own home (not the hospital). By this time we were stuffed like turkeys, but we enjoyed yet another delicious meal. We opened presents, sipped wine and everyone was very lucky this year. With a group of four and several gifts to open, it was fun to watch each present be unwrapped. Some of us who weren’t used to this tradition got a little ahead of themselves (me) but it’s okay. We enjoyed ourselves.

We ended our night at the Gaylord Texan with some good friends that John’s known since he was a kid. At first it was a mad house and we started to question which part of the world we were actually in, but after grabbing a drink, the crowds died down and we walked around, enjoying the beautiful scenery and magical Christmas decorations.

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2015 was a good year for most people, including myself. The economy is back up, more people have jobs, and a lot of people had success. I personally made some career moves that ultimately were a pretty big risk but advanced me at a faster pace. Retail was very successful this year during the holiday season as people are buying things and everyone seems comfortable.

The entire season of Christmas was very busy for my boyfriend and I and sometimes I’d question why we put ourselves through so much stress. Whether it’s attending all the events I wanted to be at or shopping for friends and family, even though it’s all fun.. I still end up ungrateful or tired or stressed or simply aloof (apparently this is a dominant trait of the aquarius-so I’ll blame my astrological sign). But that’s when I realized it’s not about me, or the things I’ll buy, or the gifts I’ll give, or the food I’ll eat, or the outfit I’ll wear to that party. It’s about giving and showing my love for the people that have been with me throughout the entire year. Spending time with family and friends is, after all, my favorite thing to do. But most importantly, it’s about the love God has for us, that he gave us his only son to save us from our sins. The worldly “us”. The girl like me that gets wrapped up in the chaos and sometimes forgets what this entire season is truly about.

The tornado that happened just the day after Christmas left me feeling sad. I had just spent two days being showered with gifts and enough food for a small country. I had just spent two days with the people I love the very most, and I could sleep knowing I’d see them again soon. After the tornado hit, I was quickly reminded how fast things can be taken away. Why do things get taken away from people? Why is it that some people end up without their family, or shelter, or food, or a job?

A lesson I learned earlier this year after losing a friend taught me how thankful I should be for my life every. single. day. Even on the bad days. My bad days don’t even compare to other people’s bad days. This season I was reminded to cherish every moment, even during the super busy and stressful times. I’m blessed beyond words for the people in my life today. My relationships with my family continues to grow and get stronger. My new family through my boyfriend has been nothing less than amazing.  Christmas to me is all about being thankful for all of your blessings and spreading love to those around you. Every day can be a struggle if I allow it to be, but God has bigger plans for those who seek to have bigger minds and hearts. So thank you God for giving us a season to get us back on track and remember what it’s all about.

I wanted to share some fun photos and memories from my very “Mary” Christmas. I also wanted to share what I gathered from this season. Thank you to anyone who made it this far down my blog post. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

For more information on how to donate for those affected by the tornado, go to this link. 11 people didn’t survive and hundreds were left homeless. If you can’t donate, spread the word on how others can. ❤

Strategy: A Definition & Why It Matters

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It doesn’t matter what scenario you plug it into, it’s always important to have a strategy. How do I define strategy? In short, it’s simply a plan. In long, a well thought out actionable item designed to improve or increase something (i.e. sales) that includes a goal, steps in place to reach that goal, and lastly ways to measure the success of the strategy put in place.

Strategy is the bread and butter of marketing and advertising, but often times looked over. I can’t help but often wonder why this is so? I’ve come to a few conclusions based off observations of others and even myself: lack of focus, too many tasks at hand, a level of comfort, use of copy and paste strategies, lack of innovation, use of strategies that were created five years ago that are no longer relevant and/or engaging, lack of creativity, auto-pilot mode kicks in and poof there it goes; right out the window.

I’m definitely not perfect and am willing confess I sometimes hit walls. The good thing about working on a team is that if I can’t find a solution or come up with a different yet creative way of thinking or communicating, I can collaborate. To me, this is simply a fresh approach to the amazing reward that comes with planning, brainstorming and organizing thoughts into one gorgeous, electrifying, profitable and STRATEGIC marketing plan. It’s simply what we do, and that’s why we love it!

So…why strategy? Well, here’s a thought: have you ever wondered how a business is started? One of the first things an entrepreneur does (well a smart one) is they put together a business plan – or strategy – if you will. Typically it outlines the concept of the business, finances, timelines, marketing plans, goals and how the goals will be reached, products/services, markets served, and staffing of management and key employees. An entrepreneur comes up with a great idea or product – but in order for it to play out the way they envision it, they must put together a plan. If any elements are missing from the plan, they most likely will miss the mark, won’t reach the goal, and sometimes, unfortunately…. completely fail.

