03 April 2020
In these difficult times of COVID-19 and self-quarantine, many are having difficulties working from home. At Idea Enablers, we’ve been working remotely for about a decade now and would like to share some tried and true pointers for a more productive “work from home” scenario.
Dress for success: Starting our day already dressed as if we were going to an office gives you the right mindset to tackle the tasks of the day. You may find that showing up in your jammies and bunny slippers makes it more difficult to seriously focus on work.
Create a home office space: Make sure you have a designated area set up just for your work. This can be your own dedicated home office or just a portion of the kitchen counter.
Stay motivated: Try to apply as much self-discipline as possible to stay on task. Resist the urge to check on personal matters or throw a load of laundry in, as these distractions will make it difficult to focus on work.
Work vs. home hours: Clearly set your work and personal hours and stick with it. This will help you keep the balance between work and home life and prevent you from working 16-hour days, or on the flip side: a 4-hour day. It’s easy to get distracted when working from home with things like doing the dishes, running to the grocery store, or even mowing the lawn. Save those activities for the designated home time.
You may find yourself getting a bit lonely and isolated when working from home and this may be especially true during these uncertain times. We find that staying connected with co-workers and clients helps minimize the isolation.
Phone Calls: Sometimes just a quick call to a client to check in, or clarify questions in an email, will help you feel connected. And this will actually save you time going back and forth on email.
Skype: Stay connected with your team using Skype. An ongoing Skype chat helps us collaborate even from a distance and an occasional video chat will replace a quick “water cooler” conversation. We also use Skype to address quick questions and save the team a few emails.
Breaks: Make sure to take an occasional break too. Taking time to stretch your legs or even a quick walk will help maintain or boost your energy.
Stay home, stay safe everyone! We have a feeling this WFH thing is going to be much more popular even after the stay-at-home order is lifted.
23 March 2020
As COVID-19 continues to spread, there's nothing more important to us than the well-being of our clients and team members.
In support of small businesses everywhere and to help keep business going, we've compiled free products, resources and tools that we use to work from home successfully.
Skype - collaboration and internal communication
Let us start by saying that we’ve been using this for over a decade and we love it. Yes, there’s Zoom and Boom and whatever else, but Skype has been our tried and true and carried us through multiple business launches, pregnancies and maternity leaves, international travel, side hustles – you name it. You can video conference up to 50 people on one call, you can screen share, call for free on skype or significantly reduced rates on landlines, cell phones and international numbers –– and best of all, it’s free and reliable. Bonus - you can now blur your background on your video, which is nice if you’re working from home and your home is a disaster.
FreeConferenceCall.com - collaboration and communication
We’ve also been using this product for years now and just like their name suggests, it’s free. You can create an account and then get assigned a call-in number and user passcode that you can hand out to team members, clients, vendors, etc. and add it to your calendar invites so everyone can call in from different locations or from the road. There’s no internet connection required. Full disclosure: since the “stay at home” order, there have been some glitches and hiccups with the service because of the influx of users, but overall it’s been very reliable. They have a cool feature where you can record the call as well.
Trello - collaboration, project management and your sanity
Trello has been a lifesaver for us working remotely –– to keep us on the same page, to organize our deadlines, client feedback and input, as well as internal communication about projects. It’s a free project management tool that’s also very visual for our art director and designer friends. You can drag and drop your jobs to different lists and assign them to people on your team, which also notifies them via push notification and email (if they have the app installed on their phones). There’s a bit of a learning curve to take advantage of all of their features and efficiencies, but just getting started with the basics will make your life so much easier and everyone you collaborate with too.
MailChimp - organized and designed eblast templates
Given that this situation is extremely fluid and things are changing by the hour, communication with customers and clients is critical. We use MailChimp to collect email addresses (you can import them into MailChimp if you’ve never used a third party eblast system before). The free service includes up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 sends per month, with a daily send limit of 2,000. After that you pay as your list and sends increase, but it’s reasonable while you’re still small. They also have nicely designed templates and automation features that are free. This service manages your list for you to handle bounced emails, duplicates and unsubscribes. If you’re sending to more than 5 contacts, you really should use a third party marketing service like this.
Hootsuite - social media management
Let’s face it, you didn’t have a social media contingency plan in place for emergencies did you? And now that you’re trying to get some messaging out there, you’re scrambling to try to find your logins to all your accounts so you can post the same message across platforms. We use Hootsuite to manage all of our accounts and clients’ accounts and post to all platforms with a single draft-and-send effort. It’s free, but make sure you google “free hootsuite account” to find it because they hide it now. This will save you so much time and frustration.
We are up and running so your business can stay up and running — and so you can reach your customers and they can connect with you. We’re also WFH veterans and are here to help, so reach out if you need help setting up any of these services and systems.
Please take care of yourself and your loved ones. Stay safe. Stay healthy. There’s no better time to work on yourself, your business, or your side hustle.
Let’s do this together.
