The Time I Unintentionally Made Poop Emoji Cupcakes

I’ve been doing little sampling parties lately, and each time I try to have fun with a new theme or activity. When I got the chance to sample and share Miss Jones Baking Co. organic cake mix and frosting through MomsMeet.com, I got some crazy idea to try doing fancy frosting. I thought it would be fun to engage everyone with the product by letting them try out decorative frosting tips.

toddler and frosting
Nice display Mom…I’m about to ram it with my cars OK?

Am I a baker? No. Do I even know how to use a frosting bag? No. Did I go ahead and order a fancy 32 piece cake decorating set off Amazon? You bet I did!

I also went all out with a giant pan for 48 mini muffins. One box of mix says it will make 48 muffins, but I actually had a little extra! And I made sure I filled each tin at least halfway. The instructions say they may not rise as much as some brands since they leave out all the artificial ingredients, but mine puffed up nicely.

wonder-bakerThe icing instructions say to heat it for 5-10 seconds first for regular spreading. I needed it a little smoother to squirt out of the bag, so with the vanilla I heated it for ten seconds, then ten more and it was perfect. As I was trying to figure out how to get into the bag, my friend Bridget had a brilliant suggestion to put the bag over a cup. Apparently, she’s seen this done before!

frosting-coverMy vanilla icing attempts looked pretty decent as long as you take into account I’m making it up as I go along. Bolstered by this instant success, I popped the chocolate in the microwave for a straight 20 seconds.

And that’s when things got weird.

Heating it for 20 seconds was too much and it got really melted and just oozed out of the bag. We tried popping it in the freezer to harden it up a bit but every attempt looked like a little turd on top on a muffin. And then someone shouted “it looks like a poop emoji!” And that’s when I realized I’d stumbled upon some Pinterest level poop if I just stuck a couple eyes on each one.

poop emoji cupcake

Everyone enjoyed the muffins and getting up close and personal with the frosting experience. I stashed the few cupcakes that were left in the fridge and the next morning the chocolate icing had hardened up and was like a big Hershey kiss on top! Delicious! As a side note – you do not need to refrigerate any leftover frosting because it is dairy-free.

icing-cupcakes

I don’t think I have a future in cake decorating, but I did feel like I learned enough to take on some Pinterest board cupcakes.

*As usual, any link to Amazon is an affiliate link!*

Clueless About Google Plus

google plus logoWhenever I sign up for influencer marketing companies, they always ask to connect to my social media accounts, including Google+. I didn’t have one yet, so I created one a few months ago to fill that request. The problem is I still have no idea what I’m doing! What the heck do you do with this thing? I connected my blog so all my blog posts go there. I have three (just 3!) followers and one of them I got today. *I take that back, I’m now at two. I guess they didn’t like me. I’m obviously failing at plussing on Google.

View my (not so) Amazing profile here: Candy Keane on Google+

I feel like I’m stumbling around in a dark Google landscape randomly poking at things to see what they do. I have no idea what happens when I “+1.” Nothing as far as I can see.

So I want to know, what do YOU use your Google+ for? Please post your profile so I can follow you! And leave a tip for using it if you have one 😁

google-plus-funny

The Importance of Girl Time

When we get older and grow out of slumber parties, get busy with work and family, girl time gets more rare as it’s replaced by mom time, wife time and regular everyday adult woman time. Life takes the front seat and having girl friends over means planning around schedules, work and kids. It’s too easy to just put it on the back burner and forget about it.

I really missed my girl time, so recently I started having small get-togethers, centered around whatever products I was recently sampling. It gives me a great excuse to throw a party and provides great brand exposure for the companies I work with.

My latest girlie get-together was for Tryazon featuring Sagaform and their Scandinavian lifestyle brand focusing on thoughtfully designed products that make great gifts for friends. They wanted to show a few products in action and sent a multipurpose pasta tool, an herb pot, pizza cutting scissors and herb shredding scissors.

Sagaform USA products

I decided to do big salad and three different pizzas, with each half featuring a different herb and topping combo. I used thyme, basil, oregano, sage, parsley, rosemary and cilantro. I picked all the herbs fresh from my garden except the cilantro. It didn’t survive the winter!