The same idea applies to a marketing plan. Marketing largely contributes to a companies success. Alongside the sales team, it sells the product or service. Without a proper strategy, marketing simply doesn’t work.

How do you come up with a good strategy? Depending on what tactic you’re going after, the first thing to do is research in order to have a better understanding of current trends. The way we view media and are served ads has changed and continues to change at the most rapid pace ever in history. With the super fast pace of changing technology, it is a MUST to stay on top of the newest, latest, greatest advertising tactics and platforms. Magazine and newspaper circulation is on the decline, physical pieces of mail that go inside your mailbox outside on your street have decreased, live TV viewership is heading south, mobile device usage is on the rise and has been over the past decade. Traditional advertising mediums such as TV stations and newspaper companies are opening new departments specifically for the digital ad space. Google, Bing, Yahoo, pay per click ads, display ads, online video ads and mobile app ads are more present than ever before. Staying on top of the trends and learning how these platforms work, how their algorithms perform and who they’re reaching is the biggest and number one way to stay on top of your marketing strategy. Hire an advertising agency that has experienced, qualified leaders in their digital departments if you need advice and help pulling your head out of the sand caused by this sudden dust storm they’re referring to as the digital revolution. Or, if there are budget limitations hire someone who has worked in these agencies.

Once you have a solid understanding of the current advertising trends and platforms, the second most important thing to have is a strong, actionable message. Who are you going after? What are you trying to tell them? What do they want? How will you give it to them? Do they know you have something they might need? How do you make them realize it? Consumers are losing focus. With Mom on her iPad looking at Pinterest recipes, Jimmy on his Android listening to Jay Z, Sarah on her MacBook chatting it up on FaceTime with her friend traveling abroad in Spain, Jane on the Smart TV watching Netflix and Dad on his iPhone watching video clips on his SportsCenter app, it’s important to catch these people’s attention who are getting more and more used to getting what they want when they want by a simple tap and slide of a finger. With the right messaging, you can break through. Think about your product. Think about your target audience/consumer. Creatively yet strategically marry the two.

Lastly, there needs to be a timeline in place with actionable items to follow through with. Set the goal, list out what needs to be done in order to reach the goal (tactics), and next to each tactic list a date it needs to be done by. During the process, be sure to check in on these important dates to make sure smaller tactics are being done. At the end, it’s always important to reflect and look for benchmarks of both success and failure of the strategy. Take what you learned both good and bad and refine your next strategy. As you’ve heard, with time things get better, stronger, smarter and quicker. Efficiency is the goal but without innovation, creativity and strategy you’ll never reach ultimate success.

In short, putting together or refining strategy is an ongoing process that should never take the back burner. There’s many exciting things happening out there in the world of marketing and advertising and more tools than ever to make it successful.

The fun thing about marketing is you can apply a lot of the same principles to business in general.

And just to further dwell on my statements above regarding mobile usage, this entire entry was written on an iPhone 6 with WFAA on mute in the background. But don’t worry. I’ve already scheduled an appointment for my carpal tunnel screening. Happy Monday y’all!

Call Me Tweet Me

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The Twitter revolution is upon us. Teens, pre-teens and young adults are doing it- twittering and tweeting all day long (yes-I like to call it twittering). All the hype caught the attention of many fortune 500 companies and popular television shows. Business owners are learning the benefit of using Twitter to raise brand awareness and generate leads. It’s become apparent that the value of the hashtag is higher than ever. #GetWithIt or #GetLost.

Twitter in a nutshell: born in 2006, the most current social media platform used to promote oneself or one’s business in 140 or less characters per tweet (message).

Personal Impact? I get the most current news before it’s ever aired on TV, written in a newspaper, or blogged about online. I prefer to follow the nationwide news networks such as The Associated Press @AP, @CNN, @FoxNews and CNN Breaking News @CNNbrk. I also follow local networks, such as @WFAAChannel8, @Fox4, @CBSDFW and @NBCDFW. I knew about the missing Malaysian airplane before Malaysia even knew it was missing. #Whoah (not really-but close).

I also use it to keep up with my Twitter-saavy friends who tweet about their Chipotle burritos, favorite song lyrics, today’s #OOTD (outfit of the day) or last weekend’s festivities. Sometimes I wish I had more time to tweet my daily activities. *Sigh*

Ever heard of live tweeting? That’s fun too:  you can tweet with real live celebrities while your favorite TV shows are on air. I have successfully done it and am proud to say Amy Yancey of AE’s Flipping Vegas and I tweet. Just because it was once doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. She follows me.