03 January 2020
Recently, Idea Enablers’ Michelle Ruzzi was featured on the NinePoint Magazine podcast talking about how her athlete mindset has helped her in business and in life.
In episode 78, of The 9INE POINT Started With A Dream Podcast, Jacolby Gilliam talks with Michelle Ruzzi former Chapman University basketball player, Co-founder of Idea Enablers, and highlighted athlete in The After The Game documentary about her journey. In this episode, Michelle shares a lot about how the same traits and mindset she used as an athlete she still uses daily in her life after sports.
For Michelle, the journey was not easy. As a 5’2″ point guard she faced several moments when she thought about quitting but she pushed through to avoid looking back with the what if’s.
Michelle’s athlete mindset of not giving up, leadership and persistence serve her today as she is a co-founder of a marketing agency. There is a lot of value to gain from Michelle’s journey that can be watched in April Abetya’s upcoming documentary After The Game. The film follows three women apply lessons from their 1999 college basketball season to tackle adult challenges 20 years later.
Connect with Michelle Ruzzi and get involved with the After The Game film at the following links below.
10 December 2019
This is a long-overdue write-up about our company-wide initiative to launch another business. More on why it’s overdue in a minute.
We’re always up for a challenge, as you may know.
The idea sprung from a brainstorming session with one of our clients where they had a specific itch to scratch in meeting their clients’ needs. And our capabilities happened to line up with what they wanted to deliver. And we’re all about scratching itches – so it started. We set out to create an online resource for insurance brokers who needed turnkey marketing templates. It was an audience we were familiar with, we’d already designed quite a few pieces that we could use, and we’d also created e-commerce platforms similar to this one. Easy, right?
Well, we made one (maybe two) rookie mistake – we went too big with our functionality, rather than focusing on the minimum viable product. Doh! And we were slammed at the time with our regular, full-time jobs at Idea Enablers.So what resulted was a longer than necessary process and an over-budget product – exactly what we warn our own clients against. So we slogged through to get it done, pulling our own hair and teeth to make it happen.
Nearly a YEAR after we started the process, we were ready to launch. And we did, and we tweaked, and changed, and evolved. The result is an insanely awesome website (that is nothing like we originally envisioned, but different, and better) and a thorough process that can be automated when we’re done with our own “learning phase.” We had orders from the get-go and nothing but positive feedback. We have hardly even marketed it, so there’s nothing but upside when we start acting like our own best client.
The reason we share the good, the bad and the ugly, is that that’s how we roll. We’re honest about the process and we can truly understand what clients go through on the other side of the table. Nothing starts or comes together perfectly. It’s how you respond to that adversity and those roadblocks that defines who you are.
The takeaway? We love it. We wouldn’t do it any other way (mostly).We’ll probably do it again.
So check out BrokerPop.com and let us know what you think. And if you’re in the market for direct mail about ACA Compliance – we have just the right campaign for you, and a list to boot.
06 November 2018
Gen Z 101 for Marketing: As written by a Gen Z
By Guest Writer: Makenna Downing
Every day the world is advancing in more ways than we can comprehend—new technologies are developed daily, people are voicing their opinions to create a better world, and new lifestyles are being introduced and accepted into our daily society. But what is the cause of this rapidly transforming society? Simple. The rising importance of the newest generation of individuals: Generation Z. Generation Z (Gen Z) is made up of all people born between the year 1995 and the present. This is the generation that was born into a highly mobile world, with things being accessible by the click of a button rather than having to flip through countless pages in an encyclopedia or wait until 5 o’clock to be informed about the latest news. Speaking as a Gen Z member myself: we’ve had it pretty good. However, now is our time to really make an impact on various working industries in the world. As we come closer to our buying power, our views on products and ideas are vital in the success of your business, which may leave you wondering, “How do we reach the newest generation via marketing?” Well, allow me to provide some firsthand insight.
As previously mentioned, Gen Z includes people born in the year 1995 or later. We are the group that:
Think of it this way: our world is mobile; it is rapid, fluid, and adapts quickly; we have immediate access to information and communication. So we are simply used to absorbing and understanding information quickly. We place big emphasis on personalization and relevance, so it is important to keep us intrigued with the newest, best, and most practical.
Gen Z prefers practical over passion and popular over unique. We were raised by Gen X and also grew up during a recession, so we tend to value work and career, being resourceful and entrepreneurial, and not investing in risky things. If we notice a lack of something in the market, we are more likely to invest if we feel that it could be useful to our own daily lifestyle. While we do adopt the most popular products and services, we also enjoy being trendsetters of our own: we want to take the newest, best, most practical thing and put our own spin on it to adapt the product or service to suit our needs. An important example of this is social media, which is a key part of our social system in this generation.
We all use social media, but in different ways:
It is important to know your audience and the networks that are most important to them, so you can better understand how best to reach them.
Let’s talk about those devices. Gen Z tends to self-educate and research via our use of technology.