We all got to snip herbs, marvel at the pizza cutting scissors in action (all the wine may have encouraged some oohing and ahhing), and check out the handy pasta tool. I also got to put my new felt letter board from Shiny Vita to good use to encourage everyone to use their hashtags.

We ate, we drank, we snipped and we checkout out the Sagaform website. But most importantly, we hung out and had fun just being together and catching up. And my friend Heather from Geek Chic Photography showed up with her fancy camera that blew away my iPhone pics, so I’m wrapping up with some favorite shots that she took that evening:

* Post contains an Amazon affiliate link. I might make money if you click on it and buy something. I know, shocker, right? Good thing I made this disclosure.

 

Storytellers, The Secret Behind Brand Success

seceret to brand successWord-of-mouth has always been the most valuable tool for generating brand success, but how do you get people talking about your brand? When I worked in promotions marketing 15 years ago, we relied heavily on street teams handing out fliers, samples and coupons. I worked in San Francisco and it seemed like every street corner in Union Square had somebody trying to hand you something. In recent years, those promo people are scarce, as companies focus more on getting their product into the right hands vs. wasting a lot of product with a mass sampling campaign.

So where did those street teams go? They got off the street and onto the information superhighway as social media started carving out a niche once only occupied by advertising and celebrity endorsements. We are living in an age of “If you tweet it, they will come.” And if they really like it, they will retweet and like and share and create a snowball effect with a reach much farther than you could pay for, and it all happens with the perfect story.

Nancy Behrman, founder and president of PR firm Behrman Communications, operates her company on the principle that the success behind every brand is an authentic well-told story. PR pros like Behrman are regularly seeking out media influencers to be part of those stories and share them.

Every brand has a story, and every story needs a good storyteller to really bring it to life. It’s not about just tweeting a one line ad or putting a photo of a product on Instagram and calling it a day. It’s about crafting a story and showing how that product pertains to everyday life. The story has become so central to our communication that Snapchat, Instagram and now even Facebook have stories options for when just one photo won’t do.

Blog posts are the perfect platform for presenting this story, but it takes a personal experience to weave a tale around a product and take it a step beyond just a plain product review. When it’s done well, you’ll have a story that draws in the audience, holds their attention, and hangs in their memory long after they’ve finished reading. That’s where the success lies, making an impression that lasts longer and goes deeper than an unwanted flier left on a windshield or an easily forgotten street sample.

* Post sponsored by Behrman Communications *

I Sold My Soul for a Free Pillow

sleep number pillowIt’s all fun and games until you turn it into work, and that’s exactly what I did when I signed up for this mission from Smiley360 and Sleep Number. I was having fun, sampling stuff left and right, but high on the prospect of free goodies I took on too much and that was my downfall.

I’m cool with the usual free stuff requirements – a blog or video and a few social shares. Something totally natural that you can work in without bugging people and looking like you totally sold out. And then, lured in by the promise of a free $90 pillow, I accepted the invitation to join the Sleep Number campaign.

Here’s what they want:

  1. Visit a Sleep Number store and get your number
  2. Share a photo to Facebook 4 times
  3. 2 Ad tweets
  4. 4 Photo shares to Twitter
  5. 2 Comments on Smiley360
  6. Report on sharing with 10 people face-to-face
  7. 2 Posts on Pinterest
  8. 2 Posts on Instagram

Visiting the store is quite a time investment for a busy mom. I was lucky they had a little Lego table set-up, but there were moments the toddler was zooming around the store squealing.

But the real killer is the social shares. One Facebook post, OK. People actually paid attention and posted their Sleep Number and it was kinda fun to see. But again and again…I’m probably losing friends and credibility with every post. Most of the time I feel like nobody is paying attention on Twitter so I loaded up my feed with as many tweets as I could.

And then this happened: In my rush to get it done, I tagged CrowdTap instead of Smiley360 and my posts were rejected! So not only did I already bug everybody, but I was going to have to do it AGAIN if I wanted to complete my mission. I had gone this far for the darn pillow, I wasn’t going to let it go, so I did it with an added apology to friends that I had let this happen.

I’m still waiting to see if my last posts were accepted, so fingers crossed. This better be the most wonderful damn pillow in the world. (and maybe I will post a photo of it because I Want to this time)

Getting my number at the Sleep Number store
Now give me my fancy pillow!