Business Impact? The good news is, nearly any size business can use Twitter in the same way. Who wouldn’t want to join in on free brand awareness?  It isn’t hard to come to the realization that nearly every major brand has a Twitter handle. The possibilities are endless. Delta created a Twitter handle specifically for customer service. They answer questions and complaints from customers through tweets. McDonalds gives out free prizes through their twitter handle. That’s right- FREE! #OMG #SuperSizeMe Levi Strauss & Co. tweets about current sales and promotions going on in stores. Learn about upcoming sales at favorite clothing stores before anyone else! Need some humor in your life? Oreo uses their Twitter handle to tweet pictures of Oreos featuring funny messages throughout the day. Brand awareness at its finest. Note to self- don’t scroll through Twitter feed during mid-afternoon productivity lull.

But wait – there’s more! Now you can ADVERTISE on Twitter. Crazy, right? Wrong. The strategy is very similar to Facebook if not identical. You can target as broad or as narrow as you please. You pick your main goal whether it be profile views, site views, engagement, leads etc. Finally you decide whether you’d like Twitter to automatically optimize the campaign/budget for you – or if you know how – you can manually optimize. These days you can advertise practically anywhere online. Except Instagram. They still think they’re too cool for all that (unless you’re Disney or Fossil). We shall see if this changes.. LinkedIn has also started swimming in the advertising pool. This should take off pretty quickly as it is also set up in the same way as Facebook and Twitter. Back to the main topic.

How many people use Twitter these days? According to DMR (Digital Marketing Ramblings), there are approximately 255 million Twitter users as of April 2014. Facebook still has a remarkably larger amount of users, coming in at an estimated 1.28 billion users as of April 2014. Instagram has almost tied with Twitter: 200 million users as of March 2014. Another one you might be familiar with: Pinterest, which has 70 million users as of July 2013

Join the revolution. Follow the me at @MaryERobb 🙂

Cabo Wabo

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On March 12, 2015, I was unaware of how my life would be changed by an impromptu ‘adult spring break’ trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Only ten months after starting my first real job, I decided it was time for me to get out and do what I do best: travel and meet new people. Growing up, my mom traveled all over the states for her job and she would bring me with her as often as she could get me out of school. Traveling is second nature for me and it was time for me to get out of my comfort zone.

I live by the idea – work hard // play hard – and I had spent the previous ten months focused solely on my job and bettering myself for my future. I did work hard, and while I took days off here and there, I hadn’t left home since before I graduated college. So much has changed since I left college in such a short period of time. So many positive things have happened, but with that, some negatives too. I hadn’t taken a serious moment to think and realize how important it is to stop and smell the roses. Advertising is a fast paced, fast moving industry which fits perfectly with my personality and skill set, but what I had failed to acknowledge is the need for reflection and self actualization in the midst of chaos. Vacation and traveling to new places brings you to a place where you can find more about yourself, who you are, what you want, and what you are going to do to get it. I was fortunate to have numerous opportunities growing up to have these kind of experiences, but now that I am the only person in control of my life, I’ve found the importance in forcing yourself to get out of your zone for a bit in order to reconnect. Without further a due, here is the story of the most amazing trip I’ve experienced.

Nightlife

On our first night in Cabo, we hit the town. I was shocked that the bars/clubs were actually not half bad. I’ve visited other Mexican towns and cities but Cabo’s nightlife was similar to places I’ve been to in America. First we visited Pink Kitty, from there it was a back and forth between Vaquero, Mandala and El Squid Row. During the day, we hit Mango Deck where all the college spring breakers were partying. It was pretty sick. Not much elaboration needed here – go if you want to see how bad a$* of a time it is.

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The Boat

On our second day in Cabo we met someone who we now consider a dear friend – Saul! – who would offer us a nice private boat ride to the Arch (famous landmark in Cabo). What we didn’t know we would experience is seeing over a dozen mother whales with their babies breeching in and out of the water. It was incredible. Another exciting unexpected event was not one but two BIG fish caught. A 100 pound marlin and a 30 pound fish (I forget what it was called :P). That was a great experience for the guys on the boat. We drank, danced, swam, fished and had way too much fun for a total of six hours on the water. I would do anything to do it again. After we got off the boat, some of the group was able to eat the fish we caught. The rest of us (the singles) went to Mango Deck for some margs!
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the crew

The Beach/Hotel

Our hotel was all inclusive and let me just say I think I can speak for all of us that our workout regimens and diets pre-trip were completely destroyed during and post trip. But it was so worth it! The rooms were perfectly air conditioned, the pool with a swim up bar was right down the hall, and my favorite – the beach – was just beyond the pool. We played sand volleyball on the beach, threw a football closer to the water, and took TONS of GoPro footage in the water. It was pure bliss.

beachbeach volley

I could write a novel about this trip and will definitely add to this rendition, but for now I will leave it at this.