While Millennials (the generation prior to us) tend to use three screens/devices on average, we use about five:
This is partly because we like to use every device and resource that is available, and partly because we are constantly interested in the next best gadget or technology. Yes, we do tend to get a bit nervous and stressed out when we are kept away from these devices, because they are an important part in our communication and social skills. We literally use them for EVERYTHING. So one of the best ways to cater your marketing towards our generation is through apps, devices, and social networks, since we view our smartphones as an extra body part: growing up with two arms and suddenly losing one would probably cause you some emotional stress, too, right? Now, this is not to say we are so addicted that we can never be without them, because that is simply not the case and sometimes we really benefit from a social media/devices cleanse. But for the most part, they are always on hand. Devices are just a part of our being.
The era of our buying power is important, because we are such a determined and influential generation.
We worry about our future, because we have grown up in an important time filled with cultural diversity. But that idea is important: diversity=differences. And with differences, we have seen a lot of world issues arise over what differences should be accepted and tolerated or not. Our generation has been through eras of war, recession, the first African American President, acceptance of all sexualities, etc. We want our future to be bright and inclusive of all people, and we want to do our part to better the environment and the people living in it. This is why volunteering and participating in service events are so important to our generation and the industries that we support.
From a Gen Z perspective, the way to win us over is by being personable and understanding of our generation and its habits. Be supportive of our device/technology usage, work creatively with us to establish new, innovative products, use our generation as a platform to promote your ideas. We are thrilled to have such buying power in this world because we thoroughly enjoy speaking our minds and pursuing our passions. We want to make a difference, we want to be connected to every part of the world, and we want to impact the lives of others. Thus, as the world continues to rapidly change day by day, we are adapting and changing with it in order to create an even better future for the next generation. We may be the generation that ends the alphabet, but we are determined to be the generation that starts a whole new movement—holding onto traditions, learning from the past, but grabbing onto the newest things and taking them for a spin so that we are the generation that makes its mark. Know your audience: market to us, because we are so excited to adopt your products and services as a way to define Gen Z.
Various facts in this article came from a variety of sources. All information is credited to its rightful owner. https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15d52047c1920eec?projector=1
02 October 2018
How to Take Advantage of Social Media Marketing to Benefit your Business
By Guest Writer: Makenna Downing
In a time when social media networks are dominating the digital world and are being used daily to communicate with a wide variety of people, it is important to take advantage of these social media platforms as a way to market your own brand to potential consumers.
Social media is important because of its versatility. These digital communication platforms have the ability to reach a wide audience and distribute information. In addition, social media sites are a great way to receive feedback from consumers. A brand can promote a product and use social media to market that product and then receive instant feedback from their customers. Social media is also a great tool to use in the digital age because it allows for companies to post text information, photos, videos, links, etc., all in one place that is accessible to a target market audience. Hashtags, social media contests, key words, links, and account tagging are all social media tools that generate more traffic to a brand’s site and bring more awareness to a brand and its products and services.
Being active on social media accounts, posting a lot of content, and interacting with consumers and other accounts is also a great way to draw attention to your brand. With contests, video clips, commenting, photo-sharing, liking, etc., companies are able to give consumers an interactive way to participate in the brands’ campaign and have their opinions be heard. Instant messaging features also allow for ideas to be shared and potential service issues to be handled via social media, which is why a wide variety of large companies use their social media to interact with their target market.
Social media promotion is a great way to enhance your brand identity and reach a larger audience in a short amount of time. In addition, brands that use social media generate more traffic to their websites and in turn generate a higher volume of sales. Social media is accessible, mobile, and user-friendly. It is a great multi-way channel of communication that connects corporations with their consumers. It is important to establish a strong social media presence in order to be successful in this digital age.
03 September 2018
As Written by a College Student
By Guest Writer: Makenna Downing
College is both an exciting and nerve-wracking time for everyone involved in the process. There is a sense of pride and accomplishment within both the student and their parents, but also a sense of stress and sadness. To sum it all up, going away for college is bittersweet for parents and students alike. It is a process of changing dynamics, new beginnings, and coping with new change. If you are experiencing “Empty Nest Syndrome”, this one’s for you. While this time can be trying for parents and students, I am here to inform you this one thing: it will be okay.
I was the second child in my immediate family to graduate high school and leave for college, but the first child to move out of state and farther away from “home base”. My older sister had been thriving in school at UCLA for a year before I was due to graduate high school, pack up my life, and start my new beginning at the University of Arizona. Exciting? Yes. Nerve-wracking? Most definitely. After all, I had big shoes to fill! My genius of a sister was making us all proud by accomplishing so many things at UCLA and enjoying her college experience, and both my parents and I were thrilled that we still got to see her fairly frequently because she was just a couple hours away. Thus, when I decided to go to a school out of state, it was weird to think that I would not be able to come home as often or meet up with my parents for lunch when they came to town for a quick day trip. I can imagine that sending your children off to college to any location can be bittersweet and unsettling to parents, but especially when that campus is a plane-ride away. It was bittersweet for me, too.
Throughout the moving in and moving out, taking new courses, midterms, finals, making new friends, and trying new things, life can get chaotic as everyone is settling into their new routines. It is definitely an adjustment period for everyone: parents must get used to having the house be a little bit quieter after school, children must learn how to “adult” and start handling real world issues without their parents. Thus, through the chaos and new beginnings unveils the key to navigating these new territories: communication. As family dynamics change and daily routines start to settle in, it is important for students and parents to communicate often and stay close regardless of distance.
I have created a list of points to help parents better understand the way that our generation is thinking and that summarize how best to cope with your child going off to college and how to establish a good base of communication that will keep the chaos and sadness at bay.
Yes, it’s true. Even though we look like we are having the time of our lives exploring our new found freedom, we get home sick often and miss our family a lot. While it is extremely exciting to be able to be out on our own and exploring new places, it is equally as difficult to be away from our home and our parents. We miss seeing our best friends every day, eating home-cooked meals, spending time with the family… we even miss getting yelled at for not doing our chores, as shocking as that may sound. And on that note, living with a roommate has made us understand why it is so important to clean up after ourselves (amidst the messy dorm we might even find ourselves turning into you and establishing a “Chore Chart” because we just cannot live in the filth anymore). Therefore, when you receive a random text or call, it is because we miss you and we still need you, even if we don’t always admit it.
It’s not the most convenient method of communication, but we try to do our best to call you before the late hours of the night. Sometimes things are just way too exciting to wait until the next morning to make a phone call! The sleep schedule of a college student is wild: we stay up all night (studying, of course!), we wake up in the middle of the afternoon, we nap between classes, sometimes we accidentally sleep through classes, and you would think that for as much napping and sleeping as we do, we still wouldn’t feel exhausted every single day. But we do, and that is the mystery of it all. I tend to call my parents when I am walking to class during the day, but I have to admit that I am guilty of making the late-night phone calls when I am stressed out, going out, or perhaps when I am out and celebrating any occasion (like we millennials love to do!), and my parents might not be too pleased to have to wake up to my calls at all hours of the night. But parents, at least you’re our go-to conversation! It’s a good sign that we miss you ;).
I promise we do not run out of money so fast on purpose… we just are not as financially savvy as we would like to claim. And groceries are expensive. When I used to come home from high school and stare at the fridge saying, “there’s nothing to eat”, I was wrong. In college, we often reach a new level of “there’s nothing to eat” while finishing our last cup of Top Ramen and washing it down with the half-empty water bottle that we found in the bottom of our backpacks. Who new “adulting” was going to be so expensive?! However, even though we may not budget accordingly, we definitely learn the lessons behind the importance of saving our money and not spending it on unnecessary things.
When we call you to talk to you about how So-And-So is starting drama or how Such-And-Such broke up today, we expect you to know the full background of these situations based on our social media accounts. We constantly post status updates, Snapchat stories, and Instagram pictures with all of our new friends, so make sure you pay attention. Social media is one of our favorite forms of communication as a generation and we like to keep you updated about our lives. We want you to see that we are doing well and surviving our daily struggle of “adulting”, so we make sure to post all of our favorite moments. Our posts might give you FOMO or make you nostalgic about your own “good ole college days”, but this is another way for us to stay connected.
Not only for us, but for you too. The holidays are a time for college students to return home and finally be reunited with their family again. Plus, it takes us away from campus right after the peak of our stress during #FinalsSeason, so we are grateful to have the chance to travel home and unwind for a couple weeks. We look forward to these breaks because we can fill you in on our new routines and adventures while also getting a taste of home again before we have to head back to school. So call us and plan travel arrangements or activities to do together over the break, we truly are looking forward to every minute of it, even having a curfew again and being responsible for chores.
Sometimes, we are not always good at staying on top of the whole communication thing. We may forget to tell you something, miss a call, or forget to facetime you for a couple weeks, but we really do like being checked on. We like having you ask about what we have been up to and what’s new. This also gives us a chance to take a break from the chaos and learn about what’s new at home and with the family. Hearing news from home is always a great way for us to feel included and closer to the action. Being out of state and not being able to be home for spontaneous events can be tough, but it is rewarding to receive pictures or a phone call or little messages from everyone so that we do not experience FOMO.
Even though this generation has a reputation of desiring everything to be handed to them, I promise we are working very hard in college to secure our futures… well, most of us. Being able to take courses about topics we are actually interested in and can apply to our careers and to the real world is extremely rewarding, so we are working hard to prepare ourselves for the paths we decide to take. We might even ask you for networking connections, internship opportunities, or potential career fields, because we want your advice and approval on our desired careers and future. It is fun to be able to tell you about what we are studying and what we want to do with our lives. College is hard and we are working to earn degrees that will be beneficial to us for the rest of our lives. Despite the stigmas around millennials, most of us truly do want to pursue successful careers and make it big for ourselves. We want to make you proud and we are working hard to do so.