I LOVE CABO ❤

whale hat

5 Ways To Save During The Holidaze

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Between shopping for family, that significant other or simply yourself-let’s face it. You are spending more money than you typically would during the months leading up to the holidays. And that’s why it’s so important to SAVE while you spend!

This year has been different than the previous years I’ve celebrated Christmas because I now have a full time j-o-b. Yep. It’s pretty liberating. I can now afford to buy things I couldn’t afford as an intern, bartender or babysitter. While I haven’t quite graduated to a brand new pair of red bottoms or a nice big Louis, I can afford to give nice gifts, donate to charity and go a little over board at the shops this year.

Although my budget has expanded, I still enjoy saving a buck. Because the more doll hairs saved-the more I have leftover to spend! So I’ve compiled a conservative list of what I do to try and save a few during the holiday spending craze.

#1- | sign up at your favorite stores |

What’s better than getting a great deal on that one must-have thing you’ve been eyeing the past couple of months? You’re right: nothing. Imagine living in a world where your favorite store in the world knows you, your name, your birthday and your email address. And as soon as you sign up for their email list, rewards program or credit card with points and coupons, you are instantly VIP. This tactic works best for stores you can find in any city that has a population greater than 200,000 people, i.e. Banana Republic, Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Express, Nordstrom, Bath & Body Works, Macy’s and more. For the smaller boutiques? Get on their email list and ask how you can be first to learn about sales or promotions. Most stores are more than happy to tell you how you can buy more from them.

#2- | follow/like your favorite stores |

For the social media savvy brands, it is imperative that you find them on Facebook and Twitter. Stores will post what’s new, what’s on sale and often times coupons exclusively for their followers. Find freebies and coupons for many restaurants and bars by checking in on Yelp during your visit.

#3- | use your credit card & save |

Whether your card earns you cash back or travel points-use the card that gives some sort of return. Before I go any further I must disclaim this tactic: **you must be responsible and aware of your current financial situation before you go buck wild with the plastic.** Before using a credit card, it’s crucial to be aware of your current bank situation. Never spend more than what you currently have in the bank. Ever. If you trust yourself, it’s the best and easiest way to save money. I used to use the Bank Of America cash rewards card where I earned 1-3% cash back on all purchases. I recently switched to the Southwest Airlines card where I earn flight points on every purchase I make. Plus I earned TWO free, roundtrip flights- just for signing up! Hello free VACAY!

#4- | stop acting like you’re too good for Black Friday |

I get it. Nothing sounds more appalling than being trampled in a line 500 people deep just to save a couple bucks. But I have to tell you my Black Friday experience this year was far from appalling. And there are a few reasons why. 1-I avoided the larger, traditional stores like Best Buy, Target and Walmart. 2-more people than ever before are using the internet to get their shopping done early, and many stores have paid attention to this. Many deals offered in stores were also available online. 2.5- Cyber Monday has taken a slice of the black friday pie, leaving a portion of the regular crowd satisfied behind a screen. 3- Black Friday has snuck its way into Thanksgiving Thursday. I always thought the idea of shopping during the evening of a holiday you are supposed to be spending quality time with your family was a bit outrageous. But this year, I found myself with time to spare. I spent time with family, caught the cowboys game, and instead of going into a second food coma for dinner-I went shopping. What I found was shocking: no crazy lines, no stampedes, no fights. I got what I wanted without being pushed, breathed on or hassled. It was awesome. Some of my favorite finds?

  • Warm, soft, text friendly gloves- $4
  • Navy blue with pin stripe sleeve blazer $84.95: $24.95
  • Stainless steel crockpot- $8
  • Bluetooth speaker bar- $40
  • Francescas- 30% off entire store
  • Nike frees- 20% off
  • Banana Republic- 50% off

#5 | Post-Christmas Shopping |

Every year I save half of my Christmas shopping money for the day after Christmas. This is another AMAZING time to save on things you’ve been eyeing-especially boots, sweaters, coats and any other winter related item. I think the dumbest thing you can do is pay full price for something that you know costs a tenth of what it’s being retailed for. Be patient and WAIT. Fashion trends don’t change as rapidly as the advertisers would like you to believe. One of the biggest strategies marketers use is the fear of loss. That jacket will not look any different than it did full price than it does at the end of December at half the price. And it will look amazing for the next five winter season to come. Don’t get me wrong. This is always HARD for me {as impatient as I am}. But I also have no patience for wasting money on something I know will go on sale.

In short, more money saved=more opportunity to max out your shopping potential. Pick a budget, follow the money saving tips above, and happy shopping!

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