SHOCKING, right?! Our new found freedom and intellectual capacity can make us argumentative and intent on proving our point, but we are not always right. We don’t know everything and we still need guidance. It can just be hard to admit we are wrong. But have patience with us and keep us on our toes. We like having conversations with you where we can share our perspectives and ideas and also understand your opinions on the matter. It helps us grow as individuals and form well-informed opinions. Even though the tuition cost is high enough, they don’t teach us EVERYTHING in college and we still look up to you as our role models in that aspect.
We have learned from the very best and do take your lessons to heart. Even though we are exploring new places, we are not running wild and doing things that would disappoint you. You raised us well. And it is our time to shine and prove to you that we are able to handle it. We are proud to take all of your lessons and incorporate them into our own adult lives.
Coping with the college separations is difficult for all of us. With that being said, we know it is not easy for your nest to get a little emptier once we move into the real world and onto our adult lives, so we want to try and make it easier on you, too. We still need you and want you to be a part of our lives. We are excited for our futures and want to make you proud. We love you so much and are so thankful for the sacrifices you have made in order for us to be here, even if we don’t always tell you that.
College can be full of unexpected surprises but coping with the changes is entirely possible with the help of patience, understanding, and communication. While our communication strategies might not be ideal, we want to stay connected and close through the distance and learn how to navigate adulthood. And don’t worry, we are working on improving our communication habits. I mean, after all, isn’t that why Communication is such a popular major?! It will be okay and I promise—we will make you proud.
22 August 2018
By Guest Writer: Makenna Downing
Healthy habits are an important part of daily life. Not only does healthy living combat dietary issues and provide our bodies with nutrition, but it also helps give us energy, allow us to be more successful in our work and activities, and generally improves our wellbeing. However, eating healthy salads does not have to be boring. Some of my favorite salads are light and refreshing while also filling me up. In fact, indulging in these hearty, nutrient-rich salads often have me craving them all summer long. I wanted to share some of my favorite Summer Salad recipes that are great for summer BBQs or even other seasonal events.
The Perfect Pasta Salad:
A few years ago, I was introduced to a fresh, modern version of a classic pasta salad. The salad is different than the traditional concept of pasta salad and is a healthier version full of vegetables, protein, and deliciousness. The recipe can be modified to fit dietary preferences, but this nutrient-packed pasta dish is sure to be a hit all summer long!
The Pasta Salad recipe that follows serves about 10 people:
1 box of Pasta (any shape) try Whole Wheat Pasta for a healthier version
1 can of Garbanzo Beans
1 Red Bell Pepper (diced)
1 Orange Bell Pepper (diced)
1 Yellow Bell Pepper (diced)
1 ½ c. of Red Onion (diced)
2 c. of Chicken Breast (cooked and diced)
¾ c. of Cilantro (chopped)
1 c. of Lime Juice (adjust to taste)
¾ c. of Olive Oil (adjust to taste)
1 pinch of Sea Salt (adjust to taste)
1 pinch of Cumin (adjust to taste)
Cook pasta until al dente. Remove from stove, strain, and refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until cool. While pasta is cooling, dice the cooked chicken breast and cool. Next, dice peppers and onion. Finely chop cilantro. Remove pasta and chicken from the fridge. Add chicken, garbanzo beans, peppers, onion, and cilantro to the pasta. Stir until mixed. Add olive oil to salad mixture and stir until mixed. Add lime juice to salad, stir until mixed, then adjust taste with olive oil and lime juice accordingly. Finish with pinches of sea salt and cumin (adjusted to taste) for an added level of flavor. Stir salad until mixed. Let set and cool in refrigerator for one hour. Serve and enjoy!
This pasta salad is also great as leftovers! Store in the fridge and eat for up to a week after preparing it.
There is this excellent restaurant that I like to visit when I am home from school called The Goat and Vine. They specialize in artisan sandwiches, gourmet flatbreads and pizzas, and delightful salads. Recently while having dinner and catching up with an old friend, I had one of their salads that was off-the-charts and perfect for summer. In this recipe, I combine sweet, tangy, and savory flavors on this take of the classic Goat & Vine salad.
Recipe serves 2
2-3 c. of Arugula
1-2 c. of fresh Spinach
¾ c. of Goat Cheese crumbles
1 c. of Strawberries (chopped)
½ c. of Raspberries
½ c. of Candied Pecans
1/3 c. of Pecans (plain)
¾ c. Green Onion (chopped)
1 c. Cherry Tomatoes (chopped)
Champagne Vinaigrette (add to taste)
Pinch of Black Pepper (add to taste)
*For a main dish, I also add 1-2 c. of Grilled Chicken Breast (chopped)
Wash the produce thoroughly and strain. Combine arugula and spinach into a salad bowl. Chop cherry tomatoes, green onions, and strawberries. Add cherry tomatoes and green onions to the salad bowl and mix. Wait to add chopped berries so the lettuces do not become soggy. Finely chop candied and plain pecans. Mix candied and plain pecans together in a small bowl and add to salad bowl. Mix ingredients. Add strawberries and raspberries to salad and mix. Add goat cheese crumbles and mix thoroughly. Finish off the salad with a light champagne vinaigrette and a pinch of pepper. Serve and enjoy! If serving this salad as a main dish with chicken, plate the salad, top it with the cooled and chopped grilled chicken breast, and serve.
Tip: if planning to have leftovers of this salad, refrain from adding dressing to the entire bowl and instead serve each portion with dressing so that the leftovers are not soggy the next day.
Healthy Hearty Salad:
This last salad that I am going to introduce you to is really a great salad for year round and served as an entrée. I created this recipe myself in order to combine some of my favorite healthy foods into one cohesive salad dish that is packed with protein and healthy nutrients. This salad is really great because it is easily adjustable to meet dietary preferences, and it can be added on to in order to enhance the flavor. This salad is definitely filling, so I would recommend eating this as a lunch entrée throughout the year.
This recipe serves 1
1 1/2 c. of Mixed Greens (or the lettuce of your choice)
½ c. of Spinach
½ c. of Kale
½ c. of Cucumber (chopped)
¼ c. of Green Onion (chopped)
¾ c. of Quinoa (cooked and cooled)
½ Sweet Potato (cooked and chopped)
1 Chicken Breast (grilled and chopped)
*optional: add cheese or salad dressing of your choice
Wash and strain produce. Combine mixed greens, spinach, and kale into salad bowl. Boil quinoa until al dente or soft, strain, and cool. Halve a sweet potato and bake or boil until soft, then cool. Grill chicken breast and cool. Chop cucumber and green onion and add to salad. Add cooled quinoa and mix salad thoroughly. Add 1 tsp. of olive oil (or desired amount) to salad and mix. Chop sweet potato and add to salad. Chop grilled chicken breast and add to salad. Top with balsamic glaze. Serve and enjoy!
This is the simplest version of the salad, but sometimes I will decide to add ranch dressing or more vegetables or cheese, etc. It can really be customized to fit your tastes.
23 June 2015
Maybe you’ve heard of the Paleo diet also known as the cavemen diet? If not, here is the official description from the Paleo guru himself Robb Wolf, one of the world’s leading experts in Paleolithic nutrition.
The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases.
My colleague is a Paleo veteran and she swears by it. Her results are impressive, she has shed excess weight and feels very energetic. She encouraged me to try it and I made a 3 month commitment to give it a go. I’m glad I did. I was looking to eat better and didn’t know where to start and this seemed a perfect fit for me. Recently my older brother suffered a major stroke at 53 and my father is in a slow mental and physical decline. I feel our family’s poor eating habits are partially to blame. Not wanting to be the next victim I knew my eating habits had to change. I also have a very active young son and want to be there for him always. So Paleo seemed especially great for me because I love meat which is the keystone of the Paleo lifestyle. I jumped in all eager and willing but my first expectations differed from reality.
First I found out I was doing Paleo all wrong from the start. Sugar in coffee is a no, beer is out as well. Even peanuts, which aren’t a nut at all I learned, they’re a legume. But there are alternatives for all of these. I realized everyone fumbles once in while doing Paleo. Don’t get discouraged, find a good Paleo book or do Google searches on Paleo to guide you. It can be expensive if you stock your pantry with organic fruits and veggies and purchase pasture raised meat sources. But instead of making this a one-percent-lifestyle type of diet I adapted to fit my budget. There is extensive preparation and meal planning which is time consuming. Lots of chopping and cooking. Buy a good knife and plan meals ahead of time. You soon become faster and more adept in the kitchen which is cool. My Paleo baking is pretty laughable. Flat muffins anyone? Still experimenting with this.
One very big positive is that I really don’t crave the junk food, bread and pastries like I did in past diets. I’m pretty content and satiated most of the time due to the high proportion of protein in this diet. I also lost some weight which is always awesome and encouraging. Cooking is enjoyable for me when I make the time and it’s usually pretty delicious. I’m experimenting more and trying out some new veggies and how to prepare them. I feel way more energetic. Case in point, while on a recent museum outing with my son, we used the stairs instead of the elevator. That would have never happened in the past. Seems like any colds or allergies that come my way are less severe in time and duration. I also have Attention Deficit Disorder, making it hard to focus and complete tasks. A recent ADD report says diets high in sugar and processed foods exacerbate symptoms. Excitedly, I feel adopting a Paleo lifestyle can help me in this critical area of my life. So Paleo is turning out to be pretty darn swell in many areas of my life that I didn’t expect. Maybe it can help me find an attractive cavewoman soon too. Time will tell. My inner caveman gives a hearty grunt of approval.
05 March 2015
We compiled the most common graphic file types that many us come across daily in our jobs. We at Idea Enablers hope this handy little reference will be of value to you.
19 November 2014
In all our years in this business, we’ve never posted – let alone compiled – our campaigns that bit the dust. Due to social anxieties, raciness or a second, better campaign, these were never produced. But here are our favorites from this year.
This campaign was concepted for a local bank who had an auto loan program targeting people rebuilding credit or with no credit. The idea behind the concept was that “Shift happens to all of us and we get it. We have auto loans for real people, like you.”
The ads feature an upside down ice cream cone on the ground, a dropped and cracked iPhone, a stained dress shirt and an expired parking meter – all with the headline “Shift happens.”
Ironically this is another auto loan for a local bank in Burbank. They were featuring a super low interest rate and 90 days of no payments. The concept for the campaign was centered around all the things you could go do in the neighborhood with the money you’d be saving and without having payments for three months. Because of their singular branch and their long-standing residence in Burbank, the idea was to be hyper-local and support the businesses and sights in Burbank.
These ads highlighted local haunts like the iconic Bob’s Big Boy on Riverside Drive, the local Farmer’s Market and the Starlight Bowl, among others.
This is an example from a few years ago but we had to include it since it’s one of our all-time favorites. This campaign titled “Bad Choices” was concepted for a functional foods manufacturer that created meal replacement bars specifically for people suffering from Diabetes and Heart Disease,
The ads directly address Americans’ inability to make good food choices for ourselves. Images like a cigarette in a sunnyside up egg and an obese man sitting on a couch drinking a beer are meant to shock a grab attention.
03 April 2013
It’s constant – before a workout, after a workout, after I’ve just eaten, for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner. And this “talent” has also been my biggest asset in business.
I read Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Lunch Alone” and thought it sounded like a good idea. My stomach agreed immediately. But it wasn’t until I actually started doing it, that it really started working for me. Socializing in general has been our greatest source of new business and referrals and I didn’t even realize it until recently. Casual conversations about work challenges and triumphs, and even heart-felt venting about frustrations have fueled our referral fire. But ask me to attend a networking event or “pitch” our company and I practically break out in hives. So what’s the difference? I’ve found that honest interactions and really authentic communication is the only way I can function effectively. And it helps us attract clients that are the same way. Double bonus.
So I embrace my insatiable hunger and I never turn down a coffee, a lunch, dinner, or even a snack with someone. And better still if it’s something I’ve never tried before. What your eating-mate chooses for food also gives you a glimpse into their personality too.
Let’s go get some chicken feet or some chia seed tea sometime. Bon appétit.
07 November 2012
The Holiday Season is upon us. Where did the year go? In honor of the season I decided to share my favorite Holiday pumpkin cookie recipe. I have dubbed them plumpkins as they are way too tasty for me to eat just one. Don't judge, just indulge, and share these tasty little cookies with family and friends. Enjoy and Happy Holidays.
1 1/2 c. Sugar
3/4 c. Shortening
1/4 c. Milk
1c. Canned Pumpkin
1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Allspice
3c. All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Powder
Preheat oven to 375.
Cream together sugar and shortening, add egg, then pumpkin, milk, cloves, allspice and cinnamon. Mix together. Combine Flour, salt and soda in a seperate bowl and slowly combine to wet mixture. Blend well. Make small rounded tsp and bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
1 3/4c. Powdered Sugar
1/4c. Butter(or magarine)
Blend well in a small bowl and drizzle glaze generously over warm cookies. Devour immediately.
13 September 2012
A brand is the mental imprint of your company in the minds of your consumers. It’s also the reason you come into work everyday. It creates feelings, emotions and an affinity for your products and services; it creates customer loyalty, blocks out the competition, creates more opportunity for greater profit margins and instills confidence internally and externally. Most companies make the mistake of thinking their brand is a logo or tagline.
In an age of product-centric "branding," enormous consumer choice and growing clutter and clamor in the marketplace, a great brand is a necessity, not a luxury.
Anyone who wants to build a great brand first has to understand who they are. The real starting point is to find out why you exist in the first place and what you’re already doing right.
The common ground you find among great brands is the explicit goal to be the catalyst for their entire categories.
It adds a greater sense of purpose to the experience. And it isn’t afraid to be bold.
Emotions drive most (if not all) of our decisions.
A brand reaches out with that kind of powerful connecting experience. That emotion transcends the product––and transcending the product is the brand.
A brand is a story that’s evolving all the time and is affected over time by the smallest details. Companies that manifest that sensibility in their employees and consumers invoke something very powerful.
It meets what people want; it performs the way people want it to. It feels right.
16 August 2012
Do you tell clients and vendors that you’re going on vacation? If you don’t, you may have a control issue. Like me.
I find myself wanting to do it; not tell people I’ll be on vacation. What if an emergency arises? What if they give the work to someone else? What if they think I’m not committed enough, or dedicated enough to their business? These are all just personal (control) issues that once let go, are really non-issues.
By not telling people you’re on vacation, you can never really rest your brain and recharge to be better when you return. Let alone shorting the loved ones you’re vacationing with. With your iPhone glued to your one hand and your laptop in your other hand – all while touring the Hearst Castle (or where ever you may be) – how focused can you really be and enjoy the experience?
Time to silence the control freak in me once and for all. This time around, I let people know I was going to be out of the office and gave them the contact information for my associates. I did this about a week ahead of time so that they, and I, could anticipate anything that might arise during my “time out.” What I discovered was this:
While I will never be one of those people who completely disconnect – this would cause crushing stress – I can let go and admit that I too vacation with the rest of the world. And it doesn’t make me less of a person, or less dedicated, and nothing went wrong because I wasn’t there.
18 May 2012
Is it invigorating? Is it frustrating? Is it unrecognizable?
Once you recognize that you are changing, does it make everything else seem more difficult too?
We all know that change is hard, but it seems to make everything else harder too. Sometimes when you’re in the process of change, you don’t recognize it right away. But once it’s started, you are subconsciously open to change; re-evaluating little things in some of your other activities or interactions. I’ve found myself frustrated by those other things that never bothered me before. The process, at least for me, seems to be:
At what point do you recognize that you have changed? Maybe you don’t because you keep changing? Frustration is my signal for true change and innovation and I’ve really tried to embrace it. But shouldn’t there be an “ah ha” moment to reward yourself for the commitment you made?
There is, and if you haven’t had it yet, it’s because you have broken through. There is a moment, when you start to really figure things out and settle into your change when there is sunshine and rainbows. You just have to stick it out long enough – knowing when to keep pushing and when to pull back – and you’ll break through.
Written by a newly marathoned Account person.
ADDENDUM: Why does the frustration always get the best of me?!
09 May 2012
We know what you’re thinking. What gives with all these animals? Nope, it’s not a “Save the Animals," "Safari Hunt” or “Exotic Pets 4 Sale” website. We do love animals, but in a very non-peta type of way. We’re talking symbolism here – metaphors. These furry, thick-skinned and pointy creatures peppered throughout the site promote our central credo in a unique way: ideas in all forms are sweet. Great ideas are Numero Uno. And as my little dude would say, they’re tight. Since this is our core we wanted to visualize that in a fun and friendly way. We are a mildly zany bunch and we don’t take ourselves, or our animals too seriously. It’s also funny that these critters align very closely with some of our personalities here at the studio. You will need to visit us to find out who is who. For the more analytical crowd out there, our name Idea Enablers says it all. The word “Enablers” is usually portrayed in a negative light (thanks Dr. Phil) but here we believe nurturing great ideas is good for everybody. Especially for our clients.
So there you have it in a tiny, furry nutshell. Until then, roar the good roar. And remember, please don’t feed our animals. You’ll just mess up your screen.
05 April 2012
It seems like everyone has a blog these days, and with so much content to catch up on you have to prioritize your favorites. These are the blogs we always have time for. And we rely on them for different reasons.
14 March 2012
The IKEA Effect states that _“Labor undertaken in association with a project – similar to assembly of Ikea furniture – increases people’s affection for the result of that labor."_
It’s not so much about the fact that we hate the dog and pony show (what a waste of time and energy for everyone – don’t even get us started), but more about how anti-collaborative that process is. Success is 100% contingent on client/agency collaboration and communication. It’s just like dating, and if one person is doing all the work, or likes the other more, it’s never going to work out.
If a potential client only wants spec work or doesn’t want to engage us for a real project, no matter how small, it’s a red flag. We’ll forever be jumping through hoops and we’ll never create the astounding work that can come from collaboration. Sometimes passing on a proposal will open the door for something better, and generally sooner than you think.
06 March 2012
Advertising professionals are ranked just above car salesmen and insurance salesmen in a study about trustworthiness in business.
Most of the verbiage ad agencies use is completely useless to clients and potential clients and is a complete turn-off when used excessively. We’ve compiled a list of jargon that we never use, and you should avoid:
Dog and pony show
Use clear and honest verbiage in your dialogue and your marketing and you’ll instantly be more engaged with your audience.
01 February 2012
FACT: Nearly twice as many children die from Congenital Heart Defects in the United States each year than from all forms of childhood cancers combined, yet funding for pediatric cancer research is five times higher than funding for CHD.
Hopeful Hearts Foundation is dedicated to promoting the health of children with congenital heart defects and cardiac disease. This organization is near and dear to our hearts (pun intended). Hopeful Hearts’ goals are to:
Hopeful Hearts is holding a fundraiser this June and we’re looking for corporate sponsors and in-kind donations. If you’re interested email Susan. Or email Terra to purchase event tickets.
To show your support you can check out our website and like us on Facebook. If you really want to support the organization, you can share our page on Facebook or donate directly through the website.
21 December 2011
It’s hard to write a blog. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. But we’re committed to it and while we may sometimes ramble, there will also be poignant perceptions and observations here.
Check back often for our ideas, dreams, struggles and probably some photos.
Let’s get the conversation started.
We’re all ears. And in Robert’s case, beard.
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